Children in care will be able to access places and facilities in top private and boarding schools across the country.

More of the vulnerable youngsters will also benefit from mentoring, and sports and music facilities in a bid to improve their outcomes.

The scheme, backed by £500,000 will see 10 teams work across the country to identify opportunities in independent schools for young people in care, where it is suitable to meet their needs.

It will bring together schools, local authorities, virtual school heads and social workers to help find suitable places for the children.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi is expected to announce the programme in a speech at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference on Thursday.

Mr Zahawi said: “While standards in state schools continue to rise, I want independent schools and Directors of Children’s Services to play a greater role in helping raise outcomes for these vulnerable children.

“A number around the country are already making fantastic offers to children in care, but I want more to come forward and councils to take up the opportunities.

“I am clear that this cannot be put off any longer, and I will accept no less.

“This is now about providing resources to councils to identify and place children where it is right for them.”

Chairman of the Independent Schools Council, Barnaby Lenon, said: “The all-round education and pastoral care offered by independent schools can be transformational for a young person and many schools are already supporting vulnerable children.

“The independent education sector is committed to playing its part in our diverse national education system to help give more children the best start, regardless of background.

“We are working with the Government and, although there is a limit to what we can do, independent schools are providing life-changing bursaries and working ever-closer with our state school partners to unlock new educational opportunities.”

The announcement builds on a 10-year project run by the Boarding Schools Partnerships and Norfolk County Council, where young people who were either in care or at risk of going into care were taken off the council’s risk register after at least three years in a boarding school.

A higher proportion of looked-after children who were at boarding schools achieved A* to C grades in GCSE maths and English, compared to all looked-after children in 2016.