Full marks for city's care community
FOR the first time GCSE results for children in the care system in Bristol have risen above the national average.
Seventeen per cent of the youngsters in care in the city achieved grades A*-C including English and Maths, compared to the national average of 14.6 per cent.
This year's results included 45 children in care in maintream schools in the city, 23 children with statements of special educational need and eight in special schools.
At the end of primary school there had been a 24 per cent improvement in pupils attaining expected national levels at the end of Key Stage 2 compared to 2011.
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Results for Bristol children in care at Key Stage 2 were also above the national averages – at English 79 per cent achieved at least Level 4, compared to the national average of 60 per cent.
The council has also initiated a "Rising Stars" initiative to concentrate additional support on high achieving youngsters in the care system.
Bristol City Council's headteacher for children in care Pippa John said: "Being in care should not be a barrier to achieving whatever a young person wants to in life. Our schools provide excellent support which we are now supplementing with the Rising Stars programme to give additional support, technical aids, downloadable revision programmes and university visits to raise aspiration.
"We're seeing more young people leave care to pursue rewarding academic and vocational learning opportunities where our support continues."
Bristol City Council currently has 13 care leavers in higher education.
Shauna Stewart came into foster care when she was 15 and has just graduated from the University of the West of England with a PGCE in secondary education.
"Having the extra bit of support to get me through my GCSEs, A' Levels and now a degree has made all the difference to keep me focused on my studies," she said.
"Social workers sorted out travel arrangements so that I didn't need to move schools when I was in foster care and I've had extra help with accommodation, equipment and filling out application forms.
"This has now all paid off as I'm about to start my first job as a secondary school teacher in London."