Big fall in proportion of children in care achieving GCSE gold standard

Mick Castle said he was disappointed. Picture: James Bass

Mick Castle said he was disappointed. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

The proportion of Norfolk children in care who achieve the government's gold standard in their GCSEs has almost halved in past three years.

A total of 13.3pc of looked after children last year gained five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and maths, compared to 24.1pc in 2011, according to new data from the Department for Education.

The dramatic decline bucks a national trend of improving performance among youngsters who had been looked after continuously for at least 12 months, and puts Norfolk below the national average, currently 15.3pc, for the first time in four years.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for schools at Norfolk County Council, said: 'The fall in the number of looked after children achieving the gold standard in GCSEs last year is very disappointing.'

Educational outcomes for children in care were one of the few bright spots in an Ofsted report which last year branded the council's services for looked after children 'inadequate'.

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That report, published last August, cited data from 2012 GCSE results, which showed results in Norfolk which were better than those for looked after children both in similar areas and nationally.

In Suffolk, 14.5pc of children in care achieved the government's gold standard in 2013.

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Mr Castle said school attendance for looked after children in Norfolk was above the national average, and exclusions were 'far lower'.

He added: 'I am confident that our strategy for raising academic standards, matched by their own ambition and determination, will improve outcomes this year.'

He also said the council's virtual school, to support looked after children in education, is, for the first time, collecting attendance and progress data from schools every half term.

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