The Board received the annual update on the educational outcomes for Halton’s Children in Care (CIC) for 2016-17.
It was reported that Halton had a small number of children in care within each key stage cohort. This made comparison with the general population and year on year performance very difficult as each child in care had a high statistical significance, making both the gap and trend analysis volatile.
The Board was advised that 2016-17 saw changes to the way English and Maths GCSE results were awarded, from a letter grade to a point scale of 9-1. All other GCSE’s remained as letters for this year but would also move to the same point scale from next year.
The Board was advised that the Halton Virtual School provided educational support and activities over and above those delivered through schools and used Pupil Premium Plus. This support was available and offered to all Halton children in care, regardless of whether they lived or were educated in Halton or out of Borough. A copy of this year’s activity programmes was attached at Appendix 1.
It was noted that the data provided within the report compared the performance of Halton children who had been in care for 12 months or more, to that of their non-care peers within each key stage. The report provided the outcomes for: Early Years Foundation; Y1 Phonics; Key Stage 1; Key Stage 2; Key Stage 4; and exclusions.
Members raised the following queries:
Was there more access to Pupil Premium Plus this year?
Yes – there was an increase in Personal Education Plan’s (PEPs) where PP+ was awarded.
Are adopted children included in the CIC data?
Yes and there is guidance and advice available to adopting parents to ensure that they are supported after adopting a child from the care system. There was also a statutory duty on schools to promote the education and welfare of CIC and those adopted.
What was the exclusion rate of CIC?
CIC were more likely to be excluded from school. There was one primary exclusion and 14 secondary so far this year. Schools were encouraged to interact with the Virtual Head as soon as problems began to occur, so that intervention could be arranged.
What is a good outcome?
This was discussed and suggested that it should be an outcome according to the ability of the individual (so what was good for them), not matching them according to a national figure.
Key Stage 3 – it was noted that this was no longer measured.
Was there a correlation between deprivation and exclusions?
Schools were advising the Authority that this was the case as families were experiencing stress and breakdowns due to financial pressures which then caused behavioural issues in children.
The Chair conveyed thanks on behalf of the Board and requested a follow up report at a future PPB, containing information on examples of post 16 CIC successes or otherwise.
RESOLVED: That the Board note the information provided.