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

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Conclusion

Children and young people who are looked after (both at home and away from home) need individually tailored support to get the best from their education. Providing appropriate support is an important function of the corporate parent responsibilities of local authorities and their service provider partners. The report, Looked After Children & Young People: We Can and Must Do Better (Scottish Executive, 2007) emphasises the need for agencies and professionals to work together. Failure to do so can result in poorer outcomes for looked after children and young people and care leavers.

There are two implications of this aspect of corporate parenting. The first is the importance of good communication between agencies and professionals, particularly between schools and social workers. The second implication is the need for all relevant professionals to be aware of the needs of all looked after children and to have access to appropriate continuing professional development. The role of the designated senior manager is crucial in implementing these aspects of the corporate parent responsibilities. We hope that this guide is a useful addition to the support materials available to service providers.

"We need extra support and help if we're struggling. Using activities that a person likes is the best way to educate them. I like drama and you could do all sorts of things connected to drama, like connecting to English. People find school really boring but people learn more when they are having fun… Talk to people, get to know what they're like. Get to know their strengths. You'll need to concentrate on their weaknesses, but don't push their weaknesses too much. School teachers could learn a lot from us kids, like we can learn a lot from them. If we work together, I believe we can both come to a conclusion."

(Young Person involved in pilot project)