The independent review of children’s social care - Final report

Young people have told the review that they find having access to mentors and tutors useful, and these roles can provide some of the most effective interventions to improve attainment(Biggs et al., 2020). There are a range of evaluated tutoring and mentoring programmes available, such as First Star and MCR Pathways in the UK and programmes such as the Better Futures Programme in the US. To improve attainment and meet their new targets VirtualSchool Heads should direct Pupil Premium funding towards interventions that are well evidenced, and the Education Endowment Fund should help to inform these choices” (p157).

The independent review of children's social care. 158

First Star Scholars UK and The Portal Trust are delighted to see MISSION 2 of 5 missions to support children in care and care experienced people (p. 156) – reflecting the 12by24 Pledge

The Review notes that “this mission headlines on university, it will require much more ambition for children in care right through the education system. While success will be counted in the number of care experienced young people going to university, all care experienced young people will benefit as the education system works harder to improve outcomes and professionals have increasingly higher ambitions’ (p. 156).

Mission 2: Double the proportion of care leavers attending university, and particularly high tariff universities, by 2026

Directly reflecting the mission of First Star Scholars UK and the barriers we aim to mediate by helping care experienced young people overcome inequalities – we are pleased to see that the Review recognises the potential of education to change lives and the importance to young people’s life trajectory of our First Star programme. 

Commissioned by First Star and Funded by the Portal Trust - this report presents a simple challenge to government and the higher education sector to do more to help young people who have had the worst start in life to have the best future.
The 12by24 Report (Centre for Social Justice, 2019) made a number of recommendations 

The Department for Education should endorse and support the ‘Gold Standard’ framework. This support should be extended to grant funding for the administrative costs associated with a national roll-out of the ‘Gold Standard’, as well as official endorsement.

The Office for Students … should consult on the definition of a care leaver to be used by higher education institutions in their Access and Widening Participation agreements.

Ensure that the voice of care leavers and young people in care is always heard.

The Minister for Children and the Office for Students should strongly encourage all higher education institutions to include looked-after children as a priority group within Access and Participation Plans. 

The DfE should extend its data collection and monitoring of care leavers’ outcomes up to the age of 25

The DfE should collect and publish data on the number of care leavers and children in care who go on to study for further education qualifications. This should include reporting on the educational outcomes for looked-after children/care leavers at Key Stage 5

The DfE should work with the HESA to develop an annual report on the number of care leavers studying on degree-level courses by institution. The transparency should provide policymakers with an annual snapshot of the care leavers student population.

The independent review of children’s social care - Final report
Josh MacAlister, in his foreward to the Review suggests that “how we care for our children is nothing short of a reflection of our values as a country. When we get it right, children’s social care allows children and families to flourish”