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CO-OPERATION IS KEY TO TACKLING THE UNDERACHIEVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN CARE, SAYS NEW GUIDE

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Council leaders today called on all schools and local authorities to work closer together to tackle the educational...
Council leaders today called on all schools and local authorities to work closer together to tackle the educational underachievement of children in care and help them realise their potential.

The plea came as the Who Cares? Trust and the Local Government Association launched a guide which said that in many areas social services, schools and local education authorities needed to liaise more closely to deal with the needs of the children in their care.

Written as a guide for councillors, Who Cares? About Education, includes examples of good practice and draws on the experiences of young people in care, suggesting ways of improving their education.

Councillors and staff need reliable and regular information about the progress and educational experiences of the young people they look after. The guide argues that not enough schools and local authorities gather and share information, and that too many are unclear about their role.

Rita Stringfellow, LGA social affairs chair said: 'Failure at school blights not only the present but crucially the future of the young people we look after in local authorities.

'As corporate parents we must ensure that young people who are looked after have the same opportunities as other children. Councillors have a important role to play in visiting and listening to young people and it is vital that all the agencies concerned communicate effectively to ensure that information is shared and acted on.

'This guide highlights some excellent examples of joint working and we must build on these and encourage other authorities to follow', she said.

Barbara Fletcher, author of the guide and development manager for the Who Cares? Trust said: 'There are currently many demands on local authorities to improve the quality of services and raise educational standards. Councillors can play a key role in ensuring that children in the care of the local authority are included in the drive to achieve equality of opportunity'.

- Who Cares? About Education, is available from the Who Cares? Trust, on 0171 251 3117. Price£6 (less bulk orders). ISBN 0 9525749 6 9.

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