More children growing up in care are to benefit from places at the top private schools, as well as mentoring and access to sports and music facilities, in an aim to improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children.
Ten teams will work across the country to identify opportunities in independent schools for young people in care, where it is suitable to meet their needs, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi is expected to announce in a speech at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference.
The new programme, backed by £500,000, aims to improve access to the top independent schools and builds on Minister Zahawi’s commitment to see as many as 1,000 independent schools involved in schemes that offer opportunities to children in care.
Minister Nadhim Zahawi will also lay down a marker to Directors of Children’s Services to drive forward the programme and engage with the new teams, to make sure councils can identify children who could benefit quickly when private schools set out offers of support.
Independent schools will also provide sporting and music facilities for looked after children, to help harness specific aspirations or talents, such as swimming or music, to help boost opportunities, outcomes and aspirations for these young people.
The service will bring together 10 teams across the country into hubs of bringing in schools, local authorities, virtual school heads and social workers to help find suitable places for children in care.
The announcement builds on a 10-year project run by the Boarding Schools Partnerships and Norfolk County Council, where young people who were either in care or at risk of going into care were taken off the council’s risk register after at least three years in a boarding school. A higher proportion of looked-after children who were at boarding schools achieved A* to C grades in GCSE maths and English, compared to all looked-after children in 2016.