Today’s news review looks at coverage of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services' views on fostering agencies and the Good Schools Guide’s research into school sport.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), which represents councils, has claimed that large private fostering agencies are offering cash incentives to recruit foster carers from local authorities and charging the authorities to use their services.
The BBC carries a story on its website and the Today programme reported on the issue this morning.
On 4 July we published our children’s social care policy paper – Putting Children First – alongside Sir Martin Narey’s review of residential care. We set out our pledge to review and strengthen training for foster carers to ensure that they have the confidence and skills to best meet the needs of the children and young people in their care. We are also launching a national stocktake of fostering to better understand current provision.
In response to the ADCS, Edward Timpson, Education Minister, said:
As someone whose own family fostered for many years, I greatly value the vital contribution that foster carers make to children’s lives, and am committed to ensuring they receive the support they need. That’s why, following the recommendation made in the independent review by Sir Martin Narey, we are launching a national stocktake of fostering to better understand current provision – including looking at the role fostering agencies play.
Alongside this we have supported the testing of new and innovative models of foster care through the £200 million Children's Social Care Innovation Programme, including better ways to support foster carers.
The Good Schools Guide has published new research suggesting that one in four British athletes competing in the Rio Olympics were educated at private schools compared with 7% of the population as a whole.
The research found that more female than male competitors went to independent schools, and a higher number of those representing team sports went to boarding schools.
The story has been covered today by the Times.
The Government is committed to encouraging more children in state schools to develop a passion for sport and take part in sporting activities from an early age. This is working – as our latest research shows that primary schools are on average now delivering almost two hours of PE to pupils each week and 84% of schools reported an increase in pupil engagement in PE during curricular time.
PE and sport can help ensure that all young people realise their potential. That’s why we have given schools the flexibility to organise and deliver a diverse and challenging PE curriculum which best suits the needs of their students.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We are investing £160 million a year into making additional and sustainable improvements to school sport and this will be doubled next year to £320 million.
We are completely committed to encouraging pupils to develop a long-lasting love of sport and are improving the breath and quality of PE and sport provision in primary schools.