Term time tumult

6 September 2016

THE AUTUMN term has kicked off (although in Scotland children have been back at school for a while) so we look at what’s going on in the world of education and children in care with some useful posts and info both past and present.

For those new to the issues around educating children in care the recently formed National Association of Virtual School Heads provides a crash course with explanations and links to further information on pupil premium, the role of the designated teacher and what a good personal education plan should look like.

Meanwhile the Rees Centre for research in fostering and education reminded delegates at the International Foster Care Organisation conference in Sheffield earlier this month about their research on the educational outcomes of looked after children published last autumn. The centre pointed out that while children who have been in care tend to have worse educational outcomes than those who have have not, this did not mean that being in care automatically meant children did not achieve. Some cohorts who had been in consistent long term foster care tended to make good educational progress – significantly better than children in need or those who have come into care for less than 12 months.

The National Children’s Bureau urged prime minister Theresa May to make sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in schools. Good SRE was not just about encouraging young people to delay having sex and use contraception but helps them understand the difference between abusive and respectful behaviour, the NCB stressed. Parenting support website Family Lives admits that many people think SRE is compulsory but explains the minimum detail that schools are obliged to provide in terms of sex education and urges parents and carers to look at a school’s SRE policy for the full picture.

Blogger and foster carer Suddenly Mummy talks about how typical school behaviour management systems don’t work for many children as publicly displayed behaviour traffic light systems can serve to shame children that already have low self esteem and a view of themselves as useless. It also fails to take into account that many children have not reached the developmental ability to complete some of the tasks that they are being asked to do, she adds. The theme taken up by Solutions Focused coach Geoff James on his blog.

Inspired Foundations has some tips on reducing the anxiety of the return to school on their Facebook page while Lisa Cherry reminds us that many children will be returning to school after some traumatic weeks off and offers tips on calming anxious children. On a practical note Lynn Findlay talks through the online learning portals many children need to use to complete homework and reminds us that children as young as five will be taught the basics of computer programming. For those facing tougher days the NCB via Twitter reminds us about AntiBullyingPro and their advice and resources.

AND FINALLY Tory councillor and blogger Harry Phibbs goes out on a limb by exploring the issue of boarding schools for children in care, inspired to reignite previous discussion by an article in The Times about Eton style boarding schools for looked after children (TWiF 26 July). Boarding school could be “transformational” for some of these young people, he said.


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