A recent study, run by Oxford and Bristol university researchers, has shown evidence that children from troubled families who enter foster care make better academic progression than those who remain with troubled families by at least 6 GCSE grades at 16.
The study looked at the GCSE results of 640,000 teenagers from 2013. Out of these 14,000 were deemed ‘in need’ and were living with their parents, but receiving support of social workers, and just over 6,000 were in foster care. Although the GCSE grades where better for those children in care, neither groups had grades as good as the general population.
The researches, like Prof David Berridge of Bristol University, believe the feelings of security were the main reasons for their better grade. "They said they could only do well at school once they felt safe and secure, that they mattered to someone and that their birth families were also being supported’ explained Prof Berridge. The study has also provided evidence that the longer the students spend in the foster care the better progress they make.
A correlation was also shown between absenteeism and a fall in the attainment, with an average decrease in 2 GCSE lessons for every 5% of classes missed. Prof Judy Sebba, director of Oxford University's Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education, also believes that frequent changes to different schools has a bad influence when it comes to GCSE grades.
Children’s Minster Edward Timpson explained how this study backed up the recent changes to the law which mean foster children can remain with their families until they are 21. He explains how the importance of foster care "providing young people with greater stability as they prepare for independence and adult life".