School, a game of luck!

Published September 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Im feeling really quite sad and fed up lately and its all to do with school. Not the girls new school, they seem to be settling in really well, it is still early days though so Im not going to get too gushy about what a great time they’re having. No, whats really bothering me is the amount of facebook and twitter comments, moans, rants and even blogs I’m reading from adopters who are struggling with school. It really frustrates me that so many children are struggling and suffering because most schools just don’t ‘get it’.

Now I know that there isn’t really much specific attachment training available for teaching staff and I appreciate that schools have budgets and when deciding whether to spend money on training geared towards one child, or training geared towards all the children, then the majority win. However, what schools also seem to forget is that ‘attachment’ based teaching would benefit ALL of the children, not just the traumatised child in the class thats causing problems. But even without specialist training, why aren’t teachers listening to adopters, why am I reading frustrated comments about adopters feeling defeated, head teachers not listening, class teachers being dismissive, traumatised kids being re-traumatised by being excluded, punished, shamed and ostracised.

Poor Robbie, he must feel terribly ashamed.

Poor Robbie, he must feel terribly ashamed.

Just a few examples:
A boy, refused to come in from the playground at playtime, and became aggressive when they tried to force him. He was excluded for a week. No consideration given that this little scared boy was worried that no one was going to collect him from school because the pick up arrangements that day had changed. Change is a big thing for adopted children, change = bad in their minds.

A child arrives in class to discover the seating had all been changed. Asked the teacher why, and was told ‘because I can’. Child has melt down and is sat outside head teachers office to sit in shame and read the school rules manual.

Child complains of feeling sick, school ring parents. Parent explains its just anxiety due to the test that day, school demand the child is collected, parent misses day at work to sit with child during test. This child had his own TA.

What a naughty boy!

What a naughty boy!


And the comments I’m reading over and over:
School has been the one huge headache in our adoption and parenting journey.

Bloody schools when will they learn that just because they present as ok in school there are no issues.

I have tried to tell them, but all they see is someone who copes at school.

Told my child was fine, treated like a paranoid Mother.

We had this with school too, and even though we secured funding for extra support in school for a term, school refused it and told us it was us.

Even if they can’t see it at school some compassion wouldn’t go amiss, but they clearly see us as the enemy.

They’ve called him a model pupil. Except he often comes home wet, having not told anyone that he’s wet himself for fear of being told off.

She may smile and say she’s fine, but she’s been up all night peeing on my bedroom floor and in my wardrobe because you gave her the wrong spelling test.

Talked to them about regulation and stress and certain flash points, but they kept saying we don’t see this at school, My hubby asked the HT what she had found useful about Louise Bomber book and it was quite clear she hadn’t read it.

I can’t get school to recognise that their actions impact on behaviour outside of school.

He is not coping with the changes and this is showing by him wetting at school and home Her bright idea is to show him how to use the toilet, He knows what he needs to do!

Teacher informed me we are JUST doing stuff like family tree!

Started wetting himself the week before school started and has had a couple of accidents since as well. Stress induced I’m sure.

School is major stress for them.

hitting, kicking boy begging me to take him home at school drop off ‘this place isn’t safe mummy, take me home please…’

I sometimes wonder if this is the effect school will always have upon my child

achieving above and beyond at school but socially he doesn’t have a clue, school say no issues at all but at home is a total different story.

so the teachers need to know they are working at least twice as hard as their classmatess.

one week in and we have homework woes already

teacher was unaware of issues of adopted children

Feels like we're talking to a brick wall, not a teacher.

Feels like we’re talking to a brick wall, not a teacher.

These are real comments, I’ve merely copied and pasted them and worse still they’re all from within the last 14 days. Its sad isn’t it. Does it anger you as much as it does me?

How is this happening, why is this happening. Something needs to be done. Adopters cant MAKE schools listen alone, They need to be supported. These poor children need better understanding in schools! I’m not the only adopter forced to move their children from a school that didn’t ‘get it’, and I wont be the last. In fact, in the world of adoption, its very common. But why, when continuity and stability is what our children need, not a lottery of suitable schools/teachers, it shouldn’t be about ‘getting lucky’ with the right school, or struggling to find the right school, ALL schools should be the right school.

If your a teacher and you want to understand, buy and read a copy of this, read some adoption related books Louise Bomber has written some good ones, ask BAAF or Adoption UK about training, Your local authority post adoption team can probably offer you some support and training too, but talk to your adopted pupil’s parents, and most of all listen to them. Their idea’s might seem outrageous or bizarre, but they know their child’s needs better than you.

Our kids deserve to be happy in school and out of school.

Our kids deserve to be happy in school and out of school.

When we switch to focusing on the process instead of the outcome, the level and intensity of suffering decreases dramatically – Heather Talbert Forbes

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28 comments on “School, a game of luck!

  • My child is 7. He has been excluded 6 times in less than a year. School wanted a SEN Statement. He has 25 hours a week support. They excluded him again this week for hitting his TA on the arm. They do not understand him at all but tell me that they know all about attachment!

    • I know you would!
      And I know the devastating reasons ‘why’ you would!
      It shouldnt take enduring such atrocities for someone to understand should it.
      I haven’t worded this well, but hope you get my point. X

      • Thanks! I do understand what you mean.

        I hope I would also listen because I see parents as partners in helping their children, but maybe that’s because I see teaching as about the whole child and not just academics. They really are the people in the best position to provide insight to you about the child and to reinforce the positive behaviors you are trying to bring into the classroom.There are probably many people in education who just want to make sure subjects are learned–since that is how we are evaluated and judged–and forget about everything else. But I really care whether the kids in my care grow up to be good people who can contribute to society, and I think that’s what parents want most too. There are probably many heads of schools who are there mainly because they get results, and not because their schools are such great places to be.

