This publication contains statistics obtained from linking looked after children's data provided by local authority social work services departments with educational data provided by publicly funded schools, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
This publication presents key findings on a range of educational outcome statistics for children or young people who have been looked after continuously during the 12-month period, in different types of care placements, and for pupils with multiple placements within the school year. These differing outcomes will partly be dependent on the characteristics of which children are placed where. This should be taken into account when looking at these initial findings, but these results should inspire further analysis and discussion in order to gain a more detailed understanding of the underlying causes of these results.
Readers should also note that some local authorities social work departments were unable to fully provide Scottish Candidate Numbers (SCNs) for all of their looked after children in order for their data to be linked. Of the 9,886 children who had been looked after continuously during the entire 2010/11 academic year an SCN was provided for 9,207 (93 per cent) of them, of which 8,242 (90 per cent) matched to the September 2010 Pupil Census (see the section on 'Data Matching' in the Background Note for further details). While the data are therefore incomplete, there has been an increase in the number of SCNs provided from 2009/10, and we feel that key messages can still be taken from this information.
Local Authorities have a responsibility to provide support to certain vulnerable young people, known as 'looked after children'. A young person may become looked after for a number of reasons, including neglect, mental, physical or emotional abuse, parental substance misuse or poor parenting skills, complex disabilities which require specialist care, or involvement in the youth justice system, as well as other reasons. The majority of looked after children and young people come into one of two categories:
Looked after at home, where the child or young person is subject to a Supervision Requirement (with no condition of residence) through the Children's Hearing system. The child or young person continues to live in their normal place of residence (often the family home).
Looked after away from home (i.e. their normal place of residence), where the child or young person is subject to a Supervision Requirement (with a condition of residence) through the Children's Hearing system or a warrant from the Sheriff Court or Children's Hearing System, is provided with accommodation under section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (voluntary agreement) or is the subject of a Permanence Order. The child or young person is cared for away from their normal place of residence (e.g. in a foster care placement, residential/children's unit, a residential school, a secure unit or a kinship placement).
Statistics on looked after children in general can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenLookedAfter.
Earlier statistics on the educational outcomes of Scotland's looked after children can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/EducOutcomesLAC.
Previous statistics have shown that, in addition to fewer qualifications, looked after children tend to have poorer school attendance records, higher rates of school exclusion and are less likely to go onto employment, further or higher education, training or voluntary work after leaving school. Following this, the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee agreed to hold an inquiry into the educational attainment of looked after children to examine the reasons why more significant progress has not been made since devolution in improving the educational attainment of looked after children and what can be done to address this.The final report of the committee can be found here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/41975.aspx