The Scottish Government has announced it will invest £32 million specifically to support the educational needs of care experienced children and young people. The announcement was made in an Education Statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday (26 June 2018) by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.
This Attainment Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring that all care experienced children and young people are supported, underpinned by the Getting it right for every child (Girfec) approach in order to improve outcomes and support their wellbeing.
Welcoming the announcement, the Executive Director of CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) Jennifer Davidson, said: "When children have experienced trauma and their lives are disrupted, they will often need extra care to engage in school and succeed in their learning. We know there are many ways to care for and support these children to develop and learn, that our actions can have a big impact on what they are able to achieve at school and in later in life. We welcome the announcement of further, specific support to help schools, and others responsible for supporting children, to ensure that care experienced children and young people have every possible opportunity to enjoy and succeed in their education.”
Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, commented during his speech in Parliament: “…to ensure we maintain progress for Looked After Children, I will make funding available of around £8 million for the remainder of this year and £12 million in each of the subsequent two years to supplement funding Pupil Equity Funding and the Challenge Authorities and Schools Programmes and assist the opportunities available for Looked After Children. This government believes that every child in Scotland - no matter their background - should have the very best start in life.”
The Scottish Attainment Challenge was launched by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in February 2015, and focuses on improving literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in specific areas of Scotland and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
CELCIS has produced guidance - Looked After and Learning - for local authorities developing their plans for supporting attainment, covering key areas that teachers and educators can explore to deliver sustained improvement for children in education which highlights how to deliver a positive learning experience for every child, no matter their background.