The Equal Chance Campaign is taking action on a crisis that has been years in the making. Each year, Adoption UK releases a report on progress being made by children who experienced early trauma before being adopted. In recent years, success rates in schools have plummeted. As schools are embracing the exam culture, they are leaving children behind. The 2018 Bridging the Gap report points to an imbalance in understanding and empathy in schools where teachers are graded strictly on exam results. The teachers get so caught up teaching for the test that they are losing the ability to form relationships with students.
The 2017 Schools and Exclusions report suggested that adopted students are 20 times more likely to be excluded at school and leave without proper qualifications. The adoptive parents surveyed shared that their kids did not feel support at school from their teachers. About 79 percent of kids said that they commonly felt confusion and worry at school while 70 percent of parents felt the kids’ academic progress was stunted by problems with emotional well-being.
In 2016, the report showed only 30 percent of adopted children met the expected standards. There are an estimated 42,500 kids in England who have been adopted or found a guardian and they deserve the same chance for success in schools as everyone else. The Equal Chance Campaign is calling for action on behalf of these children. It says we need to rethink the way that we are teaching the most vulnerable children.
Adopted kids struggling in school need support. Adoption UK wants a new continuing professional development programme to help teachers support adopted pupils and says schools should appoint a designated governor or trustee to take responsibility for previously looked-after children.
A DfE spokesperson said:
“Many children and their adoptive families have had their lives transformed by adoption, and we are determined to support them every step of the way. Schools receive £2,300 of pupil premium plus funding for each child adopted from care, and from September schools will be required to appoint a designated teacher for children adopted from care to help them at school. As well, trainee teachers must show they understand how a range of factors can affect a pupils’ ability to learn such as social and emotional issues – and how best to overcome these – to gain their Qualified Teacher Status.”