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Attainment gap between looked after children and others narrows slightly but remains large

Statistics on outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England, released by the Department for Education, show that the attainment gap between such children and their peer group is diminishing but is still great.

In particular, looked-after children have poorer educational outcomes than non-looked-after children. A high proportion (67.8%), have special educational needs and their emotional and behavioural health is often a cause for concern. However, despite poor outcomes, there have been improvements for nearly all of the measures covered by this statistical release. The percentage of looked-after children achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs or equivalent including English and mathematics has increased from 11.0% in 2009 to 15.3% in 2013.

The attainment gaps between looked-after and non-looked-after children for the main key stage 1, 2 and 4 measures have decreased or remained the same from 2012 to 2013. However the gaps are still large, especially for key stage 4, where 15.3% of looked after children achieved 5 or more A* to C GCSEs or equivalent including English and mathematics compared with 58.0% of non-looked-after children. Although this gap has narrowed in recent years to 42.7 percentage points, it is still higher than it was in 2009.

During the year ending 31 March 2013, 6.2% of looked-after children aged 10 to 17 had been convicted or subject to a final warning or reprimand and 3.5% of all looked-after children had a substance misuse problem.

Looked-after children are twice as likely to be permanently excluded from school and nearly three times more likely to have a fixed term exclusion than all children. Around half of all looked after children aged 5 to 16 were considered to be 'borderline' or 'cause for concern' in relation to their emotional and behavioural health.

The statistical release is here.