EPIC’s Education Project

One of the key issues raised by care-experienced children and young people is the role of education in their lives. For Care Day 2021, EPIC hosted a Webinar on Care and Education exploring the educational experiences of care-experienced young people, and the issues and challenges they faced. A key recommendation was the need for awareness raising and capacity building amongst teachers to enable them to understand and respond to the needs of care-experienced children in their classrooms.

In 2023, EPIC launched a national project focused on education and care which aims to:

  • raise awareness of the situation of care-experienced children and young people in schools.
  • highlight the potential for education to make a positive difference in the experiences of children in care.
  • build the capacity and knowledge of teachers to support children in care.
  • increase collaboration between professionals in the care and education sectors.

Get involved!

We are currently developing a School Toolkit informed by the experiences of children in care and young care leavers in collaboration with creative arts organisation, Kids’ Own.

EPIC’s School Toolkit will include information about the care system, insights into the experiences of care-experienced students, and guidance on best practice for supporting them in school. We want to hear from teachers, guidance counsellors and principals who are interested in piloting this resource in their classroom.

Make an Expression of Interest using this link, or contact Tara Madden, Education Project Manager, on taramadden@epiconline.ie or 0879036598.

Pilot Timeline

EPIC will send the Toolkit to interested schools in early 2024 and will provide briefings for staff  participating in the pilot. We hope for the Toolkit to be discussed, shared and used in the classroom, with feedback to EPIC expected by March 2024.

Useful Resources

Ireland

EPIC webinar about the educational experiences of people who are in or have been through the care system (2021)

Presentation by Dr Paul Downes at the EPIC Webinar

The Education of Children in Care in Ireland: an Exploratory Study (2013) – a report commissioned by the Ombudsman for Children

Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) journal Foster 5; Schools, partners in care, releasing potential (McCluskey, 2018)

Headphones, odd shoes and a second chance at life – An Exploration of the Experience of Children in Care & Care-leavers with Disabilities (EPIC, 2023)

National Children in the Care of the State and the Education System Working Group – a national policy and research Working Group to develop the education system in order to meet the needs of Children and Young People in Care

England

Children in need and Children in Care: Educational Attainment and progress (2020) – a report by the University of Bristol and the Rees Centre in the UK 

Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England: Linking Care and Educational Data (2015)

International

What is the relationship between being in care and the educational outcomes of children? An international systematic review (2015)

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