Schools should be offered incentives to accept children in care, a children’s welfare organisation has claimed.
Alan Clifton is chair of the National Association of Virtual School Heads. So called ‘virtual school heads’ are appointed to individual schools to promote the interests of children in care.
He said that while schools are not allowed to openly reject ‘looked after’ children, many do so covertly because they fear disruptive behaviour and a negative impact on their place in the school league tables.
Such schools frequently insist that they cannot admit a child in care because they are full or cannot cater for their needs, Mr Clifton reports.
Possible incentives to encourage admission could include the exclusion from league tables of the exam results generated by looked after children who are admitted halfway through an academic year he suggested.
The chair added:
“If this was agreed, virtual school heads should take into account the number of challenging pupils, including children in care, a school has admitted that academic year.”
Virtual school heads could also be given the authority to require any school to admit a child from the care system, he suggested.
“It is important to acknowledge that children in care who have suffered from trauma and attachment-related issues can, and will, present challenges in school.”