Looking out for looked after children
With just 6% of care leavers aged between 19 and 21 progressing to higher education, it’s time we saw action to provide better opportunities for looked after children.
Earlier this month, ministers called on universities across the country to do more to encourage those leaving care to remain in higher education – from providing personal support to helping to pay for accommodation and books. A culture change is taking place, with the new Higher Education Principles welcoming an increasing number of vulnerable young people into further education and providing the support they need to thrive.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Far too many young people leaving care are missing out on opportunities that their peers take for granted (…) These principles are important in creating a culture shift for all universities. They set out clearly what we expect from them in helping young people leaving care to start higher education and call on them to extend the kinds of practical and personal support that will make a challenging transition less overwhelming.”
Like their peers, looked after children rely on solid early education, care and support to start on their path towards a fulfilling future – one in which they have all the opportunities of students not in care. In December 2018, the Department for Education launched a new ‘mentor’ scheme, providing gifted looked after children with access to specialist schools and facilities through a framework of up to 10 regional hubs across the country. The new partnerships between councils, independent schools and social workers will set out to provide academic support, extra-curricular activities, work experience opportunities and help with UCAS statements.
So, the government are investing time, attention and finance into the educational development and opportunities of looked after children, which is fantastic news. However, when it comes to the daily care of a looked after child and their PEP, communication between schools and local authority is integral. Access to timely, accurate data on looked after children enables care, guidance and, where required, early intervention for attendance and additional support. New technology between school and home is supporting student education like never before; fortunately, the same can now be said for children in care, in the form of Looked After Call.
Looked After Call enables local authorities to gather data and report on the attendance, attainment and progress of children in the care of the authority, both in and out of area. The secure, automated platform enables safeguarding of at-risk children, without compromising confidentiality or data protection, allowing authorised staff access to data for interrogation and reporting. With resources growing tighter, Looked After Call saves time and money for both schools and local authorities, minimising phone calls with automated data extraction whilst reducing the risk of human error.
Looked After Call is currently used by hundreds of local authorities to support thousands of looked after children across the UK to achieve their potential. Visit our website or get in touch to find out more about our full suite of functionality to keep looked after children safe and their sensitive data secure.