Children in care to be helped into independent schools

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi says that more children growing up in care are to benefit from places at the top private schools.

Speaking at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference, Zahawi announced that 10 teams will work across the country to identify opportunities in independent schools for young people in care, where it is suitable to meet their needs, in an aim to improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children.

Independent schools will also provide sporting and music facilities for looked after children, to help harness specific aspirations or talents, such as swimming or music, to help boost opportunities, outcomes and aspirations for these young people.

The new programme, backed by £500,000, aims to improve access to the top independent schools and builds on Zahawi’s commitment to see as many as 1,000 independent schools involved in schemes that offer opportunities to children in care.

He said: “Every child, whatever their background, should have access to an education that helps them to fulfil their potential. We know that all too often children who have experienced trauma in their life can fall behind in education, through no fault of their own.

“While standards in state schools continue to rise, I want independent schools and Directors of Children’s Services to play a greater role in helping raise outcomes for these vulnerable children. A number around the country are already making fantastic offers to children in care, but I want more to come forward and councils to take up the opportunities. I am clear that this cannot be put off any longer, and I will accept no less.

“This is now about providing resources to councils to identify and place children where it is right for them. Together, we can and must increase access, improve opportunities and foster aspirations and belief in what looked after children can achieve.”