Information

Education outcomes for looked after children: 2016 to 2017

Data on attainment, post-school destinations, school attendance, school exclusions and achievement of curriculum for excellence attainment levels.

This document is part of a collection


School Attendance

  • ★ Attendance of looked after pupils has improved since 2009/10 but improvement has stalled in recent years
  • ↑ Attendance is lowest for those looked after at home and with a greater number of placements

This section presents data on the school attendance of looked after young people who were at publically-funded schools. It compares overall attendees with the 10,583 looked after children who were linked to the schools data. Attendance data is collected every two years, so the information for 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2015/16 is not available.

Chart 4: Percentage attendance of all pupils and looked after young people, 2009/10 to 2016/17 (1)
Chart 4: Percentage attendance of all pupils and looked after young people, 2009/10 to 2016/17
(1) Please note that the scale does not begin at 0.

The school attendance of all pupils is recorded individually. Overall attendance is over 90% for all pupils, although this is higher in primary schools than it is for secondary and special schools. Looked after young people consistently have lower school attendance than average, although the gap has narrowed towards the rate for all pupils since 2009/10.

The attendance rate of children looked after for the full year has increased since 2009/10 but has remained consistent since 2012/13, and in 2016/17 it stood at 91%. For children looked after for part of the year, there has also been an increase over this period from 80.8% in 2009/10 to 83.4% in 2016/17. However, for this group there has been a decrease since the peak of 84.5% in 2012/13.

Sector

Table 3.1: Percentage attendance of all pupils and looked after young people by sector, 2016/17 (1)

Sector Looked After Children (full year) Looked After Children (part year) All Pupils
Primary 94.7 91.4 94.9
Secondary 87.4 75.1 91.2
Special 89.3 81.1 90.3
Scotland 91.0 83.4 93.3

(1) All figures have been updated to account for improved data identifiers. While the data in these tables are comparable, figures should not be compared with previously published figures.

Looked after children have a lower attendance rate than all pupils in all school sectors ( Table 3.1). However, the differences are relatively small in the primary school, with the attendance rates for children looked after for the full year, part year and all pupils being 94.7%, 91.4% and 94.9% respectively in 2016/17.

In secondary school, the differences in attendance rate between looked after children and all pupils are greater. Children looked after for the full year have an attendance rate of 87.4%, while the figure for children looked after for part of the year is only 75.1%. This compares with an attendance rate of 91.2% for all pupils in secondary school.

For special schools, the attendance rate for children looked after for the full year (89.3%) is slightly lower than the attendance rate for all pupils (90.3%). However, the rate for children looked after for part of the year was much lower at 81.1%.

Accommodation type and gender

Table 3.2 shows the attendance rates for looked after children by the type of accommodation and gender. The highest attendance rates for children looked after for both part and the full year are for those in foster care, both provided by and purchased by local authorities. The lowest rates are found amongst children looked after at home, and of those in local authority homes.

For children looked after for the full year, there is little gender difference in rates of attendance. However, for children looked after for part of the year, boys (83.9%) have a slightly higher attendance rate than girls (82.8%). The biggest differences between boys and girls are seen for those young people in residential accommodation, but numbers in these settings are relatively small, and differences should therefore be treated with caution.

Table 3.2: Percentage attendance for looked after children, by accommodation type and gender, 2016/17

Accommodation type Children looked after for the full year Children looked after for part of the year
Girls Boys Total Girls Boys Total
In the community (children with one placement)
At home with parents 80.6 80.0 80.3 78.4 79.9 79.2
With friends or relatives 91.6 91.9 91.8 88.3 90.4 89.3
With foster carers provided by LA 96.5 96.6 96.5 88.6 90.5 89.5
With foster carers purchased by LA 96.5 96.5 96.5 90.3 91.4 90.8
In other community (1) 94.6 88.6 91.4 91.4 97.4 94.6
Residential Accommodation (children with one placement)
In local authority home 81.3 88.6 85.5 75.7 81.9 79.6
In voluntary home 85.9 94.4 92.3 88.9 84.6 86.5
In other residential (2) 84.3 92.8 90.4 83.8 84.7 84.4
More than one placement 89.5 89.6 89.6 84.4 85.1 84.7
All looked after 90.9 91.0 91.0 82.8 83.9 83.4

(1) Includes with prospective adopters.
(2) Includes in secure care accommodation and crisis care.

Number of looked after placements

Looked after children who experience more placements appear to have lower attendance rates ( Table 3.3). For those looked after for the full year, the attendance rate is lower the more placements a child had. Attendance rates are highest among pupils with one placement (91.2%) and lowest for those with five or more placements (78.9%).

For those looked after for part of the year, the number of placements appears to have less of an impact on attendance, as those with two placements have the highest attendance rate (85.6%) and those with five or more placements have a slightly higher attendance rate (83.6%) than those with one placement (83.2%).

Table 3.3: Percentage attendance for looked after children, by number of placements and gender, 2016/17

Number of Placements Children looked after for the full year Children looked after for part of the year
Girls Boys Total Girls Boys Total
1 91.2 91.2 91.2 82.6 83.8 83.2
2 90.5 90.5 90.5 85.3 86.0 85.6
3 88.5 88.5 88.5 82.4 82.1 82.3
4 82.4 82.4 82.4 81.3 82.3 81.9
5 or more 81.7 77.1 78.9 76.8 89.4 83.6
Total looked after 90.9 91.0 91.0 82.8 83.9 83.4

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