The report, entitled What is Needed to Enable Looked After Children to Achieve in Education? was commissioned by Welsh Government and follows consultations and a survey with foster carers carried out by The Fostering Network.
The report highlights the role of foster carers as first educators for the young people they are caring for, and the desire of foster carers to be increasingly involved in their fostered children’s education. Other findings of the report include:
•Foster carers believe additional funding is needed and that they should be more involved in deciding how the existing Pupil Deprivation Grant is used.
•Extra tutoring, professional support for emotional issues, and access to activities should be available to looked after children in all schools and provided flexibly to avoid stigmatising the child.
•Foster carers need to be encouraged to access training and other forms of support which might include peer support.
•More training about the needs of looked after children is required for education professionals who should also be encouraged to take up existing opportunities to better understand the needs of looked after children.
•The impact of instability on children needs to be fully recognised and taken into account when decisions are being made about placements, changes of school, and respite care provision.
•The importance of recognising the status and authority of foster carers within the children’s workforce.
Maria Boffey, from The Fostering Network and one of the report’s authors, said: ‘Raising the educational outcomes of fostered children and young people is a priority for The Fostering Network, and it is critical that foster carers be consulted and engaged with any process or policy reform which seeks to do this. The Fostering Network Wales has expertise and experience in engaging with foster carers and looked after children to inform policy development, and we are delighted to have been commissioned by the Welsh Government to produce this report which will help shape the future of the education of looked after young people in Wales.’