Children linked to care system to get boarding school chance
Children with links to the care system will be given the chance to attend independent and state boarding schools, the Department for Education announced.
The Boarding School Partnerships Information Service will see authorities work with children's charities to identify pupils who can be put forward for bursaries and scholarships.
The announcement builds on wider programmes to support vulnerable children in all schools, including named head teachers who are responsible for supporting their education and almost £2.5 billion funding this year for state schools to support them through the Pupil Premium.
Launching the new partnership, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System Lord Agnew said: "Children who have previously been in care or are at risk of care have often gone through difficult, challenging experiences that can have a lasting impact throughout their lives.
"These placements won't be right for every child, but the pastoral care and educational support provided by our top boarding schools can have profound benefits for some young people.
"I'm delighted that so many organisations are working with us to help create more of these opportunities for these children, helping them to get the best start in life and to go on to reach their full potential, no matter what their background."
The service is being overseen by an expert voluntary board of children's services professionals, head teachers, charity executives and government officials.
King Edward's School already provides boarding places to several pupils in, or on the edge of, care.
John Attwater, King Edward's Witley headmaster, said: "We know from long experience that boarding can provide a life-transforming opportunity for vulnerable children and their families, and it is core to our founding mission as a school.
"I am delighted that this service will give local authorities and others the information they need to consider boarding as an option for children who need it, and put them in touch with schools such as King Edward's and charities that can make it happen."
Councillor Richard Watts, chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People board, added: "This initiative provides another option for social workers considering what would work best for individual children and families.
"While a boarding school placement will not be right for every child, making this opportunity available for those who would benefit is a positive move.
"But with councils facing a £2 billion funding gap for children's services by 2020, it is vital that the Government supplements these specific initiatives by providing the additional funding that councils need to ensure that all children can have the bright futures they deserve."