Background- “Compared to the non [out of home] care population, children in care have poor educational outcomes.” 36.7% of children have long term health, medical or behavioral conditions that impact on learning. 23.7% had repeated a grade. 60.2% had experienced a change of schools. 18% were not attending school at all. 14.7% had been suspended in the last 12 months. (Wise.S & Pollock.S 2010)
Why do we need to raise the bar? Success at school is one of the critical factors contributing to quality of life for youth and adults (Avery, 2001) Educational achievement for young people in care provides “the single most significant measure” of the effectiveness of the out of home care system. (Jackson 2007)
Affects on educational attainment Children in out-of-home care: Can be disadvantaged by up to 6 months by each school change due to coordination problems between child protection and education systems. Can miss out on basic academic skills due to disruption caused by frequent placement changes. Are poorly represented in tertiary and post secondary cohorts. may not have developed the skills, or have sufficient encouragement and support, to progress to tertiary education. Frequently experience social difficulties at school exacerbated by symptoms of trauma and abuse.
Barriers to Education Pre care factors- Impact of trauma and neglect. “ difficulty concentrating and grasping concepts, lack of emotional and impulse control, highly disruptive behaviors, angry and aggressive outbursts, social skill deficits, being withdrawn, low self confidence, lacking interest and disengagement. (Cole S.F 2005) “Poverty and economic disadvantage may restrict opportunities for children.” (Flynn R.J 2010) Lack of educational encouragement and preparation for children from significant others.
Barriers to Education continued- In care factors- 1. “ A journey of disruption, discontinuity and commitments comprised of placement changes, school transfers, court appearances, contact visits, therapeutic services and other requirements” (Fredrick & Goddard 2010)
Raising The Bar Developed, piloted and evaluated tools and resources for carers to support children’s education at home. Literature review- location of best practice models. Consultations. Development of education tool-kits. Information sharing across Victoria Piloting of tool kits in Southern and Grampians regions. Development of resources for workers and Foster Parents
The model: Carers and workers participate in information sessions. Carers are provided with tools and resources to support education and informal learning at home. Workers briefed on collaborating with carers to support education. Depending on the age of their child, the following tools were trialled: - Advocacy checklist. -Early learning Checklist -School age checklist -Developmental checklist. - Reading at home diary. -Online goals and aspirations tool. Life skills diary
Raising the Bar - Implementation pathway for case workers Assist the carer to develop an awareness of poor education outcomes for children in care Help the carer understand the impact of trauma on learning Reinforce the importance of carer advocacy skills Raising Carer Awareness Assist carer in their understanding of the early learning information pack Assist carer in their understanding of the school age pack Help carer understand the importance of role modelling Assist with developing a learning environment at home Regular review of screen time with carer Building Carer Capacity Conduct an annual education review for the child or young person in care Develop an Education at Home Plan Use the Supervision checklist in monthly supervision between worker and carer to review plans on a regular basis Devise 'Education at Home Plan' with Carer
Raising the Bar case worker and carer collaboration overview.
Rating Of Understanding of Various Aspects Of Educational Requirements For Children in Care Number of pre test responses to questions about skills and understanding where: 1= poor, 2= ok, 3= average, 4= very good, 5 = excellent ITEM: UNDERSTANDING OF: PRE-TRAINING MEAN POST-TRAINING MEAN The causes of poor education performance for children in care 3.094.30 Carers as educational advocates and role models 3.464.30 Knowledge of children’s developmental stages 3.554.10 The role of reading in language and learning development 3.194.30 The impact of trauma and neglect on education and learning 2.914.20 Life skills and ‘learning how to learn’ skills 3.004.20 Learning plans and student support groups 2.554.00 Strengths based learning 2.734.30 :
Broadening the Definition of Education EDUCATION Emotional Intelligence Life long learning Foundation Skills Mentoring
Informal learning Confidence and resilience Role modelling Rehearsing success Person centred Learning
Informal and Formal learning INFORMAL LEARNING One on one Facilitated by a Mentor FORMAL LEARNING Conducted in a group Taught by a teacher
Workers and carers can support Informal education by: Being positive about education and promoting pro-education attitudes- becoming an education champion! By encouraging reading with children of all ages and to create learning at home that is fun and that makes sense to the child. Encouraging attendance at age appropriate child-care, schools and programs. Advocating for children to ensure quality of education and learning services. Supporting and advocating for Learning Planning, making goal setting meaningful for the child or young person and facilitating their participation and involvement in informal learning. Encouraging participation in extracurricular activities. Focussing on and encouraging a child's skills and attributes.
Workers and carers can support children’s education by (cont.) In the home- The carer providing the child with the same supports at home that would be expected from any parent. With the school- Attending parent /teacher interviews. Developing good relationships with key teachers. Advocating for the child or young person if their needs are not being met. Helping schools to understand how best to support the child/young person Collaborating with teachers in care team meetings
Early learning is vital: “A child’s capacity to learn is greatest during early childhood. By the time a child is four years old, the sensing and language pathways that underpin vision, hearing, touch and language abilities are largely developed. There are strong links between high-quality early childhood education and care programs and higher scores on measures of cognitive growth, social development and school readiness. Quality early childhood education programs can continue to influence maths and literacy performance at 12 years of age.” Queensland DCCDS 2013