Department of Education

Research projects

Linking care and educational data: the educational progress of looked after children in England

First major study in the UK to explore the relationship between educational outcomes, young people’s care histories and individual characteristics by linking the National Pupil Database (NPD) and the Children Looked After Database in England, for all pupils eligible to take their GCSEs (examinations at age 16 years) in 2013.

The main analysis concentrated on the progress at secondary school (Key Stages 2-4) of those who had been in care for over a year. These pupils were compared with children in need (receiving social work support while living at home) and pupils not in need or in care. Detailed statistical analysis was undertaken including multiple regression, multi-level modelling and path analysis. This was complemented by interviews with 26 young people, 18 of their carers, 20 designated teachers, 17 social workers and six Virtual School Headteachers.

Research Team: This was a joint research project between the University of Bristol and the Rees Centre.Professor Judy Sebba, Professor David Berridge, Professor Steve Strand, Professor Sally Thomas, Dr Nikki Luke, Dr John Fletcher, Dr Karen Bell, Professor Ian Sinclair, Dr Aoife O’Higgins.


  • Key Findings

  • Overview Report

  • Technical Reports

  • Additional Resources

Research Team

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