Despite all the statutory guidance and initiatives aimed at closing the educational attainment gap between vulnerable children and those who are not looked after, previously looked after, adopted or in need over recent years, it would be hard to argue that, especially at Key Stage 4, the attainment data makes comfortable reading.
Using data from the DfE SFR 11/2016, 24 March 2016:
At Key Stage 2, non-looked after, adopted or in need children outperform:
- Children looked after by 28%
- Children in need by 31%
- Children on special guardianship orders by 15%
- Children adopted by 12%
At Key Stage 4, this gap has widened considerably, with non-looked after, adopted or in need children outperforming:
- Children looked after by 39%
- Children in need by 38%
- Children on special guardianship orders by 32%
- Children adopted by 30% (not all schools are aware of their adopted children and data is based on this understanding).
Schools play a vital part in changing such outcomes. Whilst they take on board that the trauma these children have suffered impacts on their learning, how to counteract such negative effects is not always clear.
Our training for schools is designed to support school staff, both teachers and non-teachers, consider how they can help vulnerable children to heal, flourish, achieve and attain in line with their true ability.
We prepare our individual courses through dialogue with the Designated Teacher (or delegated member of staff). The following points are examples of what we offer:
- Understanding what it means to be in care, whether as an indigenous child or Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child
- Data, statutory and non-statutory guidance and recent research
- Introduction to relational and developmental (attachment) trauma and loss
- The impact of relational trauma and loss on the child’s ability to learn, leading to some of the typical behaviours we see
- The importance of whole school approaches to CLA, including UASC, Children Adopted from Care and In Need
- The use of classroom practice to support these vulnerable children
- Case studies to consolidate learning.