A new government review suggests that children who have been in contact with a social worker at any time since the age of nine achieve on average two grades lower than their peers in each GCSE subject taken.
The review data puts the number of children in England who have been in contact with social services at 1.6 million.
In a press release issued by the Department for Education on 17th June, Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary said:
“Overall if you’ve needed contact with a social worker at any time since year 5, on average you are going to score 20 grades lower across eight GCSEs… We need to improve the visibility of this group, both in schools and in the system as a whole.”
He went on to say:
“We also need to improve our knowledge of what works to support and help these children. We must not lower our expectations for them – for these children it is more important that they can do their very best to make the most of their talents when they’re at school.”
The press release suggests that the link to social services and the lower grades at GCSE for children in care is directly correlated to the assumption that every one of these children are falling behind because they have experienced poverty, abuse and neglect.
The government also makes another clumsy assumption: that those children who have not had contact with social services are all being cared for adequately, and so their grades are not slipping.
If that were the case, there would not be an ongoing number of children being taken into care.
While the report or the data do not appear to have been made public (unless we’ve missed it, so please do let us know), the Education Secretary’s speech which he made at think tank Reform on 17th June, offers some more information.
The reasons for children who have experienced social services falling behind at school are far more complex than the government realises, and the child welfare system has played a significant part in adding further layers of disadvantage by providing third rate care for these children.
The government review offers several other insights including data that suggests that the average classroom has three children who have needed support from social services at some point in the last six years. The review also suggests that disadvantaged children do better in cities than villages.
The report coincides with the government’s announcement that it will put new measures in place to support disadvantaged children in schools. The package includes:
- Improving the admissions process so vulnerable children can access a school place as quickly as possible
- Mental health training for teachers and social workers
- Better information sharing between councils and schools
- Tackling causes of domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, serious violence, and exploitation
- Tackling off-rolling, absence and exclusions
- Implementing Timpson Review recommendations
The Department for Education also said in its press release that the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers had narrowed by at least 9.5% since 2011, but does not give a reason for that reduction.
A statement in the release by Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation suggests that the reduction may be down to the Pupil Premium, a grant given by the government to schools in England to reduce the attainment gap for disadvantaged children.
As you might imagine, the Local Government Association has seized on the report, seeing it as an opportunity to push for more funding for its councils.
Until the government understands the extent of the issues and improves the workforce tasked with looking after these children, no measures put into place will make much of a difference.
Many thanks to Keith for alerting us to this development.
Ian Josephs said:
Yes for children “Social Workers are poison” Any more proof needed ?
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In America it has been known for years
that maltreated children were better off at home than in foster care. Research, the largest ever to be carried out involving thousands of children over a period of years, found outcomes were much better when left at home with minimum if any, involvement of social services
Children’s Social Services are a disgrace. Up and down the country there are failings at every level in the service which means they are failing the children, and getting paid handsomely to do it!
All the so called reforms, green paper, white papers, royal commissions etc have thrown more money at the problem but whilst that satisfies those professionals working in the system who are getting richer but clearly it does not benefit the children.
The public are temporarily appeased after a tragedy/scandal with a paper setting out the new proposals but NOTHING happens other than the tragedy/scandal is recorded for a few to read.
There is no balance. There are children who need real help in a timely fashion but too many children are taken into care when they could remain at home. The social workers should concentrate on the former.
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Dr. Manhattan. said:
“Until the government understands the extent of the issues and improves the workforce tasked with looking after these children, no measures put into place will make much of a difference.”
Absolutely correct. we have seen LA Childrens services taken over by the company “Together for children” up and down the country but unfortunately all they have done is stick a new label on the dept with a new exec director but kept most if not all of the same corrupt social workers and team managers who caused the failures in the first place.
the Govt are either very Dumb or they are protecting profits for share holders of Fostering and Adoption agencies.
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How could more money help ? When clearly less social workers equal higher grades And we know money is only ploughed into the for profit child protection fostering and special needs industry.
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family court support said:
Schools as part of their analysis has to give special treatment to their PP pupils which include those who have been involved with social care, children of the forces and severely disadvantaged…. however given the disruption to childen when involved with social care and the lack of support from social services to help children, the analysis is lacking as to true reasons for the discrepancy
Martin Newbold said:
Well I have to feel this article is honest and reliable Natasha fully has her finger on the pulse.
Social workers are not looked on well by the public as in general they are perceived to be not honest in their work and have lost their way to protect families only to have a remit to profit from their work placing children in LAC with there only drive to obtain money from this scandalous remit.
I personally have lodged papers with government agencies under FTP64593, where Social Workers are fabricating evidence in family court to this end involving work supposed to be created by experts when it has their hands on it. It seems the HCPC and its Irish contingent are just paid offices in name only.. as usual there is never any answer for this behaviour and it goes on unchallenged. Look out Ashford, Kent shes in your area now!
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How can a child in care learn the normal school curriculum, when he or she first has to cope with being forcibly separated from his or her family. Learn a new language, originated by social workers & attend lots of meetings with lots of strangers. More social workers. Get to know a new family & learn new survival behaviours to cope with living with them. Learn how to negotiate a world of stigma that sets them apart from their peers.
That’s only a fraction of what children in care deal with every day whilst in care.
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[Name Withheld] said:
My 2 beautiful grandchildren are in ltfc they should be with myself I’m fighting never stopped but I’m dislecsick and dispracsic not stupid. So it’s nearly killed me fighting every day to get simple data exetra than I’m intiled to subject data request have signed reciet yet they have nothing on me assessment negative incorrect information lies that I could evidence all but avoided to an extent you could never believe of course like a bird of prey I fell into there hands no repusentasion no nolige of such a disfunsonal system I lost my grandchildren well was was up against 2 solicitors that did this day in day out I’m back soon day of evidence I’m so tired an terified my last chance. Education grandson was 9 they went on 1st June but I no now they were looked after children2 February in all that time they had children were taken from there city all they ever new friends clubs family grieving for familie every thing gone in hours to be sent from neath port [edited] to [edited] in taxi for 3 weeks all that in a child’s confused mind to same school with q he can’t answer and should not have to to eventually going to new school the boy has global delay he gets a diserbilty allowance for this condition yet some one decision he didn’t need support yet only in his previous school he had nurturing twice weekly ELSA sessions he needs psychologist and camhs he was attending clinic for enuresis wetting bed and of late soliing him self hes had nothing since foster care hes soiling every other day once in school yet only now they have arsk us huw he was seeing in [edited] no life therapy work hes blaming himself my granddaughter first term foster woman sends them breakfast club on school bus shes 5. Foster women drives dont work as such my grandchildren then come home on bus all that time they should be bonding breakfast together buildings structure my grandchildren line up alone come out school alone this is not family life grandougher report not dressed opproptly for school occasions home work reading work never completes never attended parents evening never has Jim kit I could go on how can I get them home to me can some one help please I’m in pain
Hi there, thank you for your comment and I’m so sorry. I will send you an email shortly.