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Education Politics Swansea West Wales

Councillor praises efforts of Year 11 pupils in care system in Swansea

THE EFFORTS of Year 11 pupils who are in the care system in Swansea, and those who support them, have been praised by a councillor.

The endorsement from Cllr Francesca O’Brien was in a response to a report which said all looked-after Year 11 pupils who were in mainstream school, or educated at home or in a pupil referral unit, went on to further education, employment or training last year.

Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, she said: “I think that’s really positive to see.” Cllr O’Brien added that she was interested in how the council kept abreast of the young people’s post-Year 11 progress.

The report was about how the council supported children and young people in care as regards their education. It said the authority prioritised them in the school admissions process to minimise disruption to their education.

On July 1 this year there were 293 school-aged children in Swansea who were looked after – or care-experienced – although 75 of these were under the care of other local authorities although they actually lived and were educated in Swansea.

The report said there were a further 91 children in the care of Swansea Council who lived and went to school out of county. Helen Howells, Swansea’s pupil support manager, said the council monitored and supported these 91 children education-wise.

Children and young people in care have personal education plans, and the intention is for the child’s voice to be captured in them.

Schools get extra funding for looked-after children, who may have fallen behind on their education, via a grant.

All schools in Swansea, said the report, have a designated teacher and governor for looked-after children. The report said their attendance at primary level was actually higher than the non-looked-after average.

The report also said there were 20 looked-after children in Swansea in 2022-23 who weren’t in mainstream school and were home-educated or in a pupil referral unit instead. Cllr Sandra Joy asked how much tuition the home-educated ones received. Ms Howells said this varied, and added: “We make sure we have a bespoke curriculum with that child. And there may be external provision.”

Cllr Robert Smith, cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said children and young in people in care were a diverse group who needed extra support. “They are all capable of fulfilling excellent results across the board as long as the support is there,” he said.