Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Looked after children – reflections on recent training, the school role and useful links

Educational and other outcomes for looked after children are depressingly poor. While some thrive, all too many are let down by society. Last week I gave two courses on the role of the school and the designated teacher in supporting looked after children and ways to support LAC effectively, and one for carers and residential workers on the school role and how they can help children’s learning at home. All were for NSM, a training organisation I always enjoy working with.

I was immensely impressed with the dedication of everyone on all the courses – their determination to improve the well-being and educational attainment of the children and young people in their care was inspiring. There was a huge amount of good practice shared. One of the issues that came out loud and clear was the vital importance of good two-way communication, both formal and informal between school and carers, and not just at times of crisis. Aspiration was another common cause. Carers and schools must show LAC that they believe in them and have high aspirations for them, and need to put strategies in place to help LAC develop self-esteem and high aspirations for themselves. No two looked after children are the same, and all deserve individualised support. Sadly, there is still a stigma to the LAC label, so great sensitivity is crucial.

Below are some websites and reports I have found particularly useful.

I am very much looking forward to delivering more training on looked after children in the summer term. It’s a topic I feel very passionate about.

All You Need to Know: A Guide to the Education of Looked After Children
Barnado’s
Care Leavers’ Foundation
CELCIS
Coram BAAF
Coram Voice
Educational Progress of Looked After Children
Fostering Network
Improving the Attainment of Looked After Children in Primary Schools
Improving the Attainment of Looked After Children in Secondary Schools
Looked After and Learning: Improving the Learning Journey for Looked After Children
Looked After Children
Looked After Children and Adoption
NSPCC Children in Care
Promoting the Education of Looked After Children
Rees Centre
Who Cares Trust
Young Minds

Those interested specifically in issues relating to looked after children’s reading, may also like to see this peer-reviewed article I wrote.