‘CHILDREN in foster care can perform well at school if they feel happy and cared for’ – that was the view of headteacher Alan Roll after his Waseley Hills High School took two awards for the work it does with looked after children.
Assistant headteacher Emma Dodds who is in charge of looked after children was nominated for the individual accolade by The Virtual Schools division of the county council and the school was recognised for its overall contribution to the education of children in foster care.
Mr Roll said everyone was delighted to have been recognised for their efforts adding with the right support there was no limit to looked after children’s achievements.
“We are very proud all the students who have done so well at Waseley Hills and have a bright future ahead of them.“
Worcestershire County Council and other local education authorities have virtual schools with a virtual headteacher which keep track of the progress of looked after children in their care.
Government statistics released last year showed fostered children often significantly underperformed in the classroom.
When it came to reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 1, between 70 and 76 per cent of children not in foster care reached nationally expected grades.
But the figure for looked after children studying a KS1 curriculum was 51 per cent for reading, 42 per cent for writing and 49 per cent for maths. The figures were similar for science and for reading, writing, maths, grammar, punctuation and spelling when the children reached Key Stage 2. This continued through KS 3 and 4 right through to GCSE level.
Mr Roll said Waseley had more looked after children than average because there were a lot of foster carers in the school’s catchment area.
He welcomed the fact the issue was now high on the education agenda.
“We work closely with families and social workers to ensure children in foster care are getting all the help and support they need.
“This includes extra-curricular activities and trips to broaden their horizons and experience as well as in the classroom.
“That and the school aiming for the highest academic standards means they can flourish and thrive.
“We had one child who joined us in year seven and was very shy and introverted – he has recently got the grades he needed for higher education and has gone off to university.”