All children, regardless of their background, deserve an equal chance at school. Yet, here in the UK, tens of thousands of adopted children are struggling at school and are failing academically as a result.
Amazing charity Adoption UK has recently published its report, Bridging the Gap, which explains that the current school system is failing both children and teachers, and is impacting schools’ league table performance.
The report makes the point that adopted children do not have an equal chance to succeed at school, with gaps in understanding, empathy and resources to blame.
Here are some of the key findings:
- 79% of children feel frequently ‘confused and worried at school
- Nearly 70% of parents feel a child’s learning progress is hampered by issues with their emotional well-being
- Nearly three quarters of children agreed with the statement: ‘Other children seem to enjoy school more than me’
- Two thirds of children feel they are bullied at school because they are adopted
- Three quarters of children feel their teachers do not know how to support them
Previous research from Adoption UK found that adopted children are 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded from a school than children who aren’t adopted. They are also more likely to leave school having gained no qualifications.
Concerningly, among all children in education, almost half reported they have suffered traumatic experiences, and many are dealing with the same issues as adopted children.
Becky White, the report’s author, commented: “Children who have a traumatic start in life will be at a disadvantage at school, and they deserve an education that gives them an equal chance of success.”
White believes the root cause of the problem is an education system that “prizes exam results at the expense of wellbeing.” Numerous teachers told the charity that they don’t feel like they are able to build meaningful relationships with children, and that their most vulnerable students are falling behind significantly.”
“It will take leadership from governments and schools to turn this around,” White concluded.
As Adoption UK rightly states, it’s time to make a change. As such, it’s calling on the government to rethink the way it educates our society’s most vulnerable children, and to effectively deal with the shortfall in crucial support needed in schools.
The charity proposes three key measures: a specialist programme of continuing professional development to equip all educators to support traumatised children; greater focus on emotional and social skills; and making sure all children have access to the same level of support in school, regardless of where they live.
The charity is calling on adoptive families in particular to share their experiences, knowledge and opinions. Over the following months, they will be invited to take part in surveys, campaigns and event and take action.