        I had a student with a traumatic past and an adoptive parent last year, and meeting the parent was so very helpful. It suddenly made a lot of the child’s behaviors make sense and it actually relieved some of my fears, because the child was behaving like an abused child. And it was so nice to discover that I was right about that, but what we were looking at was the fallout from the past, rather than an event in the present that I needed to make a call about.

  • As a secondary school teacher I wouldn’t know if a child in my class was adopted – they would probably be ‘flagged’ but details wouldn’t necessarily be passed on. Direct emails from parents to class teachers would be helpful in my situation with the info you are happy to have passed on. I have to say it is quite tricky when a child presents well at school for us to know how to help. I would hope I am never, ever a ‘brick wall’ to any parent though.

    • Some of those comments/scenarios refer to secondary age children. And I know for each one that the parents have offered advice and strategies to the teachers involved. It is difficult and i/we appreciate that teachers have so much to consider, but it’s not impossible. Sadly some teachers won’t even try.

  • Absolutely!
    Schools are just so hit and miss. I’ve spoken to some teachers who would welcome information about my son so they could help him – unfortunately they’re all in different schools to the one he’s in! The teachers at his current school all know best and won’t accept the information I’m giving them, what I’m telling them, and aren’t even interested in meeting his SW, because they think they don’t need to. Grr. As you know, we’re trying to move schools…but even then I’m worried about the impact that transition will have on him ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Thanks for writing this, and for sharing it on #WASO x

    • That was part of the issue we have with the girls previous school. I tried so hard to get them to understand, I gave them information, books, even had camhs offer support (which they refused), but it was all a waste of time because ‘they knew best’ apparently.
      So sad, really hope you find a great school that understands your boys needs x

  • So frustrating isn’t it with the schools. So many just don’t seem (or want) to understand. So far Missy’s school has been ok and she’s been ok and I hope it lasts. I email the head often with details of courses, info, articles (whether he like it or not but not had any polite requests not to send yet!) and I can only hope it’s of some use.

  • It is the thing that really gets me wound up, schools. We are lucky to have a great school and a lot of effort and thought is placed on how to best manage and support my children. I think that is why I feel so angry when I hear about others being ignored.

    Both my children have been disruptive but by tweaking the way they are dealt with in the classroom, everybody has a better day. My child is happy, the teacher is happy and the other children are not being disrupted. I can’t understand why a good teacher or a good school wouldn’t want this sort of a scenario. OHHH it makes my blood boil.

    The ignorance in education is unacceptable. No more to be said.

    Thanks for being part of the Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

    • We need more schools like this, it shouldn’t just be about ‘getting lucky’ should it!
      Very pleased your babies have a great school though, we can only hope that other schools will learn from them or that some of the teachers will move on and spread their love in other schools x

  • Hi, I knew parents have problems with their schools/teachers but it is scary that all those comments have just been made in the last 14 days. I agree that more support and training is needed for teachers to give them a better understanding and insight into the needs of fostered and adopted children.

  • Thank you for writing this. I could never have put it into words so brilliantly as you have the frustration with schools. We had a pretty good experience with Beeswax’s primary school and for all their faults his current EBD school is working for him. But, Buzzbee’s school OMG I spend most of my days either in tears or so wound up that I can’t sleep and the harm their inflexibility has caused him is unbelievable. He is so afraid of school/learning now that I am considering home-educating him.
    As a foot note this week I discovered that Dan Hughes and Louise Bomber have co-written a book together with schools in mind called ‘settling to learn’. Have ordered a copy for Buzz’s school but not holding out much hope they will read it.

    • Ah yes Louise Bomber, she’s written some great books on attachment in the classroom!

      Thank you for your kind words! I too have felt that frustration you feel, it’s so hard to see our babies struggle so much isn’t it. Its not fair and it’s not right. Hugs x

  • What a great post! Jazz was permanently excluded by the age of eight and never understood why she had been so rejected. It broke my heart and it does to think other children are still going through this so many years later. Your blog highlights the issues loud and clear. (And I love your Strange Little Town theme!) x

  • Thanks so much for the resources! I’ve added it to my list of must reads.

    Jonathan is struggling A LOT in Kindergarten and Daycare – we can add kicking a teacher in the face this week to the long list of behaviours:( BUT, I have to say the day care and the school/teacher have gone above and beyond what we ever would have expected.

    Although we don’t agree with a couple of the techniques the Kindergarten teacher is wanting to implement she was open to listening to our reasoning and learning about attachment, and it was obvious that she had done some learning on her own.

    Although things are not improving, they aren’t getting worse! We feel very grateful for the support and willingness of the daycare staff and teachers. I hope it is a sign of things to come:)

  • Hi there.

    it is so disheartening to read about schools just not getting it – and I have see this at first hand, many times with children who have experienced trauma and attachment issues who are still living with birth parents…usually as a result of DV or just really poor parenting, by people overwhelmed by their own issues…..
    However, I have worked in a couple of schools who excluded in order to get the support in place for the child – extreme, and another trauma for the child…but in both cases the child did get much better support, but it shouldn’t come to this should it!?

    Things are getting a bit better – I’ve been in schools for 7 yrs now and have seen a difference in understanding and a willingness to support….even if

    I love Louise Bomber’s work. I have introduced lots of teachers to her – many NQTs and they are unanimous in their praise for her practical strategies…

    So…we just need to keep plugging away and use as many avenues as we can to get the message across….

    Maeve x

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