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6.2.26 Adoption Education Policy

AMENDMENT

In August 2016, a new Section 5, The Virtual Head was added.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. School Admissions
  3. Adoptive Parents
  4. The Education Manager for CIOC
  5. The Virtual Head
  6. Post-Adoption

    Appendix 1: What behaviours can result from attachment issues and what might you do?


1. Introduction

Adoption is a way for children who cannot live with their birth parents or other members of their extended family to become part of another family. It is a legal process and a lifelong commitment.

Children who have been adopted have experienced loss, loss of their birth family, possibly loss of one or more foster carers and loss of friends. Early childhood experiences can impact on the ability of the child to learn and form relationships with their peers and adults.

Many children are unable to trust adults as they will feel that they have been let down by those who had looked after them in the past. Education staff in schools, working in partnership with adoptive parents, play a vital role in helping children emotionally, socially and educationally.

The Local Authority’s Children’s Services Department takes the lead in planning and providing for the needs of children in our care being placed for adoption.

Children in our care placed for adoption have a right to expect the same outcomes we all want for our children – they should be able to take care of their own health and expect that adults will support them in this. They should have access to leisure and educational facilities that enable them to pursue their interests and have their educational needs met. Our ambitions for adopted children are the same as for our own or any other child and we are committed to providing the additional support our young people will require to achieve. Our aim is also for adopted children to be able to be active and positive members of their communities and be able to ensure that they are able to provide for themselves and their own families in the future. In order to ensure that we achieve these ambitions, the local authority as ‘corporate parents’ will demonstrate the strongest commitment to helping every child they look after, wherever the child is placed, to achieve the highest educational standards he or she possibly can.

The Adoption Team has a part to play in providing support. Their activity is co-ordinated through the Children in our Care planning processes and the approach taken, is that of a team effort. When a child is matched and placed for adoption it is the duty of the local authority to safeguard and promote his or her welfare. This means that alongside planning secure and reliable care and responding to the child’s need to be well and healthy, the local authority have a specific responsibility to support his or her educational achievement. Ensuring that a child is placed with parents that demonstrate a high commitment to supporting their education. 


2. School Admissions

In relation to school admissions the local authority will actively support CIOC placed for adoption, wherever they are placed by:

  • Finding, as soon as possible, a suitable full-time school place (or supporting carers to do so);
  • Ensuring, where they are the admissions authority, that CIOC are given top priority in over subscribed criteria as recommended by the School Admissions Code of Practice;
  • Appealing against any adverse admissions decision, where appropriate;
  • Challenging any admission authority which they believe is not giving top priority to CIOC placed out of area.


3. Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents have the day-to-day responsibility for children and young people placed in their care and act as their primary carers. They play an essential role in ensuring and supporting the education of children living with them.

Schools and adoptive parents should aim to develop strong, positive and direct links as effective exchange of information about matters relating to pupils’ education and well-being is essential and schools and adoptive parents should know who to contact in case of emergency.

Children living in an adoption placement often have a complex array of difficulties that impact upon every aspect of their lives including school life and their ability to learn. It is important that schools understand what specific aspects of life are likely to impact on time in school so that the child can be appropriately supported.

Issues that should be discussed with school at time of admission

  • Understanding behaviours that children may exhibit in relation to attachment issues. Children with a secure attachment will respond positively to other children, have good social skills, high levels of self-esteem, cope with setbacks and have independence skills. Where a parent has not developed this attachment the child may exhibit difficulties in a number of ways, he/she may be over-anxious to please, desperate to do anything to escape rejection. They may withdraw unable to relate to either peers or adults. Their chaotic feelings could develop into chaotic behaviour. See Appendix 1: What behaviours can result from attachment issues and what might you do?
  • Curriculum issues i.e. family trees/personal biography, children may not have information or may not wish to write about it. Asking children to bring in baby photos may trigger distress. During sex education the child may have suffered Sexual Abuse in his/her early life and demonstrate an unusual awareness and make inappropriate comments. At PE/Games time a child who has been abused may be uncomfortable when required to remove clothing. Times of celebration may be difficult times for adopted children, birthdays may remind the child of their circumstances, requiring to make a Mother’s day or Father’s day card can be very traumatic for the child;
  • Make sure that the child feels wanted by the school that he/she feels listened to and school liaise fully with parents/carers and be consistent with strategies used in dealing with certain behaviours. Discuss unstructured time which may be difficult to begin with;
  • Putting strategies in place to deal with the child if he/she displays challenging behaviour. Look at trigger points, developing an individual support programme and ensuring that school staff are aware of attachment issues. See Appendix 1: What behaviours can result from attachment issues and what might you do?
  • Always remember the child’s situation is confidential and any discussions between school and adoptive parents are held in private.

