Campaign with us for an equal chance
Not all children have an equal start in life. But all children deserve an equal chance at school. For tens of thousands of adopted children in the UK, the reality of school is a daily struggle for survival. Many are failing academically as a result.
Our new report Bridging the Gap describes a school environment that is failing children and teachers and is affecting schools’ performance in league tables. It identifies significant gaps in understanding, empathy and resources that are preventing adopted children from having an equal chance to succeed at school.

To read (and download) our full report click here
To inform the report, Adoption UK conducted a survey of emotional wellbeing at school. Almost 4,000 adoptive parents and children responded.
  • 79 per cent of children who responded feel routinely ‘confused and worried at school’;
  • Almost 70 percent of parents who responded feel their child’s progress in learning is affected by problems with their emotional wellbeing in school;
  • Almost three quarters of young respondents agreed: “Other children seem to enjoy school more than me”;
  • Two thirds of secondary age children who responded said they felt bullied at school for being adopted;
  • Three quarters of young respondents said they did not feel their teachers understand how to support them.
Earlier Adoption UK research has shown that adopted children are 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their classmates, and they are much more likely to leave school with no qualifications.
This would be worrying enough if we were just talking about adopted children. But nearly half of all children in the UK have had traumatic experiences, and are facing some of the same challenges as adopted children.
The report’s author, Becky White, a former teacher, said: “Children who have had 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. The reality is that in the current school environment, many adopted children are barely surviving, let alone thriving. The root of the problem is an education system that prizes exam results at the expense of wellbeing. Many teachers have told us that they are less able to build proper relationships with their pupils, and their most vulnerable students are dramatically falling behind. It will take leadership from governments and schools to turn this around.”
This has to change. With your help, it can.
Adoption UK is calling on UK governments to re-think the way we are educating our most vulnerable children and to address the shortfall in vital support needed in schools. In practical terms, that means 3 main things:
A specialist programme of continuing professional development to equip all educators to support traumatised children; more emphasis on emotional and social skills; and ensuring that all children can access the same level of specialist support in school no matter where they live in the UK.
The most powerful part of our campaign is adoptive families. Your experience, your knowledge, your voices.
Over the coming months we will be inviting you to take part in new surveys, to join us at campaign events, and to take action with us. 
There are a few things you can do right away.
You don’t need to wait for us to contact you - please get in touch any time. Tell us what you know, what you need. We’ll help you make the campaign your own. Email us at: [email protected] 


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