Education of children in care in England held back by ‘system failings’

GCSE results: Grades show growing regional divide in England

A report by MPs has identified “a host of indefensible system failings” behind the educational disadvantage affecting children in care, and called for academies that illegally turn them away to be punished by Ofsted.

The report by the education select committee accused the government of failing to act as a “pushy parent” by placing looked-after children in the best schools available, resulting in children in care “receiving educational experiences that we certainly would not deem acceptable for our own children”.

The MPs highlighted the difficulties that many looked-after children have in accessing good or outstanding schools in England, and detailed how some academies attempt to keep them out despite their high priority for places.

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Just under a third of GCSE grades were 7/A and above in London, compared to just over a fifth in the North East and in Yorkshire and the Humber. The gap between the regions with the highest and lowest proportions of top grades is 0.9 percentage points wider than it was in 2019.

Some Level 2 BTec pupils who were due to get results are facing delays. Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, students have been receiving results for GCSE, BTec and other vocational and technical awards.

Overall, 73.2% of GCSEs were marked at grades 4/C and above this year, down from 77.1% in 2021, when grades were based on teachers’ assessments. It is still substantially higher than in 2019, the last year exams were sat before Covid, when it was 67.3%

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