Why and How Should We Monitor School Children in Care?

Posted on 24 August 2016 in All news

A ‘looked after child’ is a child who is looked after by their local authority, also known as a ‘child in care’. This could mean being placed in a children’s home, living with foster parents, with their parents under the supervision of social services or within another residential setting such as a school or secure unit.

It’s important that looked after children are continually monitored in school and outside of school to ensure that they are healthy and safe, and have the best opportunities to develop and progress successfully into adulthood. The experiences of looked after children both before and during their care contribute greatly to their educational progression as well as how they fare as a care leaver in later life.

However, local authorities are under immense pressure to take care of these children and face numerous challenges in making sure that they have the same opportunities as their peers. New research shows that the number of looked after children in the UK has steadily increased over the last seven years and the costs of supporting them comes to over £2.5 billion per year.

So how can we monitor school children in care and how do we get the data we need?

Effective Monitoring of Looked After Children

In our latest whitepaper, we look at how automated methods of collecting and storing data about looked after children are becoming more and more essential for both the schools and local authorities monitoring them. The whitepaper, Local Authorities & Looked After Children – Overcoming The Challenges considers the benefits of more secure and efficient electronic monitoring for looked after children, along with the time and cost saving advantages for both schools and local authorities currently facing staff shortages and funding cuts.

Traditionally local authorities would have to manually telephone schools within their authority to obtain attendance marks. This is not only a very time consuming and costly process, but is afflicted by human error and restrictions from the schools who may not have the resources available to provide information in this manner. In fact, results of our study surveying over 1000 UK secondary and primary schools found that 80% of all teachers would prefer for this information to be collected automatically, via a safe and secure system.

Overcoming the Challenges with Looked After Call

In our whitepaper we highlight the potential consequences of a non-automated approach to monitoring, as well as how our Looked After Call service can help to prevent them.

Looked After Call is dedicated to providing a complete system for looked after children to be monitored and assessed while also reducing the strain on local authority resource. Looked After Call offers bespoke features to combat the challenges faced by local authorities, catering for their needs as well as the schools and the children themselves:

Automatic attendance transfer – accurate, instant updates twice daily

Continued absence tracking – detecting the risks early on to allow for the child to be closely monitored

‘Sensitive Status’ option for students who may have a history of abuse or neglect – children can be treated with extra care and awareness without a barrier to reaching their potential

Safe and secure storage for all Personal Education Plans (PEPs), notes and reports – an easier way to manage each child

For the full report on monitoring looked after children and our Looked After Call service, you can download our whitepaper in full here.

For any more information, including booking a demo of Looked After Call, you can also visit our contact page.