Tackling the achievement gap for children in care

A recent Ofsted report explores the impact virtual schools have on tackling the achievement gap between children in care and their peers. Virtual schools are established by local authorities and work with looked after children as if they were in one school. They liaise with the schools the children attend, track the progress they make and support their educational achievement.

The study examines virtual schools in nine local authorities and finds that overall impact is mostly positive. There is good evidence that they raise the profile of educational attainment for children in care, promote much better communication between professionals, increase the involvement of carers in children’s education, and help to improve attendance and reduce exclusions. However, there is little evidence that they are yet able to reduce the achievement gap between looked after children and their peers. Progress between key stages 3 and 4 is generally slower than during earlier key stages, and improving the percentage of those attaining five or more good GCSE passes, including English and mathematics, remains a challenge for most local authorities.

Source: The impact of virtual schools on the educational progress of looked after children (2012), Ofsted

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