Education boss writes to Ofsted on his fears over children in care
A LEADING county educationalist is calling for schools to be more accountable over how they spend money designed to help children in care.
Ian Thomas, Derbyshire County Council strategic director for children and younger adults, has written to Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of the Office for Standards in Education, with his ideas.
Mr Thomas is concerned that the money given to schools known as "pupil premium" could be being misused to support other projects instead.
Pupil premium money is additional to main school funding and was introduced in April 2011.
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It is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals.
Mr Thomas wants inspectors from Ofsted to not give a "good" or "outstanding" rating to any school if it cannot demonstrate that it has used the money to help vulnerable children progress.
He said: "Children in care are much less likely to enjoy life as successful adults when compared to their peers, with 18% of care leavers unemployed, only 6% going to university and 40% of prisoners aged under 21 previously in care.
"We do not think that we or any other authority should be considered "outstanding" if our children do not leave our care with the very best life chances.
"Inspectors have been asked to look at outcomes from the use of pupil premium money but I am arguing for a stronger focus on children in care."
Mr Thomas has received a response indicating his idea is "under consideration".