THE Ombudsman for Children is commissioning a report to examine how to address barriers to education for children in care. Tenders to carry out the research are being sought.
Emily Logan’s office is researching the area in light of concerns and complaints brought to it by and on behalf of children in care. Factors found to pose a challenge to the education of children in care include:
* A family history that includes low priority being given to education.
* Inadequate focus on education and/or the school system in the policies of residential homes for children.
* Less priority being afforded by professionals to children’s participation in education than to other aspects of their care.
* Lack of continuity in care, with placement breakdowns and difficulty in securing school places due to admission procedures or stigmatisation.
* Difficulty adjusting to the social culture of mainstream school.
“Adverse challenges that children in care may face in relation to attending and participating in formal education frustrate the potential of education to act as a positive counterbalance in their lives,” Ms Logan said.
“In addition to providing children with qualifications that can improve their future opportunities, participation in education and school life can foster resilience and develop confidence, self-esteem and life-skills.”
The overall aim of this research project is to identify how the education system can best support attendance, participation and attainment in education by children and young people in care.
Once complete, the Ombudsman hopes the research will give an overview of international and national standards and guidelines for the education of children in care. It is to also offer a review of existing facilities here, an overview of attendance, participation and attainment among those children, and recommendations for measures that could be implemented to support their education.
The deadline for receipt of tenders is September 17 and the successful person should be able to start work at the beginning of October 2010 and complete the research by March 2011.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved