Academic Year 2018/19

Outcomes of children in need, including looked after children

This is the latest dataAd hoc statistics
Published

This statistical release and underlying data provide national level information on the educational outcomes and characteristics of children in need (CIN), including looked after children. 

The following data is available:

  • Rates of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Free School Meals (FSM)
  • Types of school attended
  • Attainment in Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4
  • Absence and exclusion rates

This release illustrates some of the proposed changes to the annual ‘Outcomes for children looked after by LAs’ National Statistics release’ and outcomes within the ‘Characteristics of children in need’ National Statistics. Improving these statistics was a commitment made at the end of the Children in Need (CIN) review. The proposed changes aim to improve the consistency of definitions and the range of children reported on. For example, the annual statistics don’t currently report outcomes on the whole CIN cohort and only report on children looked after for at least twelve months at 31 March, whereas this release includes the outcomes of all CIN, including breakdowns for those on child protection plans and those looked after for less than 12 months at 31 March. 

The Department for Education (DfE) asked users to submit feedback on these proposals between 24 September 2020 and 29 October 2020.

The feedback is now being analysed and will be published at a later date at Children in need and looked after children statistics: proposed changes.


Headline facts and figures - 2018/19

  • Over a third of all children in need in Key Stage 2 achieved the expected level in reading, writing and maths (35%). Pupils who had been continuously looked after for at least 12 months achieved higher than this average (37%), but lower than the average for all pupils (65%).
  • The average Attainment 8 score for all children in need in Key Stage 4 was 18.5, compared to 46.7 for all pupils. Pupils who had been continuously looked after for at least 12 months had a similar average Attainment 8 score of 18.7, but have better Progress 8 scores than the average child in need (-1.27 compared to -1.49).
  • Over a quarter of all children in need were persistently absent (29%). A smaller proportion of those who had been continuously looked after for at least 12 months were persistently absent (11%), the same as the rate for all pupils (11%).
  • Children who had been continuously looked after for at least 12 months had a lower rate of permanent exclusions (0.05%) than the average for all children in need (0.58%), and the average for all pupils (0.10%).
  • One in ten of all pupils in 2019 have been in need in the previous 6 years. Compared to all pupils, these children are less likely do well at each stage of education, more likely to have SEN or FSM, and more likely to be persistently absent.

Explore data and files

All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance


Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


All supporting files

All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:

List of all supporting files

Background

Who are children in need and looked after children?

When a child is referred to children’s social care, an assessment is carried out to identify if the child is in need of services, which local authorities have an obligation to provide under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 if: 

  • they are unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for them of services by a local authority
  • their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for them of such services
  • they are disabled

This overall group of children in need has three  commonly referred subgroups of children: 

  • Children looked after (CLA) – legally defined under the Children Act 1989 as children who are provided with accommodation for a continuous period for more than 24 hours, subject to a care order; or subject to a placement order.
  • Child Protection Plans (CPP) – plans put in place to ensure a child’s safety and support the family where social workers have reasonable suspicion that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.
  • Child in Need and other Plans (CINP) –plans including family support (to help keep together families experiencing difficulties), leaving care support (to help young people who have left local authority care), adoption support or disabled children’s services (including social care, education and health provision).

Definitions

This release looks at the characteristics and attainment of the following groups of children:

  • ‘All pupils’ – all pupils in England, including those with and without social care support
  • ‘All CIN – 31 March’ – all children in need at 31st March
  • ‘CLA – 31 March, 12 months or more’ - Children continuously looked after for at least 12 months at 31st March
  • ‘CLA 31 March, less than 12 months’ - Children who were looked after but not continuously for at least 12 months at 31st March
  • ‘CPP – 31 March’ - Children on a Child Protection Plan who were not CLA at 31st March
  • ‘CINP – 31 March’ - Children on Child in Need and other Plans who were not CLA or CPP at 31st March

The final section of this report contains the outcomes of all children who were CIN at any point in the last 6 years (‘Ever CIN – last 6 years’). Note that six years has been chosen due to initial availability and reliability of data. We will continue to report on a six year period even as more years of data become available so that the measure is comparable over years.

The underlying data also contains the outcomes of children who were in the above categories at any point during the collection year. You can explore these outcomes using the ‘Create your own tables’ functionality. There are also additional groups of CLA in the underlying data:

  • ‘CLA – 31 March’ – all children who were CLA at 31st March, irrespective of duration
  • ‘CLA – any point in the year’ – all children who were CLA during the year, irrespective of duration
  • ‘Ever CLA – last 6 years’ – all children who were CLA during the last six years

Pupil characteristics

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

CIN pupils are over three times more likely than all children to have SEN. Almost half of all CIN have SEN (47.7%), with around a quarter having either EHCP’s (23.1%) or receiving SEN support (24.6%). 

Comparing the different social care groups:

  • Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more were most likely to have SEN (55.8%). They were also most likely to have EHCP’s (27.2%)
  • Children on a CPP were least likely to have EHCP’s (8.6%)

Free School Meals (FSM)

Almost half of all CIN pupils were eligible for and claiming FSM (47%), around three times more than the average for all pupils (15%). Children on CPP had the highest proportion of pupil’s eligible for and claiming FSM (67%), around four times more than the average for all pupils.

