The CLA-friendly Approach for the Entire School
In this section, we will look at all the factors required to make a school 'CLA Friendly.' In compiling this, we looked not just at what the study says but also at the experiences of some of the most competent practitioners in the area. As a result, the ideas and proposals given are not just theories but real tactics that we know work in busy classrooms.
The pyramid graphic depicts the key building components for schools at three levels, which will be explored in three different sections:
- The entire educational system and practice - this section.
- Preventative measures: what should be done for each CLA.
- Responsive ways to assist CLAs who are facing additional problems.
Together, this will result in CLA-friendly schools. We value that you may not have all the different 'blocks' in place at this point, but we hope it provides you with a strategy to work towards creating many of these.
The Whole School CLA Friendly Approach
Training And Awareness for All Staff
A competent and talented staff team is at the core of any effective, caring, and supporting school. A school is only as good as the individuals who manage it. As a result, for a school to become a successful CLA school, all of its adults must get training appropriate for their degree of involvement with persons. To varying degrees, adults must be aware of some of the elements contained within this resource. This view is confirmed by most of the recent federal and national level instructions. For example, the NICE Guidance on Attachment (2015) recommends:
"....training seminars for teachers of all levels on:
- How attachment issues originate and manifest in children and young adults.
- How attachment disorders influence learning, schooling, and social development comprehending the effects of maltreatment, including trauma.
- How they can help children and adolescents who have attachment issues."
It is crucial to emphasize that this sort of training might also be beneficial in meeting the requirements of a diverse variety of vulnerable students, including Children in Need, post-adoption children, children from families whose parents have mental health or addiction issues, and pupils with ALN. Ideally, three levels of training should be offered in all schools:
Basic understanding of the needs of all CLA, the trauma they may have suffered, and how to properly manage vulnerable children and young people when they come into touch with them at school.
In-depth training for all instructors who have direct responsibility for CLA.
In-depth training for any senior leaders with CLA duties designated CLA teachers and support personnel who will be working closely with particular children and young people.
Support workers within the LA, such as your EP or LAC coordinator, would be pleased to advise and assist you with this.
The Designated Cla Teacher
The assigned teacher for CLA plays a critical role in ensuring a CLA's good wellness and joyful experiences as a learner in their school. Their job is multifaceted, with several critical roles. Among these are:
- Keeping accurate and thorough information regarding all children and young people in their school who are in care or adopted.
- When a new CLA arrives at the school, ensure a seamless and welcoming induction for the child and caregiver, noting any unique requirements, including care status.
- Ensuring that a Personal Education Plan (PEP) is completed as soon as practicable (at least within 10 days if/when a child is entering care on an emergency basis or 20 days if/when a child is entering care in a planned way).
- Maintaining an up-to-date PEP outlining how they will be supported at school.
- Serving as a CLA advocate in the school.
- Providing a key person who can advocate for the CLA and to whom they can go for support.
- Providing a safe place in school, such as a room where a child or young person can go if they are distressed.
- Attending CLA reviews and providing written information.
- Encouraging CLA to participate in extra-curricular activities and out-of-hours learning, where possible.
- Ensuring the timely transfer of information between persons and other relevant authorities, as well as to a new school, when and if CLA transfers.
- Seeking immediate talks with key stakeholders when a CLA is having difficulty and/or is in risk of being excluded.
- Having received specialist attachment training to help them understand and manage pupils competently.
- Knowing how to manage data protection and confidentiality.
- Maintaining an effective referral system with other agencies.
- Ensuring all staff at their setting receive relevant information and training.
- Acting as an advisor.
- Ensuring confidentiality for individual children and only sharing personal information on a 'need to know' basis.
School governing bodies are expected to play an active role in supporting their CLA. The following are some ideas about how to do this:
- Appointing a governor to work with the Designated Teacher for CLA to receive frequent progress updates and offer input to the governing body. (Names of particular children should not be included in these reports for child protection and confidentiality concerns.) This function is critical in advocating for CLA.
- Ensuring that all governors are fully informed of the legal duties and CLA Guidance.
- Ensuring that there is a designated Designated Teacher for CLA.
- Working with the Head Teacher to make sure that the Designated Teacher is competent to carry out her/his CLA obligations.
- Assisting the Head Teacher, Designated Teacher for CLA, and other staff in meeting the requirements of CLA.
- Reviewing the effectiveness of any CLA-related school policies on an annual and at least three-year basis.
