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March 28th, 2015
We know from research that children’s early experiences can have long-term impacts on their emotional and physical health, social development, education and future employment. Local authorities take children into care to improve outcomes for them but too many children in care do not achieve their expected potential. In 2012/13 15% of children in care achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including Mathematics and English, compared with 58% of children not in care (National Audit Office, 2015).
Courtesy of Somerset Children’s Services
In response to the nationally recognised poor educational outcomes for Children Looked After, Somerset Children’s services have developed a multi-agency training tool called “Charlie”. The tool considers a fictional character. “Charlie” is a child who is looked after, has finished his year 11 studies and disappointingly has not achieved his expected targets.
The multi-agency training encourages participants to map Charlie’s journey during critical points in years 10 and 11. Participants are helped to examine the type of information that should have been known by the team around Charlie at key points; expected achievement levels and worrying factors that needed critical review to ensure that Charlie had the best possible support to achieve his maximum potential. Participants are helped to examine the difference made by the teams approach, including the impact of aspirations held for Charlie and how these might be played out in practice. The features of good practice are strongly encouraged, for example, involving the child every step of the way and ensuring the child has the right people around them and knows who to ask for help, ‘SMART’ planning, ‘think outside the box’, appropriate use of challenge processes, effective communication, outcome focused approach etc.
As the training has been rolled out across the county the ‘ideas and recommendations’ captured by participants will build into ‘Practice Wisdom’ that can be used to improve educational attainment for children looked after at this crucial period in their education. The training is in its infancy but feedback to date has been very positive.
Download the link to “Charlie” training tool courtesy of Somerset Children’s Services here: Charlie – training tool