SNP has failed to improve educational attainment of children in care, Scottish Labour says

New figures show the SNP has failed to improve the educational attainment of looked-after children, Scottish Labour has said.

An official report released on Tuesday said the proportion of care-experienced pupils who achieved at least one National 5 qualification was 35%, compared with 85% for all pupils.

Despite improvement in attainment over the last six years, progress has stalled in the past four years.

Last year’s figures for National 5 qualifications among school leavers who had been in care for a full year was 39% and 36% for those who were in care for part of the year.

School attendance rates among looked-after children also fell slightly from 89% in 2012/13 to 87% in 2018/19.

Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray (pictured) said: “Today’s statistics paint a damning picture of the SNP Government’s failure to improve the future prospects of care-experienced pupils.

“With the effects of the pandemic set to devastate the jobs market and turn this attainment gap into a yawning chasm, it has never been more urgent for the Scottish Government to take action.

“We simply cannot let down another generation of care-experienced pupils.

“The Scottish Government has promised to address this, but whatever they have done is not working.

“The time has passed for John Swinney to take decisive action to reverse this fall in attainment among looked-after children.”

Education Secretary Mr Swinney responded: “This data shows the attainment gap is gradually narrowing, with the proportion of looked-after children leaving school with one or more pass at National 5 and Higher level rising, and the proportion going on to education, training or work rising.

“However some of those gaps are still really significant, and many young people in care still face barriers and don’t get the same opportunities as their peers.

“Through our £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund we are providing over £11.6 million funding this academic year for projects to help improve the education and life chances of care-experienced children and young people, while our work to improve the care system continues.”

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