THE FCs WE SPOKE TO, TOLD US ABOUT SOME VERY POSITIVE EXPERIENCES THEY HAD HAD WITH SCHOOLS, PARTICULARLY PRIMARY SCHOOLS. THEY WERE PLEASED WITH THE EXTRA SUPPORT AND HELP CHILDREN HAD BEEN GIVEN AND FELT SOME SCHOOLS WERE VERY CARING.
Aspects that help CLA to be happy at school:
Children are in school most of the day. If an adult is negative towards them they have to cope with it for a long time.
When teachers try and understand the child
They are effectively using the ‘my life’ glasses.
Children being given responsibilities
Having a job and feeling important e.g. turning on the computer / helper of the day.
Treating CLA equally
Let them blend in but also individualise when necessary.
Recognition that every one is different
Not thinking all CLA are the same so, for example, reward systems that are tailored to individual.
Liaison with the FC before certain activities
So you can agree how to manage it e.g. Family Tree work – may be better if child is able to do two trees – one for the foster care family and one for birth family.
Be sensitive to some events
E.g. Mothers day / Christmas. Work in partnership with the FC in thinking how to manage it. If special things are being made e.g. a Christmas card then allow them to make two if necessary.
Allow the children to share their life stories if they want to
Be aware that this might need to be managed sensitively.
Decide with the FCs what they are to be called and use this with the child
Use Home School books to communicate
But ensure positive comments as well as other things.
Meet with the FC briefly before and after school as much as possible
Especially at difficult times.
Welcome the FC into the school for different events
E.g. Fayres / Concerts / Sports days.
Involving FCs in meetings and reviews
Recognising the importance of relationships with others
Help for the child in learning how to make and sustain friendships.
Areas where schools could do better:
This resource is based on Children looked after friendly schools, which was commissioned jointly by Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf local authorities utilising PDG LAC funding. The content was developed by Andrea Higgins, Academic Director and Programme Coordinator in Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, working closely with Hannah Bevan and Jess Jones, LAC Education Coordinators from Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil.