Cash boost for schools teaching adopted children

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SCHOOLS are to receive extra money for all children adopted from care under an expansion of a scheme designed to help these children achieve better academic results.

Edward Timpson, Minister for children and families, said an estimated 10,000 more adopted children are to attract additional pupil premium money worth £1,900 per head, to help close the attainment gap between adopted children and their classmates.

The announcement marks an expansion to an earlier scheme where only children adopted from care since December 30, 2005 were eligible for the money.

Figures show children adopted from care do not perform as well as their classmates at school.

Under half of adopted children last year reached the expected levels of reading, writing and maths at key stage two national assessment tests done by 11-year-olds at the end of primary school - compared with 75 per cent of children who have not been adopted.

The Government has also said that 29 councils and voluntary adoption agencies are being given permission to allow people approved to adopt to search the national adoption register – currently used by social workers to find homes for children – from September.

The scheme will allow prospective adoptive parents to find out about children’s hobbies, likes and dislikes and actually hear them speak and laugh in videos and pictures.

The Government said opening up the register would help speed up adoption but added that strict safeguards would be put in place to ensure the safety and privacy of the children.

Mr Timpson said: “A child’s needs don’t change overnight just because they are adopted.

“It is vital that these vulnerable children are given the right support they need and the education they deserve to help them get on in life.

“Extending the pupil premium to all children adopted will mean they get support they need from day one at school, no matter what their starting point in life.

“Opening up the adoption register, allowing parents approved to adopt to see videos and pictures, to hear the children speak and laugh – while keeping in place the strictest safeguards – will give them a greater role in the process and ensure more children are placed with their new family much more quickly.”

Sir Martin Narey, the Government’s adviser on adoption, said: “Sometimes adopter-led matching leads to the adoption of children for whom hope of adoption has almost been abandoned.

“In their search for a child, adopters sometimes feel a chemistry that makes a child who might not otherwise have been considered for them seem right to them. I warmly applaud the decision to open the register to adopters. More children desperately in need of an adoptive home will now find that home earlier.”

The original pupil premium was introduced by the coalition to give schools extra money for every pupil they teach from a deprived background.