Evaluation of the Implementation of the Pupil Development Grant for Looked After Children – Final Report

The Pupil Development Grant was introduced in 2012 to provide additional funding to schools to help mitigate disadvantages for pupils on free school meals and LAC. In 2015, it was decided to separate the funding provided for children eligible for free school meals (eFSM) and LAC through two separate grants. Allocations for the PDG for LAC were made to the four regional education consortia (RECs), rather than directly to schools, with the aim of facilitating a more strategic approach to using the funding across regions. The allocation amounts to a little under £4 million a year.
The grant is expected to support school improvement to reduce inequities facing LAC:

  • There are around 6,000 LAC with considerable variation in the numbers between LAs and schools. LAC’s prior experiences and their experience of being in care can have profound effects on their educational progress and attainment which impact on their vocational training and employment prospects.
  • While the trend over time shows LAC’s attendance and attainment (up to 2016) has generally improved, there is a large gap in attainment between LAC and other pupils at all stages of education, critically at Key Stage 4 which has a great effect on progression. This is found to varying degrees in all REC areas.

Allowances Report 2019-20 for Northern Ireland

Location: N. Ireland

Author: The Fostering Network

Year: 2019

Summary:

All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance from their fostering service when they have a child in placement, which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This includes food, clothes, toiletries, travel and all other expenses incurred and varies depending on the age of the child. Some foster carers also get a fee for their time, skills and experience. This report focuses purely on the allowances given to the foster carer to cover the costs of looking after a fostered child.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland publishes minimum allowances (NMAs) for foster carers, with the expectation that all Health and Social Care Trusts meet these amounts. See Table 1 for the figures for this financial year compared with last year as well as the English rate. Even though the minimum fostering allowance levels have increased from last year, this was below inflation.

Care experienced children and young people

This week the National Assembly for Wales issued a report on care experienced children and young people.  This report is especially important as Wales now has double the amount of children in care as it did twenty years ago.  

The report takes into account lived experiences of those who have been in care and those who support them.  It also addresses financial concerns and transparency in services and funding in services that are necessary for care experienced young people.

Allowances Report 2019-20 for Northern Ireland

Location: N. Ireland

Author: The Fostering Network

Year: 2019

Summary:

All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance from their fostering service when they have a child in placement, which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This includes food, clothes, toiletries, travel and all other expenses incurred and varies depending on the age of the child. Some foster carers also get a fee for their time, skills and experience. This report focuses purely on the allowances given to the foster carer to cover the costs of looking after a fostered child.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland publishes minimum allowances (NMAs) for foster carers, with the expectation that all Health and Social Care Trusts meet these amounts. See Table 1 for the figures for this financial year compared with last year as well as the English rate. Even though the minimum fostering allowance levels have increased from last year, this was below inflation.

Children in Care in Northern Ireland

Location: N. Ireland

Author: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

Year: 2018

Summary:

This publication presents information on children in Northern Ireland who have been looked after continuously for 12 months or longer at 30 September each year. Information is presented on the educational achievements of these children as well as religious background, ethnicity, disability, placement, health, economic activity and criminal convictions.

Mind Your Health: The physical and mental health of looked after children and young people in Northern Ireland

Location: N. Ireland

Author: McSherry, D., Fargas Malet, M., McLaughlin, K., Adams, C., O’Neill, N., Cole, J., & Walsh, C. (2015). Mind Your Health: The physical and mental health of looked after children and young people in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Queens University Belfast.

Year: 2015

Summary:

The Mind Your Health study is a Queen’s University study, supported by a grant from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). The research study, which ran from May 2012 to April 2015 (three years), set out to profile the health needs of the Looked After children and young people (LACYP) population in Northern Ireland, and to explore how these needs were currently being met. The study used a mixed-methods approach, which included: a review of policy and practice documents; five focus group interviews with senior social work managers in each of the Health and Social Care Trusts; 233 telephone interviews with carers (foster, kinship, and residential); 25 semi-structured interviews with young people; and multi-disciplinary focus group interviews with professionals in four HSC Trusts.