Publication of the statistical bulletin ‘Children in Care in NI 2014/15’

Date published: 28 July 2016

The Department of Health has today published the ‘Children in Care in NI 2014/15 Statistical Bulletin’.

This bulletin presents information on children and young people who had been looked after continuously for at least 12 months at 30 September 2015.

It details findings from the OC2 collection of information on the educational achievements of these young people at Key Stage Assessments and GCSE/GNVQ. It also includes information on their placement, health assessments, disability and offences and convictions.

Some children in care will excel educationally, however in general, children in care in the north of Ireland continue to underperform compared to the general school population.

Although there are many issues that can influence a child’s schooling, it is worth noting that a substantially higher proportion of children in care have special educational needs which may affect the educational attainment gap between them and the general school population.

Key Findings

  • at 30 September 2015, 2,169 children and young people had been looked after continuously for 12 months or longer
  • of these, one fifth (20%) had experienced a placement change during the previous 12 months, which is the lowest number in recent years. When excluding those children whose placement move was placement for adoption, the proportion of children with a placement change was 18%
  • having a statement of Special Educational Needs continues to be more prevalent among the looked after children of school age (27%) compared with the general school population (5%)
  • in general, looked after children did not perform as well as their peers on Key Stage assessments. Figures for looked after children are based on the proportion of children that were, according to their age, eligible for the Key Stage assessments:
    • the proportion of looked after children attaining Key Stage 1 Level of Progression Level 2 or above in Communication was 70% with 73% achieving the same in Using Maths. The equivalent figures for the general school population were 89% and 90%
    • for Key Stage 2 assessments, 36% of eligible children attained Level of Progression Level 4 or above in communication and 36% in Using Maths. General school population figures were 77% for Communication and 77% for Using Maths
    • at Key Stage 3, 21% of children eligible to be tested achieved Level of Progression Level 5 or above in Communication and 24% achieved this in Using Maths. The equivalent figures for the general school population were 74% and 77%

(The above figures are available in table format on page 3 of the publication)

  • two thirds (66%) of looked after children attained at least one GCSE/GNVQ at grades A* to G; this compared with close to 100% of the general school population. The looked after figure is based on the proportion of young people that were, according to their age, eligible for GCSE/GNVQ

Notes to editors: 

1. This publication is available online at: 

2. About the data:

The source of the data contained in this release is the Departmental OC2 statistical return, collected from Health and Social Service Trusts.

3. This statistical bulletin was produced by Community Information Branch, DoH.

Further information is available from:

Community Information Branch
Department of Health
Room 11, Annexe 2
Castle Buildings
Stormont Belfast BT4 3SP

Tel:                              (028) 90 522580

Fax:                             (028) 90 523288


4. Media queries should be directed to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0567. Out of office hours, contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699745440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

Share this page

Back to top