In the news today you will no doubt have heard about the educational attainment of lack of for 'looked after children'. As the Looked After Children's champion for Renfrewshire Council, I thought that I should comment on this particular story. Local MSP and Education and Young Person's Minister Hugh Henry was in Paisley today and speaking about this problem, he noted that almost half of children who are in care leave school without ANY standard grades.
I thought however, that I would concentrate on the reasons, as someone who is related to a Guidance Teacher I hear a lot about the issue of education for children in the care system. Many times actually getting the child to attend school on a regular basis is an achievement and success, these children can have so much going on in their young lives that Education is the last thing on their mind. It is difficult for children taken from their area and moved across the Local Authority meaning a change in schools etc to keep themselves motivated, the chaotic lifestyle of some of the children in care means that Education takes a back seat to helping provide for younger siblings, or even keeping out of the road of an abusive parent, these children need extra help and attention and it is not only the teachers job, remember that the majority of children in care are there due to issues of care and protection.
I believe that we should 'shoot for the moon' and expect the highest standards from all of our schools and young people, but we should also acknowledge the achievements where they are. In Renfrewshire we do have a good record of education as shown through the recent HMIE reports, more to do and I agree with Cllr Eric Jackson the COSLA Social Work spokesperson that it does need to be a multi disciplinary approach and as the Scottish Executive document says 'it's everyone's job to make sure 'children' are OK'.