Educational toolkit available in Wales
A free educational toolkit for foster carers has been produced to help them combat the detrimental effect that exclusions can have on the educational achievements of looked after children in Wales.
To produce the toolkit, the Fostering Network Wales undertook consultation with 37 foster carers and 19 social work staff across Wales, as well as looked after children, family placement team managers, looked after children's education coordinators, designated teachers and members of the looked after children's education stakeholders group.
In 2011 the number of looked after children leaving school with at least one GCSE rose from 49 per cent to 56 per cent, with 35 per cent achieving five GCSE's grade A* -G and only 10 per cent receiving five or more GCSE's grade A*-C.
The materials produced for the toolkit were piloted with 64 foster carers and 11 professionals as well as a working group consisting of an experienced foster carer, a social worker, a head master and a designated teacher.
Freda Lewis, director of the Fostering Network Wales, said: “Despite a significant increase in attainment from looked after children, 44 per cent left school with no GCSE or GNVQ equivalent qualifications.
“This has a significant impact on employability and in 2010, 52 per cent of care leavers were not in education, training or employment on their 19th birthday. Looked after children can need extra support to complete their education and this toolkit is aimed at encouraging foster carers to take an active role in that.”
Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Trust, the toolkit is now available to download from the Fostering Network website.