The education of children in care is seen differently by teachers, caregivers in residential homes, and by the children themselves, and differences may be evident and highly significant with the impact that this entails. A pilot project aimed at improving the school-based learning of children in residential care was conducted within the framework of a European Project together with 5 Organizations working in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany and Spain. Program assessment included pre-post design and, on analysing pretest data, we established the objective of finding out more about the social inclusion in school of youth in residential care. More specifically, our goals were to evaluate: (a) peer relationships and acceptance; (b) the participation of youth in care in activities that most of their classmates do, and (c) to find out if youth in care like going to school and feel safe there. Three stakeholders were involved in these three objectives (N = 219): adolescents in residential care aged 12–17 years old and their teachers and caregivers. They were given a questionnaire with the same questions for data to be contrasted. Data matches could be analysed as each teacher and caregiver evaluated the situation of each youngster participating in the research. Findings showed how adolescents evaluated these school-related matters significantly more positively than their teachers, but differences were even more significant when compared to caregivers, who revealed a largely pessimistic outlook, with implications for consequent practices and policy-making. In addition, data matching showed little agreement between adult and adolescents’ responses. Not only does this assessment reveal how children in residential care experience school, but it may also provide insight into the social construction of the education of children in care and whether it is seen as a problem or, by contrast, as an opportunity.
This chapter is from the book Education in Out-of-Home Care