Expert Panel on Persistent Educational Underachievement must focus on children in care.

Paddy Mooney, Director of Include Youth, a charity who works with care experienced children and young people, has stated that the newly established Expert Panel to examine persistent educational underachievement must prioritise care experienced young people at the centre of any strategy. 

Speaking today Mr Mooney said: 

“The formation of an Expert Panel to examine the issues of educational underachievement and social deprivation is to be welcomed as is the desire by this group to meet with organisations who work in this field. 

“Include Youth will certainly be writing to the panel to seek a meeting in the hope of placing the issue of persistent educational underachievement by young people in the care system on the agenda. 

“Whilst the Minister and the new panel rightly places a focus on working class protestant boys as an area of concern there are very serious and real concerns regarding persistent educational underachievement within the Children’s Care sector. 

“While the general school population was reaching  86% of young people achieving GSCE’s grade C and above, this figure plummets to 54% for Looked after Children. With the highest level of these results emanating from within the foster care sector, on closer inspection the results for those within Residential Care Homes is nothing short of shocking. 

“In 2013 to 2015, the most recent breakdown available, the percentages for those young people in Residential Care are 4%, 0% and 6% respectively according to Department of Health figures. 

“Given that the 2018 figure of 54% is not broken down into the various elements of the care sector, they are still significantly lower than that of the general school population. It is Include Youth’s  belief that the trend highlighted up to 2015 within Residential Care Homes continue with little or no improvement.

“Include Youth will be contacting the Educational Panel to raise these issues and to draw attention to what, at many times is an overlooked group of young people who rights and entitlements must be improved upon.”