Providing Assistance to Previously Looked After Children

Adoption UK has reported that adopted children believe their teachers do not completely understand their requirements. They may feel confused and concerned at school, with 47% of primary-aged children and two-thirds of secondary-aged children suffering bullying because they are adopted.

Because of these findings, Adoption UK is pushing for a new continuous professional development program to assist teachers in supporting these pupils and has advised that schools choose a designated governor or trustee to take responsibility.

Previously looked after and adopted children are now included in the legislative advice for Designated Teachers and Virtual Schools (released February 2018), which Achievement for All applauds.

It is obvious that even when a child is put in a loving, stable, therapeutic home, a change in care status does not immediately remove the impact of earlier trauma, neglect, and/or unmet attachment requirements. Moreover, we know that trauma occurs in the womb and that its long-term repercussions may be considerable, influencing a child's development and path into adulthood.

Adoptive parents are more equipped and helped to manage this, but all too frequently, schools are unprepared and may not even be aware that they have adopted or previously cared for children on roll. According to research, 28% of children in adoptive homes face substantial social, emotional, and mental health challenges and 50% require educational psychology intervention.

What Has to Be Done?

Schools must be aware of the need to ask adoptive parents or special guardians to make the child's status in their care known so that Pupil Premium Plus funds may be obtained and utilized to improve results for that kid.

Adoptive parents and special guardians must take advantage of the educational assistance and guidance that is now accessible to them through the Designated Teacher and Virtual School. Schools must understand how to make the best use of Pupil Premium Plus funding and specialist support to promote a whole school culture in which the personalised learning needs of looked after and previously looked after children (including their personal, emotional, and academic needs) are prioritized in order to improve wellbeing and attainment.

The well-being and mental health of previously looked after children must also be considered. Schools must be supported to recognize and respond to the fact that children may have difficulty trusting adults and others around them due to circumstances before being adopted or permanently placed. This might make it challenging for them to develop relationships with peers and manage with transition and change.

SEND, such as speech and language challenges, learning delays, and sensory processing disorder, is more common in this cohort. The capacity to self-regulate and control emotion can negatively influence mental health and wellbeing. A lack of developed executive functioning abilities typically means that a kid who has suffered trauma finds it challenging to engage with school routines and expectations and falls foul of behavior standards that aren't sufficiently flexible to adapt effectively to individual needs.

The recent findings from Adoption UK are troubling, and I agree that additional teacher training in this area is required. Achievement for All helps and encourages educational institutions to identify gaps in their competence and provision for learners who are susceptible to disadvantage through our core and specialised coaching programs. We implement practices that assist to remove obstacles to accomplishment and work more effectively in collaboration with parents, caregivers, Virtual Schools, and other organizations to level the playing field for children and young people who need our collective attention and support the most.