The CASCADE Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre are delighted to launch the ExChange: Care and Education ‘community of practice’ commissioned by the Welsh Government. We hope that practitioners, foster carers, teachers, researchers, and care-experienced children and young people will find it a helpful ‘one-stop shop’ for information relating to improving outcomes in care and education.
Children and young people who have experienced care are recognised as a marginalised group and their trajectories are often characterised by early experiences of bereavement, family difficulties, childhood adversity, instability and placement moves, labelling, difficult relationships with teachers and social workers, low academic attainment, unemployment, poor mental health, drug and alcohol issues and homelessness (The Fostering Network 2014). The number of children and young people currently counted as ‘looked-after’ in Wales stands at 5,415, with this figure having increased by 20% in the past ten years (Welsh Government 2015). The educational experiences and attainment of children and young people in care is a significant social concern, as they are reported to perform less well than the general population across a range of outcomes (Jackson 2010; O’Higgins et al. 2015; Sebba et al., 2015).
In response to these issues, the Welsh Government commissioned a study - The LACE Project - to explore the educational experiences, attainment and aspirations of looked-after children and young people in Wales (Mannay et al., 2015). The LACE Project generated a range of materials including reports, artwork, films, music audios and music videos, which are available here.
The LACE Project informed the Welsh Government in developing the strategy; ‘Raising the ambitions and educational attainment of children who are looked after in Wales’ (Welsh Government 2016). The enhanced communication and sharing of best practice facilitated by ExChange: Care and Education project is a key part of this strategy.
Please browse the resources and contacts available and let us know what you find helpful or inspiring using the comments board on each section. If you are able to contribute further resources, please use the form below to let us know.
The site is ready to use and already has much to offer, however we are seeking to expand it rapidly and are actively seeking further materials to share on the website.
Are you a social care or education professional who works with children and young people? An academic focused on evidence to inform practice? A foster carer with children and young people in school or college? A child or young person with views on education whilst in care? We would love to hear from you!
We are seeking out the following contributions relating to education and children who are looked-after:
Academic literature (published or unpublished)
Policy reports and responses
Best practice examples and case studies
Training materials or action plans
Anything else that you think might be of help or interest in supporting children and young people in care or leaving care with their education
To contribute, you can complete the form below letting us know what materials you would like to share, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org