A group of charities is calling on the government to amend the guidance on teaching practice in England so it better reflects the needs of children who have spent time in the care system.

Nearly two-thirds of care experienced children have suffered neglect and/or abuse while living with their birth family.

In a letter to Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP, Adoption UK’s chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown recommends changes to the Teachers’ Standards which guide the design and delivery of initial teacher training and continuing professional development. The letter has a dozen signatures from leading support and advocacy organisations including NSPCC and Young Minds.

The signatories are calling for care-experienced children to be recognised as a cohort with specific needs alongside existing groups, such as those with disabilities and those for whom English is not their first language. The second proposed amendment would see reasonable adjustments made to behaviour policies to accommodate the needs of traumatised children.

The proposed amendments are intended to trigger improvements in teaching practice, delivering a major step forward in addressing the disparity in well-being and attainment currently facing traumatised children.

Dr Armstrong Brown said: “If vulnerable children are to have an equal chance in school, it is essential that teachers have an understanding of how trauma can impact upon an individual’s capacity to learn and regulate their behaviour. We urgently need the Teachers’ Standards to be revised to reflect children’s need to feel safe before they can start to learn.”

Adoption UK research from 2018 revealed that around three-quarters of secondary-aged adopted children feel that their teachers do not fully understand and support their needs. While research from Become – the organisation for looked after children and care leavers – found that 87 per cent of teachers received no training about looked-after children before they qualified as a teacher.

Children who have spent time in the care system are more likely to have special educational needs, be excluded from school and leave without any qualifications.

You can read the letter here.