MORE than 250 Isle of Wight children are in the care system, figures show.

Department for Education data shows 270 children were in care on the Isle of Wight in March – the equivalent of 109 in every 10,000 young people in the area.

That was far higher than the rate across England, where 67 in 10,000 youngsters were in care on average.

On the Isle of Wight, the rate of 'looked after' children rose slightly from 106 in March 2020 and was up from 98 in 2019, before the pandemic.

During the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of children being looked after by councils across England hit a record high, as adoption processes slowed down and children spent longer in care.

Children's charity Barnardo's said the pandemic left many vulnerable children on the brink of crisis, with lockdowns and school closures meaning they often missed out on support.

Of those being cared for on the Island, data shows the largest proportion were aged ten to 15 years old.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson told the County Press: “While the rate of children in care on the Isle of Wight is higher than the national average, when compared to the local authorities that are ‘most similar’ such as Torbay and Blackpool, the Island’s rate is lower.

“What is most important is ensuring that we take the right children into care at the right time.

"A recent Ofsted focused visit offered assurance that ‘the local authority has continued to prioritise and respond swiftly to concerns about children'."