The attainment gap is closing but outcomes for looked after children remain a long way behind the average attainment of Scottish children.
The statistics reveal 86% of all children achieve one or more National 5s, compared to only 40% of looked after children, and 91% are in positive follow up destinations, compared to 71% of looked after chidren. The gap in attainment between looked after children and all children is greatest at the higher qualification levels – those required for university entrance. The explanation is the tendency of looked after children to leave school at younger ages – 73% leaving at the minimum age, compared to 27% of all school leavers.
We welcome the continued improvement in attainment by school leavers who are looked after. There has been a five percentage point increase in looked after school leavers gaining one or more qualifications at National 5 level (equivalent to the former Standard Grades) and a two percentage point increase in positive follow up destinations (sustaining a place in college, university or employment nine months after leaving school) compared with 2014/15.
This report highlights the consistent evidence emerging in recent years of the value of stability in care placement. School leavers who experienced fewer placements and were looked after for the entire year, rather than for just part of it, had better outcomes. Outcomes were also better for children in foster care placements compared with those in residential care and those receiving support while living at home.