More than 3,000 children in care have moved home at least four times in the last two years and almost the same figure have experienced at least five upheavals in the last three years, according to the children’s commissioner’s second annual stability index as reported by The Guardian.
The statistics show that such regular changes are having a major impact on the education of a large number of children. It was reported that over 10% of the 4,300 children in care who moved schools during the 2016/17 academic year missed a whole term of provision and a further 6,500 were not on school books anywhere.
With the number of registered children in care above 70,000, children’s commissioner Anne Longfield is particularly concerned. She explained, “these children need stability, yet far too many are living unstable lives, in particular children entering care in their early teens. This puts them at greater risk of falling through the gaps in the school system and opens them up to exploitation by gangs or to abuse.”
Despite stating that “the care system works for thousands of children”, the children’s commissioner suggested “the system has given up on the hundreds of children bouncing around from one poor school to another,” describing such individuals as “pinball kids.”
So, what can be done to support these children? Mrs Longfield explained, “I would like to see Ofsted assessing the stability of children in care as part of their inspections and for the Department for Education to start asking for data on this in their annual returns from local authorities.”
Yet there is work being done in schools to support children in care. You can read more about the work Evolve member of staff and Corporate Parenting Sports Coordinator Alex Hillman is doing to provide more sporting opportunities for young people in care on this link.