Fri, 22 Sep 2023

The Department of Health has today published the 'Children in Care in Northern Ireland 2021-22 Statistical Bulletin'. This bulletin presents information on children and young people who had been looked after continuously for at least 12 months at 30 September 2022. It details information on their placement and placement changes, health assessments and disability, Special Educational Needs, school attendance and GCSE educational achievements of these young people.

Some children in care will excel educationally, however in general, children in care in Northern Ireland continue to underperform compared to the general school population. Although there are many issues that can influence a child's schooling, it is worth noting that a substantially higher proportion of children in care have special educational needs which may affect the educational attainment gap between them and the general school population.

  • at 30 September 2022, 2,867 children and young people had been in care continuously for 12 months or longer;
  • of these, just over one sixth (16%) had experienced a placement change during the previous 12 months, which is similar to the previous two years;
  • having a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) continues to be more prevalent among the children in care of school age (27%) compared with the general school population (6%);
  • some 4% of school aged children and young people had full attendance through the 2021/22 school year, while 19% missed 25 or more school days for any reason (authorised or unauthorised absence); and
  • some 92% of young people in care for twelve months or longer and who were in Year 12 attained five or more GCSE at grades A* to G. Although not directly comparable, 97% of the general school leaver population (Year 12 - Year 14) attained five or more GCSE at grades A* to G. The equivalent figures for those achieving five GCSE at grades A* to C were 78% and 92% respectively.

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