Publication of the statistical bulletin ‘Children in Care in Northern Ireland 2013/14’

Date published: 18 June 2015

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has today published the ‘Children in Care in Northern Ireland 2013/14 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 2014. 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 Northern 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 2014, 2,163 children and young people had been looked after continuously for 12 months or longer. Of these, one fifth (21%) had experienced a placement change during the previous 12 months
  • having a statement of Special Educational Needs continues to be more prevalent among the looked after children of school age (26%) compared with the general school population (5%)
  • a Personal Education Plan (PEP) sets out a strategy and milestones relating to a looked after child’s learning progression. Of the school aged children, 84% had a PEP
  • in general, looked after children did not perform as well as their peers on Key Stage and GCSE/GNVQ assessments;
  • the proportion of looked after children attaining Key Stage 1 Level of Progression Level 2 or above in Communication was 82% with 83% achieving the same in Using Maths. The equivalent figures for the general school population were 91% and 92%;
  • for Key Stage 2 assessments, 37% of eligible children attained Level of Progression Level 4 or above in communication and 34% in Using Maths. General school population figures were 80% for Communication and 80% for Using Maths;
  • at Key Stage 3, 27% of children eligible to be tested achieved Level of Progression Level 5 or above in Communication and 22% 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)

  • almost three quarters (73%) 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

Notes to editors: 

  1. Children in care in Northern Ireland 2013/14 Statistical Bulletin
  2. About the data:

    The source of the data contained in this release is the Departmental OC2 statistical return, collected from Health and Social Services Trusts during the period 1 October 2014 to 31 January 2015

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

    Further information is available from Community Information Branch

  4. Media queries should be directed to DHSSPS 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

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