A large number of children in care change schools several times a year, new figures have revealed.
A study by conservative think tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) gathered data from 124 local authorities across the country. They found that nearly 1,000 children who were taken into care had attended three or more schools in the space of a single academic year. Of those children, 104 of them were based in three local authorities: the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lewisham and Devon.
According to the CSJ, in some local authorities ten per cent of children in care had to change schools at least once a term in the year they sat their GCSE exams.
Only one per cent of the country’s young people are in care. However, the CSJ claims that 24 per cent of the adult prison population, 11 per cent of young homeless people and 70 per cent of sex workers are care leavers.
Alex Burghart is the CSJ’s policy director. He called the figures “truly shocking” and said that children in care experienced “an unacceptable level of disruption” to their lives.
“No parent would like to see their children moving schools three or four times in a year. This will inevitably have a terrible impact on their education and their chances of finding work when they leave.”
In response to the CSJ’s report, Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield called the figures “deeply worrying but perhaps, not surprising”. She said that her office’s report on children in care published last month “found that 39.6 per cent had moved placements between one and three times over the previous two years”.
Ms Longfield explained that sometimes placements can break down, but when this occurs “much more must be done to maintain their schooling so that their education is not disrupted”.