The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that more looked-after children are to be offered places at boarding schools as part of a new Government drive to provide stability for vulnerable children who can find themselves “marginalised” and struggling to succeed at school.

Although looked-after children can already attend boarding school, the numbers doing so are quite low. Nevertheless, a 10-year scheme run by the Boarding Schools Partnerships found reduced levels of risk for 37 of the 52 vulnerable children in the schools, while 9 of the 17 looked-after children were not in care by the end of the scheme. Some data suggests that their academic performance improved; however, owing to the small sample size and some difficulties in making comparisons, these findings are not conclusive.

65 boarding schools have agreed to a 40% discount on their fees to looked-after children to provide them with either teaching hours or school places from September 2019, through the Boarding Schools Partnerships bursary scheme which is funded by the DfE.

In addition to this, the DfE is launching a new mentor scheme for gifted looked-after children who will receive support through a national network of 10 hubs which are intended to create partnerships between councils, independent schools and social workers. This will give the children access to specialist schools or facilities such as academic support, work experience or extra-curricular activities.

Last reviewed 19 December 2018