School policy for looked after children: Governing boards, in collaboration with the headmaster, should develop the school's policy for looked after children and review its implementation on a regular basis. The policy must meet the following criteria:
- identify a member of staff to be responsible for enhancing the educational attainment of children cared for in the school - ensure that the chosen person receives necessary training
At the Very Least, the Policy Should Include:
- arrangements in place at the school for the admission of looked after children - individual or collective monitoring of attendance, assessment, and achievement data of looked after children in the school - catch-up arrangements when gaps in the child's knowledge and education are identified - encouragement of the child's participation in after-school clubs, the school council, or additional revision sessions
- plans to access a safe haven or school-based therapy if necessary - arrangements to ensure Personal Education Plans (PEPs) are completed and multi-agency review meetings may be attended
- the use of exclusion as a penalty, as well as alternatives to fixed-term exclusions (such as community service) or permanent exclusion (such as a managed move)
- procedures for when a child leaves the school as a consequence of a placement change or at a natural leaving point, including a reference to the policy and an identified designated person for looked after children in the school prospectus
The daily obstacles for any teacher or support assistant are significant, regardless of whether they work in a "dream" school with ideal, motivated, and able kids or a "failed" school with a large percentage of children who show severe behavioral issues. Positive employee wellness is widely recognized as a critical contributor to a school's success. Students are happier, more settled, less disruptive, and achieve greater achievements in schools where this is a focus and the emotional atmosphere is dynamic. Clearly, this must be one of the most critical building components for a CLA-friendly school. Factors that can aid with promotion include:
Tracking And Monitoring Systems
The significance of closely monitoring student performance and outcomes is widely established and documented. Therefore, the goal of measuring and monitoring CLA achievement at the school level is as follows:
- To offer an overview of progress and achievement over time.
- To influence planning as part of the PEP process.
- To correctly identify interventions required to improve resilience.
- To discover one's own strengths.
- Identifying any areas where growth is sluggish and allowing for early intervention.
- To facilitate discussion with learners to improve learning.
- To assist staff in reviewing their practice to support learners.
- To enable an analysis of CLA progress throughout the school and so advise actions and interventions that may be required at a strategic level.
The type of data that must be used for CLA is the same as for other pupils. Still, the distinction is that the whole picture must be determined, updated, and evaluated much more often to prioritize early action.
Effective Use of Pdg Lac And Other Sources of Additional Funding
The Welsh Government is dedicated to improving CLA results. To assist schools and local governments in attempting to attain this aim, money has been set aside, particularly for this purpose. The Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) is their primary mechanism of doing this. The grant's mechanism has changed from year to year, with funds going directly to LAs, schools, or, more recently, Education Consortiums. It was originally based on the number of children aged 4-15 years who were cared after as determined by Social Services SSDA data from the preceding year. However, allocations vary by area and have lately included CLA, adopted children, SGOs and CAOs (Child Arrangement Orders), and RO (Residency Orders).
This implies that schools have resources to devote to helping the CLA in their care, which will assist to fund many of the techniques and recognized examples of excellent practice advocated in this article. A CLA Friendly schools would ensure targeted and planned investment in strategic provision enhancement and individual CLA connected to agreed-upon PEP objectives. It is expected to include preventative interventions such as improving literacy and numeracy outcomes, fostering friendship development, enhancing well-being relationships, and encouraging participation in positive activities, as well as responsive interventions such as introducing a key adult.
The Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit is a resource that is now frequently utilized by schools when deciding how to serve disadvantaged pupils best, offering highly important information regarding what is (or isn't) the most effective and value for money.
Cla Friendly Approaches to Admission, Attendance, And Exclusions
All pupils should attend school on a regular and consistent basis. Minimal lengths of absence should only be permitted in true or extraordinary situations. However, the data for CLA suggests that this does not always applicable for reasons beyond their control. Therefore, all schools must implement CLA-friendly rules on timely admissions, attendance, and exclusions to address this.
Too frequently, CLA spend lengthy times following a placement change waiting for a new school to consent to their admission, which adds to the obstacles and problems a CLA has at a very painful time. This is in violation of existing standards since CLA and previously looked after children should be listed first in the oversubscription criterion for all schools when applications for admission exceed the school's admission number. According to the School Admissions and School Admissions Appeals Code (2013), it is critical that children who do not have a school place be provided one as soon as possible.
Once a CLA is assigned a seat, schools, particularly the Designated Teacher and the CLA governor, should implement procedures to ensure that the CLA is actively welcomed into the school.
The school must keep in mind that the youngster may have arrived following an extraordinarily distressing and traumatic incident. They may have left behind a strong network of close friends and teachers with whom they had solid ties. As a result, they will probably face disruptions in their schoolwork and opportunities at the secondary level.
Preparing for CLA in Schools - What Can Work in Schools?
- A school with a positive and caring ethos, welcoming children from the start.
- Someone in the school with responsibility for individual children, to make them feel special.
- A good pastoral team that works together.
- A school should know the key information about a child before they arrive at school/are prepared.
- A structured introduction to school.
- Foster carers must be permitted to help young children as they settle in - since this decreases separation anxiety.
The current Welsh advice indicates that, unless in the most challenging situations, schools should avoid excluding CLA as much as possible. If the exclusion is deemed a possibility, the Head Teacher must notify the LAC Education Coordinator for their LA as soon as possible so that everything necessary may be done to avoid exclusion. The LAC Education Coordinator will also ensure that the foster carer and social worker understand their roles and duties and where to go for assistance and support. The Coordinator may also be able to collaborate with the school, evaluate any additional evaluation, and provide assistance to help address the difficulties more positively and productively than exclusion. Finally, if exclusion is inevitable, they may quickly consider suitable actions.
Because high levels of attendance are critical, a CLA Friendly school will ensure that within any attendance rules and practices in place at school, CLA are a recognized vulnerable group, with an emphasis on an early and prompt reaction to address any reduction in attendance.