Early Years attainment

The early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) is a teacher assessment of children’s development at the end of the early years foundation stage (the end of the academic year in which the child turns five years old – this is typically at the end of the Reception year).

In 2019, almost half of CIN pupils in Early Years achieved a good level of development (44%), compared to 72% of all pupils. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more achieved the highest (47%) of the different social care groups, while those on a CPP achieved the lowest (42%).

Key Stage 2 attainment

Pupils take national curriculum assessments in year 6, at the end of KS2, when most pupils will reach age 11 by the end of the school year. Pupils take tests (commonly referred to as SATs) in reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) and receive a teacher assessment (TA) in writing. The combined reading, writing and maths measure uses the results of the reading and maths tests and the outcome of the writing teacher assessment. 

In 2019, around a third of all CIN pupils at Key Stage 2 achieved the expected level in reading, writing and maths, compared to 65% of all pupils. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months achieved the highest of the different social care groups (37%). 

Key Stage 4 attainment

Percentage achieving grade 9 - 5 in GCSE English and maths 

In 2019, only 8.8% of all CIN pupils at Key Stage 4 achieved a grade 5 or above in English and maths, compared to 43.2% of all pupils. Only 7.2% of children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more achieved this level, which is less than the overall average for all CIN, but greater than the proportion of those who had been continuously looked after for less than 12 months (5.1%).

 

Attainment 8

Attainment 8 measures the average achievement of pupils in up to 8 qualifications. This includes: English (double weighted if both GCSEs in language and literature are taken); maths (double weighted); three further qualifications that count in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc); and three further qualifications that can be GCSE qualifications (including EBacc subjects) or any other non-GCSE qualifications on the DfE approved list.

In 2019, the average Attainment 8 score of all CIN pupils at Key Stage 4 was 18.8, compared to 46.7 for all pupils. Children who were continuously looked after for 12 months or more had a similar average Attainment 8 score of 19.1, but higher than the average for those who had been continuously looked after for less than 12 months (13.3). 

Progress 8

Progress 8 aims to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of key stage 2 (KS2) to the end of KS4. It compares pupils’ achievement – their Attainment 8 score (see above) – with the national average Attainment 8 score of all pupils who had a similar starting point (or ‘prior attainment’), calculated using assessment results from the end of primary school. A positive Progress 8 score indicates more progress has been made than expected. Progress 8 is a relative measure, therefore the national average Progress 8 score for mainstream schools is very close to zero (0.01 in 2019). 

The average Progress 8 score for all CIN pupils at Key Stage 4 was -1.45. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more made more progress (-1.23) than the average CIN, and far more progress than those who had been continuously looked after for less than 12 months (-2.03). 

Absence

Overall absence

In 2019, the overall absence rate for all CIN pupils was 10.1%, compared to 4.7% for all pupils. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more had a rate of 4.7%, the same as the average for all pupils and far lower than the average for CIN. Children on a CPP had the highest overall absence rate (13.1%), and the only group with a higher unauthorised absence rate (7.1%) than authorised absence rate (6.0%).

Persistent absence

Pupil enrolments missing 10 or more percent of their own possible sessions (due to authorised or unauthorised absence) are classified as persistent absentees.

In 2019, over a quarter of all CIN pupils were persistently absent (29.2%), compared to 10.9% of all pupils. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more had a rate of 10.9%, similar to the average for all pupils and far lower than the average for CIN. Children on CPP had the highest persistent absence rate (38.0%).

Exclusions

Exclusions data are collected two terms in arrears, so the latest exclusions data available is from the academic year 2017/18. This is matched to the looked after children from year ending 31 March 2018, which is a year earlier than the other information in this statistical release. 

Permanent exclusions

In 2018, 0.58% of all CIN pupils were permanently excluded, compared to 0.10% of all pupils. Children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more had a rate of 0.05%, half that of all pupils and ten times less than the average for all CIN. Children on CPP had the highest permanent exclusion rates (0.96%). 

Fixed period exclusions

In 2018, 11.05% of all CIN pupils had at least one fixed period exclusion, compared to 2.33% of all pupils. Around 1 in 10 children who had been continuously looked after for 12 months or more had at least one fixed period exclusion (11.66%), slightly more than the average for all CIN, but less than the rate for those who had been continuously looked after for less than 12 months (14.93%).

Outcomes for pupils who have been in need in last the 6 years

There were 856,000 pupils in state funded schools in 2019 who are known to have been in need in the last 6 years. This is equivalent to 1 in 10 pupils in 2019, or 3 in every classroom on average.

Of these pupils,

  • Over a third had SEN (36%) and almost half were eligible for and claimed FSM (46%) in 2019
  • Almost half reach a good level of development in Early Years (49%), compared to 72% of all pupils
  • Less than half reach the expected standard at KS2 reading, writing and maths (44%), compared to 65% of all pupils
  • Less than a fifth achieve a grade 5 or above at KS4 English and maths (16%), compared to 43% of all pupils
  • An average Attainment 8 score of 27.4, compared to 46.7 for all pupils
  • An average Progress 8 score of -0.96
  • Almost a quarter were persistently absent in 2019 (23.9%), compared to 10.9% of all pupils

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Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

Ad hoc official statistics

Ad hoc official statistics are one off publications that have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

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If you have a specific enquiry about Outcomes of children in need, including looked after children statistics and data:

Children's Social Care Analysis and Research

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