Adoptive parents should know who the Designated Teacher in the school of the child/ren is and should ensure that they have made themselves known to the school.

Adoptive parents should also provide the following:

Support:

  • Attending Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings;
  • Ensure adopters are aware of the child’s entitlement to pupil premium and support them in accessing this;
  • Making arrangements to ensure that child is able to complete homework in suitable surroundings and with access to appropriate equipment;
  • Ensuring that each child has the relevant equipment and uniform to participate fully in school life;
  • Encouraging participation in out of school activities and interest;
  • Provide support to achieve regular attendance at school;
  • Celebrate educational success on a regular basis;
  • Attend school functions, e.g. parents’ evenings, concerts etc.;
  • Assist with reading, homework, project and advise the school of any difficulties in this area;
  • Recognise that young people in care may already be disadvantaged and that extra effort may be required to enable them to learn and participate in school;
  • Support the school in planning and carrying out strategies to achieve and maintain positive emotional adjustment;
  • Have high expectations for each child as they would for their own children.

Information:

  • Meet with the schools and Designated Teacher to exchange information;
  • Ensure that information about the child’s daily educational progress is passed on to the social worker;
  • Responding to letters and requests from school immediately;
  • Keeping the child’s class/form/Designated Teacher informed immediately of events in the child’s home life, which may impact on educational progress;
  • Advise the school of absences and the reasons for those absences.

Decision-making:

  • Attend planning meetings, review meetings and educational meetings and contribute to the development of the plan for the child/young person;
  • Act as an advocate for the child/young person on matters such as change of school placement, implications of travel, exclusions.

Records

  • Ensure that the following information is kept and updated on a regular basis:
    • Personal Education Plan (PEP);
    • School timetable;
    • School reports;
    • Record of attendance;
    • Timetable of holidays;
    • Homework timetable and expectations;
    • Special Education Needs where identified, with current and previous individual education plans (and copy of EHCP if applicable);
    • Pastoral Support Plan (where appropriate);
    • Parents evenings and extra curricular activities;
    • Links with other agencies.
  • Take relevant information to all reviews concerning the child/young person’s education.


4. The Education Manager for CIOC

Blackburn with Darwen Council employs an education manager for children in care. The role of this person is as follows:

  • Support the adoptive parents with specific difficulties relating to education that cannot be resolved through the usual channels;
  • Provide liaison with education departments outside of the Borough as and when appropriate.


5. The Virtual Head

  • The Virtual Head is in place and meets regularly with the education manager for children in our care and works closely with schools to resolve issues and ensure that the school improvement plan for CioC is implemented;
  • Governing body in place, chaired by the Assistant Executive member for Children’s Services and includes CANW, Head of the PRU, and the manager from the CIOC team in its membership;
  • Governing Body meets termly.


6. Post-Adoption

The Adoption Support Team will continue to offer support to children placed for adoption in other areas and to children placed with Blackburn with Darwen adopters by:

  • Offering advice and support in ensuring all adopted children access pupil premium;
  • Support adopters in ensuring that the pupil premium money is spent appropriately;
  • Support adopters in enabling their child to access an appropriate school and advocating on their behalf to ensure adopted children are given top priority in securing a school place.


Appendix 1: What behaviours can result from attachment issues and what might you do?

Click here to view Appendix 1: Attachment Behaviour Table
(Make school a place of Playfulness Acceptance Curiosity Empathy
 (Dan Hughes, 2002)).

End