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All posts for the month October, 2013

Future

Published October 26, 2013 by thefamilyof5

This weeks Theme for #WASO is ‘Future’.

I spend a lot of time worrying about the girls future and also our future as a family. I’m sure all parents worry about their children’s future, will they get a good job, will they marry, will they have a family of their own etc.

I worry about all of the above, but I also worry about some of the finer details of life as well.

Will big  girls infatuation with being a mom lead her to become one too soon, will she continue the cycle of self destruction that she was born in to, will she ever trust any one enough to be able to have a loving relationship with them, will she have friends, will she allow herself to feel loved and have learnt how to love. Will she return to her past and the path she was on. Will she be happy!

Will middle girl ever open her heart and let us in, will she ever trust the world around her or will she continue to hide and avoid the world, perhaps behind a bottle or a drug induce state. Will her academic difficulties hold her back, will she ever feel ‘good enough’. Will she be happy!

I worry that baby girl may never feel she truly belongs, will she always feel she has to compete to fit in, will her need for attention and reactions get her in to trouble, will her thrill seeking land her in hot water, will she be too controlling for friends, will she learn to be happy without chaos. Will she be happy!

I worry about the present too, I worry that I’m not doing the right things, that I’m not saying the right things, that I’m not giving them what they need.

I worry that i’ll never be able to ‘give’ enough, that i’ll never be able to fill those gaps from their past.

I worry that i’ll never be enough!

Pupil Premium Plus

Published October 10, 2013 by thefamilyof5

The government announced recently the introduction of the new ‘Pupil Premium Plus’.

Children in care have previously attracted pupil premium funding at the same rate as children from low-income families, but in future they will attract a higher rate of funding – the pupil premium plus. From April next year, children in care will attract £1,900 additional funding per pupil, more than double the £900 awarded in 2013 to 2014.

In addition, this support will now reach more children. At the moment, children in care attract the pupil premium if they have been looked after for 6 months or more, but in future they will be funded from their first day in care.

For the first time, children adopted from care and those who leave care under a special guardianship order or residence order will also attract the pupil premium plus.

So, great news, the needs of Looked After Children and Adopted Children have finally been recognised by the Department of Education. From April 2014 both Looked After Children, and Adopted Children will attract a higher rate of the Pupil Premium called the Pupil Premium Plus.

This has caused much excitement in the world of Adoption, our children’s higher level of need in school can no longer be denied. Our children will receive additional funding for support in school to help them reach their full potential.

Edward Timpson said:

“It’s vital that these vulnerable children are given the targeted support they need and the education they deserve to help them get on in life.”

Exciting stuff! However, as well as excitement there is also a little unrest in the world of adoption, a few “hmmmm’s” and a few “yeah right’s” and a few “we’ll see’s”. Adopters have fought with schools and teachers for years to have their children’s needs acknowledged, never mind supported. Adopters have been made to feel like neurotic overprotective parents, had their children’s needs denied and some adoptive parents have even been made to feel at fault for their children’s difficulties. So its hardly surprising they’re feeling a little skeptical.

School head teachers have been left with the responsibility of deciding how the existing Pupil Premium is spent to best close the attainment gaps between the disadvantaged children eligible for the Pupil Premium and those not.

Here are some examples that I’ve taken from school websites across the country of how schools have been spending the existing Pupil Premium:

Supplement of Education visits and Visitors for Pupil Premium children

Contribution for Junior Librarian scheme to revamp the library and encourage home reading.

Year 6 children will receive extra Maths support through an additional teacher employed to run interventions and work with small groups.

Each child entitled to FSM in Year 5 and 6 offered a free Fit-For-Sport breakfast club place

New allotment club.

School trips subsidy for target pupils.

Employ a learning mentor to ensure targeted vulnerable pupils are in school on time and ready to learn.

Extra teaching time one afternoon per week to teach groups of pupils across the whole school.

School trips, extracurricular activities books to promote reading and to fund other opportunities to boost learning.

Will FREE school trips help   our children feel safe?

Will FREE school trips help our children feel safe?

