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News > Bramston Bursary Foundation > Children in Care

Children in Care

The Bramston Bursary Foundation's mission is to offer life changing opportunities for girls in care, or on the edge of care, by providing fully funded boarding places at St Swithun's School
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Why are children taken into care?
Children can come into the care of the local authority for a variety of reasons.  It can be with a parent’s permission for a short period of ime (a respite period of a few days or weeks), to allow the parent a chance to recover from a trauma or illness.  Children can also be accommodated for a period of a few months if a parent or extended family needs a chance to demonstrate they can meet the long term needs of the child safely, and if the local authority believes they can work in partnership with the parents and that no legal order is required to safeguard the child.  In some cases the child will need to be afforded the protection of a Court Order that allows the local authority to exert parental responsibility.  This is in cases where it is either unsafe or not possible for the parent to retain their parental responsibility; for example if a parent has died, if their mental health state is such that they are unable to make safe decisions or if the local authority has evidence that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm from the parent.

How many children are in care?
At 31 March 2019, the number of Looked After Children by local authorities in England had increased by 4% since 2018 to 78,150 - continuing increases seen in recent years.
1  Just under half are female (44%).2  In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there are around 1,100 children in care.

What are the academic prospects for children in care?
The attainment and progress of this group of children continues to be considerably lower than that of their peers.
Attainment 8 measures the average achievement of pupils in up to eight qualifications. This includes: English (double weighted if both GCSEs in language and literature are taken); maths (double weighted); three further qualifications that count in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc); and three further qualifi cations that can be GCSE qualifi cations (including EBacc subjects) or any other non-GCSE qualifications on the DfE approved list.  In 2019, the average Attainment 8 score for Looked After Children was 19.1 compared to 44.6 for non-Looked After Children.4

What evidence is there to show how a boarding school place can be transformational for a child in, or on the edge of, care?
Children in, or on the edge of, care who have been given a boarding school place have had starkly diff erent outcomes to those who are not awarded this opportunity.  The secure and stable environment, with the superb pastoral care that is provided for all pupils at a boarding school, alongside a great education, has meant these children have gone onto university and are now living productive and happy lives.

In April 2018, Norfolk County Council published findings of their pioneering 10 year project: Boarding School Placements for Vulnerable Children and Young People - a study of the social, educational and financial outcomes of boarding placements by Norfolk County Council.

‘This is the most substantial piece of boarding school research conducted by a local authority in recent years. It, therefore, provides a valuable complement to existing research into outcomes of young people in and on the edge of local authority care.  The success of Norfolk Boarding School Partnerships confirms the extent to which boarding schools really can help to transform the life and prospects of vulnerable young people. It shows that, in some circumstances, boarding placements can help reduce vulnerable young people’s level of risk.

‘It is clear that - for the right person at the right school at the right time - boarding school can be transformative.

'The individual attention, pastoral care and sense of community at so many of the country’s boarding schools can be invaluable for these young people.  Nobody believes boarding school would be right for all young people, but this research shows how eff ective it can be.'  Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Schools System. Norfolk County Council 2018

To read the whole report, please visit:

1 Department for Education - Children Looked After in England (including adoption), year ending 31 March 2019
2 Children Looked After in England (including adoption), year ending 31 March 2019. Department for Education. National Statistics
3 Department for Education - Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England, 31 March 2019
4 Hampshire & Isle of Wight Virtual School & College for Children and Young People in Care, updated 2018


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