Headlines: June 15th, 2000

The Government is driving harder its plan to end one of the worst examples of the public sector creating the environment for social exclusion.Schools Minister Jacqui Smith has put in place a twelve month programme in which experts – implementation advisors – will work with English local authorities to improve the education of children in local authority care.

It will push all local authorities, not just the best performers, into putting into practice joint DfEE and DoH Guidance On The Education of Children and Young People in Public Care.

There have been instances where children in care have received patchy education, with one of the worst problems being frequent changes of school.

This goes against the Government’s drive to raise educational standards for all children, tackle social exclusion and improve life chances.

The London boroughs of Ealing and Bexley have been highlighted as examples of excellence. In Ealing, the council has set up corporate parent panel chaired by the council leader, has created a specialist post to co-ordinate the education of young people in care and made sure children had access to computers to help them at school.

In Bexley, the council has appointed two social workers to link with schools and funded a new post to co-ordinate the education of looked-after children across departments.

The joint DfEE/DH guidance can be found at: www.dfee.gov.uk/incar