Azara Blog: Schools Minister wants to send some care children to private school

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Date published: 2006/08/28

The BBC says:

A pilot scheme to educate some children in local authority care at state and private boarding schools is being considered by the government.

Schools Minister Lord Adonis said it would be "money well spent" if exam results improved but only a small number of children would be affected.

The charity Barnardos has suggested eight out of 10 children in care leave school without qualifications.

Martin Narey, the head of charity, said this idea could help some children.

Lord Adonis told the BBC: "In the discussions we've had it's a number of schools both state and private, that already have expertise in this area, that are keen to explore the potential for expanding this but I should stress that we are talking about small numbers.

"We certainly do not see this as an answer for the great majority of looked-after children.

"We need to see that the solutions that we have are fit for the individual child.

"But for some children it may well be that the stability which can be brought about by boarding schools, which can cater for their particular needs, will be a great improvement on the status quo."

Mr Narey said: "One of the advantages is that it might be much easier to find them stable foster arrangements, because foster parents would find it much easier if they were taking children just in holidays rather than 52 weeks of the year.

"So some stability would be brought into their home and their educational life which could make a difference..."

On Monday the Institute of Public Policy Research suggested children in care should be given £20 a week to pay for after-school activities to encourage them to achieve better exam results.

It's amazing. Some charity squawks about chidren in care and the government jumps up with a half-baked idea which does nothing for most children in care. And if it is "money well spent" to send some politically correct small minority of a small minority of children to private schools "if exam results improved" (which they almost certainly would) then why not do the same for the vast number of children not in care for which the same statement would hold? And the IPPR nonsense is along the same vein. If it is such a great idea (which it is not) then why not give children not in care "£20 a week to pay for after-school activities to encourage them to achieve better exam results"?

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