The NCER Children Looked After Analysis Service provides powerful reporting and insight into educational performance, progress and contextual factors of children whilst in care, across LA boundaries alongside national context. It was launched in 2017 to help local authorities improve educational outcomes for vulnerable children.

All member authorities have access to the NCER Children Looked After (CLA) Analysis Service within NCER Nexus as part of the core service provided to the NCER membership.

Benefits of the NCER Children Looked After (CLA) Analysis Service:

  • Early access to CLA analysis months ahead of national publications
  • Ability to tailor reports using education and CLA pupil group filters and aggregations
  • Ability to run reports with additional contextual filters such as special educational needs, disadvantaged or minority ethnic pupils
  • Regional and NCER National comparators for CLA pupil cohorts
  • Complex data translated into visualisations that are easy to engage with by different stakeholders

Purpose & Aims

The NCER Children Looked After Analysis Service is a national evidence-based system for analysing Children Looked After cohorts and educational outcomes providing data to local authorities at the earliest opportunity.

Virtual School Heads tell us that they value this data service because of its contribution to developing a better holistic understanding of the attainment and progress of children in care and the key vulnerabilities which they are committed to addressing in partnership with all those who work to enable them to achieve their potential.

Children Looked After reports and analysis in NCER Nexus are enhanced with clear graphics and data translations. Flexible multi-filter options enable the production of unique combinations of analysis, all alongside regional and NCER national benchmark data.

NCER Children Looked After Analysis can be used in management reporting and as evidence for inspections such as for Ofsted. NCER CLA analysis comes out ahead of national CLA publications and can be used throughout the year to provide the most up to date data for local authorities and Virtual School Heads.

NCER work in partnership with the National Association of Virtual School Heads to develop the NCER CLA Analysis Service for the needs of Virtual School Head and local authorities.

The NCER CLA Analysis Service has received favourable publicity in The Guardian and Children and Young People Now.


  • The NCER dataset and toolkit has helped us to understand the specific context of CLA outcomes in this LA through monitoring much more robustly what is actually happening. This has informed important decisions about priorities in allocation of scarce resources.

    Analysis of our results compared to national data, identified three problems: poor performance of CLA with special educational needs and disabilities, high scores (which are indicators of high levels of behaviour problems) on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (data collected nationally) correlating with poor outcomes, and too many CLA leaving school without qualifications.

    We targeted better support in each of these areas and have been able to, through the use the NCER toolkit, monitor the following: An increase in CLA who gain any qualification though cannot claim causation due to small cohorts.

    The capture and sharing of best practice where schools are achieving good outcomes for children with concerning SDQ scores and an improvement in our children identified as having SEND support and can see that this cohort are now making better progress than non-looked after children in Suffolk schools and settings.

    Matthew Cooke, Virtual School Head, Suffolk County Council