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Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children

Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities

Looked after children1 have a right to expect the outcomes we want for every child – that they should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic well-being. To achieve these five outcomes for looked after children, local authorities as their ‘corporate parents’ should demonstrate the strongest commitment to helping every child they look after, wherever the child is placed, to achieve the highest educational standards he or she possibly can. This includes supporting their aspirations to achieve in further and higher education.

Though some do well, the educational achievement of looked after children as a group remains unacceptably low. That is why the Children Act 1989 (“the 1989 Act”) (as amended by the Children Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”)) places a duty on local authorities to promote the educational achievement of looked after children (“the duty”).

The duty of a local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child looked after by them includes, in particular, a duty to promote the child’s educational achievement2. The authority must therefore give particular attention to the educational implications of any decision about the welfare of those children. The duty came into force on 1 July 2005 and applies to all children looked after by an authority, wherever they are placed.