Like all children and young people, CLA have some strong views about how they can be better supported at school. It is very important that these are listened to with respect, as what they have to say is highly informative in helping professionals to be more successful in ensuring they achieve good outcomes and are happy and settled at school.
Here are some of their messages:
When asked: “How do other people see a looked after young person?”
When asked: “What is difficult about being a CLA?”
A CLA replied:
When asked: “What is difficult about school?”
Looked after children may live further away than other children from the school or may travel to school by taxi. This can make them feel different from others and isolate them, restricting their access to after school activities.
Having to travel further to get to school or having to go by taxi can isolate CLA and restrict their access to after school activities. Here are some of the things that children have said about this:
There is a difference between how primary school children and secondary school young people feel on the subject of teachers knowing their circumstances.
In primary schools most children felt all teachers should know about the child’s background and know that they are CLA.
In secondary school, young people feel that only a few trusted teachers should know detailed information about their circumstances.
In secondary school there should be one or two key teachers (or the head of year). This person should be available when the CLA needs to talk. They should also check in regularly with the CLA to see if they are OK.
It is very important to children looked after that they are seen as just the same as children who aren’t fostered. It is important for school staff to treat children looked after the same as other pupils and to treat children and young people fairly.
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.