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Improving the Education of Looked After Children: A Guide for Local Authorities and Service Providers

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Introduction

Background

This guide for practice booklet is based on the key findings of the national research of Scottish Government-funded pilot projects in 18 Scottish local authorities carried out by the University of Strathclyde between 2006 and 2008 (Connelly et al., 2008). The research and this practice guide were commissioned by the Education Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government on behalf of the Care and Justice Division. Both outputs are part of a suite of research, policy and practice materials which have been produced as part of a wider commitment to tackle low attainment and poor outcomes among Scotland's looked after children and young people and care leavers.

The full research report and a separate summary of the research highlights are available on the Scottish Government Social Research website (see details at the end of this document). The research report includes summaries of each of the 18 pilot projects included in the study. Links to the full range of outputs for use in planning services and developing related professional development can be found at the Looked After Children website.

An important aim of the research process was a commitment to frame the key findings in a way that would be helpful to professionals in local authorities and other service providers who have opportunities to influence positively the educational attainment and achievement of looked after children and young people and care leavers. This practice guide has been written as part of that commitment.

Who is this booklet aimed at?

The suggestions for practice in this booklet have been written for everyone involved in being a 'corporate parent' for looked after children, young people and care leavers. These include key service managers in local authorities and other service providers, designated managers in schools and residential establishments, educational psychologists, teachers, social workers, residential care workers and foster carers. Although the booklet is aimed at practitioners working directly with looked after children and young people, some of the advice will be useful to others in the corporate parent family involved in planning and monitoring services, providing and analysing data, and supporting employment, training and post-school education. The guide focuses on four particular aspects of practice and includes cross-references to relevant policy and practice resources, details of which are listed in the list of key resources at the end of this booklet. The four areas of practice are as follows:

  • Raising the profile of looked after children and young people within local authorities and other service providers
  • Monitoring the educational outcomes of looked after children and young people
  • Advice on setting up and running a project with the aim of raising the educational attainment and achievement of looked after children and young people
  • Focusing on achievement and aspiration