THE achievements of Reading’s Looked After Children were celebrated at a special event hosted by Reading Borough Council’s Virtual School for Looked After Children.
Sixty-five Looked After Children attended the all-day Celebration of Achievement Awards at The Avenue School in Tilehurst on Tuesday 25th October.
Children and young people were recognised for their achievements at school and their commitment to a range of activities including sports and dance.
Social workers were invited to nominate children they work with for awards at the annual event.
Reading’s Deputy Mayor Councillor Rose Williams presented the awards and certificates to children during the Junior Celebration in the morning, which included entertainment from Colin the Magician.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, presented the awards in the Senior Celebration in the afternoon after a lunch for all the children, young people and their guests.
Certificates were presented for achievements including excellent school attendance, improved performance at school, behaviour, sporting success and making positive contributions in the community.
Outstanding Achievement awards were also presented for those achieving top GCSE grades and transitioning to Post-16 courses, progressing in all areas of life, achieving the National Citizenship Service Award and contributions to the Children in Care Council ‘Your Destiny Your Choice’ which gives a voice to young people in care.
Sixteen-year-old Leon Lenga-Kroma received an Outstanding Achievement award for his success in several dance competitions and then gave a spectacular performance.
Councillor Tony Jones said:
“It was wonderful to hear about the fantastic achievements of so many young people at our Looked After Children celebration.
“These children have managed to achieve so much, often in difficult circumstances, and it is a credit to them, to our social care workers and our foster carers that they are developing so well.
“It was a joy to hear so many heart-warming stories and I would like to congratulate everybody involved in the day.”
The event also marked National Care Leavers Week which highlights the needs of care leavers and raises awareness of the challenges young people in care face as they enter adult life.
The audience heard how six of Reading’s care leavers are currently at university and how two had recently graduated, with one individual going on to start a Master’s Degree.
The council adopted the Reading Charter for Care Leavers, which is part of the Corporate Parenting Strategy, in July.
It contains pledges to listen to care leavers, respect who they are, provide the information they need, support them, help them find a new home and to be their life-long champion.
Cllr Jones said:
“The path into adult life can be a challenging one for all young people but it can be even more so for those who have been in care.
“The Reading Charter for Care Leavers commits the council to supporting our young people through the transition to adulthood and independence.
“This will involve all areas of the authority working together to help our young people into housing, to receive any adult care required and to progress into further or higher education and training.”