So how will the Pupil Premium Plus be spent, how will our children’s greater level of need be met with this new higher rate of funding. Will free/subsidised school trips help our children? or how about free access to breakfast clubs? or a learning mentor to encourage families to get their children in to school on time?
I cant deny additional staff to enable smaller class sizes would be of benefit, and specific types of after school clubs to help boost self esteem and learn new talents would also be of benefit. But adopters are worried that not enough will be done to target this money towards our children’s specific needs. Will the money be put in to a huge pot to provide support that really isn’t relevant?

General Fund

General Fund

“Through the Children and Families Bill, the government is also making it mandatory for every council to have a ‘virtual school head’ – an individual who champions the education of children in care and acts as their overarching head.

Today’s announcement includes plans to extend the role of the virtual school head to work with schools to manage the pupil premium plus and ensure that the money is spent on securing the best educational support and services for children in care. For example, this could include specialist tuition for musically gifted children or one-to-one catch-up sessions.”

So, the virtual school head will undertake the responsibility of making sure the ‘Pupil Premium Plus’ is targeted appropriately.

Will a bowl of cereal help them over come trauma?

Will a bowl of cereal help them over come trauma?

We adopters still wonder, will our children be offered free school trips and breakfasts when really what they need is emotional support, attachment focused teaching and understanding? Time will tell, watch this space…………….

Hello? Is there anybody there?

Published October 8, 2013 by thefamilyof5

So do you remember in August I shared with you some news, the placing authority had offered to fund some specialist therapeutic support for the girls because we really felt we were not getting anywhere with CAMHS. Well that was August.

Shortly after offering this amazing life line to us, our contact at the placing authority left and handed us over to her colleague. Well I say handed us over, it was more of a shove, a late night email the day she left informing us of the name of the person we were to now contact.

So I left it a week or so and as I’d heard nothing from this new person regarding the new therapy they were sourcing for us I thought I’d give her a call. She was out and would ring me back. She never did. So I emailed. She didnt reply to that either. Over the last month or so I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve called her and emailed her. I’ve had one email from her informing me she didnt know much about the offer of support that had been made and that she’ll contact me when she has more information, well at least I know she’s a real person now because quite honestly, I was beginning to doubt it!

So I rang her again today, she doesn’t work Tuesdays apparently, I wonder what days she DOES work!?

The local authority have made it clear they don’t want to help us, but just for fun I called them too this morning. The lady I need to speak to is in a meeting apparently.

I can’t ring the voluntary agency that we used because when we were trying to get some support for middle girl and her sleep issues last year the placing authority rang them over and over to tell them that they were too far away to help us so they either needed support us or they wanted money back from them, and then our local authority rang them over and over to tell them that it wasn’t their job to support the girls as they’d not lived in the county long enough to be responsible for them and that they needed to help us. So honestly, I’m too embarrassed to ring them, and they’re no doubt too pissed off to want to talk to me.

So back to the placing authority, the ones who have promised to fund for us this fabulous support service. I appreciate she has other ‘stuff’ to do, and I understand that I must not be the only person that’s calling and emailing her but really, what do we have to do to get her attention! After all we’re just an adoptive family that has so many difficulties that they’re financially helping us to build an extension right now, albeit under the pressure of Sir Martin Narey. We’re just an adoptive family with a need for specialist support services, so much so that even CAMHS have been unable to provide what was needed. We’re just an adoptive family with an autistic 9year old that pinches, scratches and hits herself out of frustration, a troubled 8 year old that punches herself in the head in anger and an anxious 6 year old that bites herself. Yes, I have 3 children that self harm, and I have no idea what to do about it because no one will help me, no one will call me back, no one will return my calls. No one will give me any advice as to what I should do when my 9yr old decides to hit herself in the head with her hairbrush first thing in the morning in temper, or my 8yr old lies in bed at night screaming and punching herself in the head or when my 6yr old wakes up with bite marks on her arms, apparently everyone’s too busy.

I can only hope that the reason for her lack of response, is that she is SO busy sorting out the fabulous post adoption support services that us adopters have been promised by the government.

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