What support is provided to foster children through the education system?
Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide all children, young people and their families with the right support at the right time - so that every child and young person in Scotland can reach their full potential. Effective implementation of GIRFEC means meeting the needs of all children and young people, including those with care experience, such as foster care.
A personalised child’s plan is developed when those working with the child or young person and family identify that a child or young person needs a range of extra support planned, delivered and coordinated. The child’s plan should reflect the child or young person’s voice and explain what should be improved for the child or young person, the actions to be taken and why the plan has been created.
We know that high quality Early Learning Childcare (ELC) can make an important contribution to children’s outcomes, particularly when they are growing up in disadvantaged circumstances. That is why delivery of high quality ELC experiences for all children is at the heart of our approach to ELC.
Children in foster care are eligible for funded ELC from age 2. Further information can be found at Funded early learning and childcare under the heading ‘If you or your child has experience of care’.
In line with the National Standard for early learning and childcare, ELC settings must provide appropriate support, including making any reasonable changes to the care and learning environment to suit needs of all children in their care.
Under the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004, education authorities have duties to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their learners. The Act, as amended, assumes that all looked after children and young people, including those with experience of foster care, have additional support needs unless the authority demonstrates that an individual looked after child or young person does not require additional support to benefit from their education. Education authorities are supported in the implementation of their duties under the Act by the Additional support for learning: statutory guidance 2017.
Furthermore, the Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund is a targeted resource provided to local authorities to support care experienced children and young people from birth to the age of 26. The funding aims to improve the educational outcomes for care experienced children and young people, supported by the strategic goals of The Promise and the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
The term ‘care-experienced’ refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care, or through being looked after at home with a supervision requirement.
In the 22/23 academic year, over £11.5m is being provided to support this fund and will continue annually for the duration of this parliament.
The Independent Care Review published the Promise in 2020 which included a number of calls for action to improve the education outcomes for care experienced children and young people. In February 2020, the First Minister pledged to #KeepthePromise by 2030.
The Scottish Government’s aim is to keep the Promise by working with partners to ensure there is a cohesive and coordinated approach across our education services which will contribute towards our vision for every child in Scotland to grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential.
We are committed to improving the outcomes for care experienced children and young people in education, including those who have experience of foster care. We are currently working with partners to consider jointly the specific actions required to respond positively to the calls for action made by the Promise.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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