In 2006, St Andrew’s RC Secondary in Glasgow’s East End surpassed all expectations in their HMI Report. The school, located in one of the poorest areas of Scotland, ranked higher than leading private schools. This defied national statistics which showed that poverty negatively impacts young people’s performance. But looking closer this wasn’t the whole picture.
Glasgow, which has just 10% of the nation’s population, has 20% of Scotland’s care-experienced young people. Their outcomes, even at outstanding schools, fell far below average. Only 4% of St Andrew’s care-experienced young people stayed in school after age 16 and only 31% went onto a positive destination compared to 90% of their peers. Care-experienced young people are just as talented as any other – but when they have a difficult homelife it can deeply affect their relationship with school.
“I really didn’t want to be here, I just hated school. I tried my hardest to push everyone who tried to help me away from me. Just leave me alone, just let me do what I was going to do. I tried my hardest to get everybody off my back basically.” Jenny*, Knightswood
The 22-26 of October has been Care-Experienced Week and we’ve spent this time digging into stats and stories about young people who have experience with care. What we’ve seen – as in the case of St Andrew’s – is that we NEED to highlight the stories of these young people because so often their voices go unheard.
MCR was founded to help care-experienced young people and to close the gap of inequality. Through mentoring, young people can gain the confidence they need to succeed. To make real change, we need to understand issues, include the opinions of care-experienced people in decision making, share stories and celebrate success. But most importantly, we need to give care-experienced young people the opportunity to tell their stories.
Read on to see how we’ve used this week to do that.
“We could relate in a way. We didn’t have the exact same personal experience but it was similar, like a lot similar, and we both had issues when we were younger. I’m not a person to speak about my past to a lot of people who I don’t know, but I felt comfortable talking about it with someone who kind of shared the same experience.” Peter, Leaver