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Seminar by Professor Judy Sebba (University of Oxford) 'The educational progress of looked after children: linking care and educational data'

This seminar will report on recent research published on the educational progress and outcomes of children in care.

A systematic review by Aoife O’Higgins1 suggested that it is likely that care is a protective factor in educational outcomes. A major study was then undertaken into what factors seem to contribute to these poorer outcomes by linking two national datasets in England, that which records educational factors for all children with the data about their care careers. The analysis focused on the progress at secondary school of young people who had been in care for over a year at the time of taking their ‘school-leaving’ examinations in 2013. Detailed statistical analysis was complemented by interviews with 26 young people and with their foster carers, teachers, social workers and ‘Virtual School headteachers’ who are responsible for supporting their education. The findings are influencing policy and practice in England, for example on avoiding school moves of young people in care. Evaluations of the GLA’s London Fostering Achievement3 and the Attachment-Aware Schools Programme will also be drawn on. 1 O’Higgins, A., Sebba, J. & Luke, N. (2015) What is the relationship between being in care and the educational outcomes of children? An international systematic review. Oxford: Rees Centre 2 Sebba, J., Berridge, D., Luke, N., Fletcher, J., Bell, K., Strand, S., Thomas, S., Sinclair, I., O’Higgins, A., (2015) The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England, The Rees Centre 3 Sebba, J., Luke, N., Plumridge, G. et al., (2016) Evaluation of the London Fostering Achievement Programme. London: GLA

Event details


Professor Judy Sebba is Director of the Rees Centre for Research on Fostering and Education at the University of Oxford, Department of Education. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and has twice served on the Research Excellence Framework Panel for Education in 2014, first as Deputy Chair and then as an Impact Assessor. The Rees Centre involves fostering providers, social care and education professionals, carers and care experienced young people in setting priorities for research, undertaking research and publicising the findings. Research on education of children in care includes the Nuffield Foundation-funded Educational progress of children in care (with Prof David Berridge, University of Bristol), that is leading to significant policy and practice changes and the evaluation of the London Fostering Achievement Project funded by the Greater London Authority aimed at improving outcomes of children in care across London. The Centre is also evaluating the Attachment Aware Schools Programme in four local authorities and has been awarded a major grant to roll this out nationally. As the Evaluation Coordinator for the DfE’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme we are involved in setting evaluation standards and seeking to improve the evidence base in children’s social care.

More details can be found at:

Judy_Sebba_Presentation.pptx (3700K)
Judy_Sebba_Information_on_Rees_Centre.pdf (341K)


Baring Court 114