Black Children In Care Excluded At Alarming Rates

A recent study by Barnardo’s highlighted how children in care are being failed by the education system; but for black children that failure is even more pronounced. The Barnardo’s report: Failed by the System aimed to highlight “the shocking levels of disadvantage” faced by children in care, in respect of their education, whom Barnardo’s claim are being virtually “written off”. Pam Hibbert, Principal Policy Officer for Barnardo’s told Black Britain: “This report doesn’t actually tell us anything that we didn’t already know,” given that there is already a plethora of research into the poor educational achievements of children in care.

According to figures provided by Barnardo’s, black children make up eight per cent of the 48,800 children in care in England, with eight per cent being of mixed race.

The Barnardo’s report looked at the educational experience of children in care from their own perspective and a separate NOP poll asked the parents of 500 children what they expected of them.

For example, 50 per cent of children in the study said they had been bullied at school as a direct consequence of being in care, but only 28 per cent of parents of children not in care said that their child had experienced bullying.

One area in which children in care appear to be systematically discriminated against is in respect of school exclusions. In 2003 the Social Exclusion Unit revealed that children in care are ten times more likely to be excluded from school than other children.

In Barnardo’s own study 62 per cent of young people had been excluded for anything between one day and two years and 33 per cent had been excluded for more than two months. Hibbert told Black Britain: “Certainly school exclusions are an issue. We know that looked after children are much more likely to be excluded.”

Hibbert acknowledged that whilst the Barnardo’s study did not look at ethnicity: “I suspect that black children in the care system are doubly discriminated against. We already know around the figures of exclusion of black children they’re a group more likely to be excluded from school. So if you’re black and in care, you probably twice as likely to be.”

Hibbert also pointed out that looked after children have no-one to represent them or to appeal against a school exclusion. “In effect, if that child is in care it would be the local authority appealing against the local authority.