It is hard when teachers don’t know their children in care. When there is a lack of communication between children’s social care and school, schools don’t get adequate information or support. When behaviour management is not attachment aware and trauma informed, we can punish ‘challenging behaviour’ rather than see the messages being communicated to us. This approach does not solve the issue for the child or the system but simply moves it elsewhere to be dealt with later, if at all. Virtual Schools become overwhelmed with avoidable exclusions, while young people are unheard and not educated. Head teachers are frustrated, teachers are under pressure and young people are rejected and unsupported. Every child deserves access to education and to learn in an environment that understands and supports them.
School is a crucial part of our development and upbringing, a place where we learn who we are, how to build relationships and discover who we want to become.
We understand that this experience for a child in care can be very different, often having to deal with the emotional impact of the circumstances that brought them into care; the demands of social care, such as attending meetings; seeing parents and trying to maintain and manage the expectations of school.
We recognise that teachers may not know much about their children in care. Their training may not have explained trauma and attachment, and this leaves them without the knowledge to make sense of the messages children’s behaviour communicates and so only able to see behaviour as ‘challenging’. This leaves too many teachers without the understanding to provide the effective support they want to provide for children.
We see Virtual Schools across the country dealing with avoidable exclusions and in tricky negations with schools to try and get the best support for children in care.
When school and social care don’t communicate effectively, schools can often follow a behaviour management policy that is inappropriate, punishing a child for circumstances outside their control. These issues are common, leading to unfair treatment of children in care and can be easily avoided.
This session unpicks the competing demands on a child who is in care and in school. We look at the timetable of commitments from each and how they can clash, often leading to unfair punishment for children in care.
We give you an insight into what school is like for children in care; how to respond to young people dealing with trauma and how to ensure young people learn in environments that support and understand them.
- How coming into care and being in care affects children’s experience in school
- The impact of unmet attachment needs and trauma on children and adults
- The competing pressures of care, social care, ‘home’ and education on young people in care
- What works and what doesn’t in direct work with young people in care
- What schools can do to make school a safe place for children in care
- How being attachment and trauma aware helps learning and behaviour
- The difference that schools can make