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DfE announces initiative to see more looked-after children placed in boarding schools

The Department of Education has announced a new government drive to see more looked after children offered places at boarding schools.

Plans will see the establishment of up to 10 hubs to connect local authorities, social workers and virtual school heads, with independent and boarding schools, in late 2019.

The intention is that these hubs will support looked after children by offering residential school placements or other opportunities which might be available, such as mentoring, tutoring or activities in the school holidays.

Whilst some looked after children are already placed in boarding schools the number is relatively low. The benefits to these children, however, have been seen to be significant with notable reductions in their levels of risk.

Children's minister Nadhim Zahawi said

"Children in care often find themselves marginalised, struggling to make a success of themselves at school through no fault of their own but because of the chaotic start to their lives. We need to dream much bigger for these vulnerable children and raise ambition and belief in what they can achieve - whether that means school scholarships, mentoring or help applying to university. Many independent schools are already putting this in action, so this new scheme will help even more provide that stability."

The DfE is expected to open a tender for local authorities and primary and secondary schools interested in forming hubs in early 2019.