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Attainment gap for looked after children “unacceptably wide”

Scottish Government figures show that levels of attainment for many looked after children, in terms of their exam results, are very low in comparison with other children.

While 56% of school leavers gained five or more qualifications, only 4.7% of children looked after away from home and 0.5% of children looked after at home achieved the same results.

Looked after children are those either living at home under a supervision requirement or those who have been placed by a local authority in kinship, foster or residential care.

It is estimated that there are approximately 16,000 looked after children in Scotland with nearly 5,500 children looked after at home

Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said:

“We are all aware of the challenges that looked after children face. Since devolution there have been a range of policies aimed at improving the educational attainment of such children. However, it is clear that the current system for supporting looked after children could be improved and that the attainment gap remains unacceptably wide. In particular, the committee was told that those children who are looked after at home face particular disadvantages.

“During the inquiry it became clear that there is a sensitive and difficult balance to be struck between supporting families at home and intervening to remove children from harmful situations. That is why we have agreed to hold a further, detailed inquiry into this area.”

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