All posts tagged training

Pupil Premium Plus & School Training

Published January 27, 2014 by thefamilyof5

There’s been quite a few things going on in school lately, I might blog about some of the specifics another time but the biggest change right now is that our head teacher has announced they’re leaving soon. This left me feeling unsure of who to talk about certain matters that I wished to discuss. After a telephone chat with the head teacher we decided that the best plan is that I should put together a letter that could be presented to the board of govenors at their next finance meeting with regard to the Pupil Premium Plus and all other matters could be discussed directly with class teachers, I do have some other things that are not appropriate to discuss with class teachers but I also feel it would be somewhat pointless to discuss these with a head teacher that is leaving, so those matters I will mentally shelf until a replacement head teacher is appointed.

Any way, I know many of you adopters are currently struggling to discuss with schools plans for the the pupil premium plus for your children, so I thought I’d share my letter with you, perhaps it might help, I only wrote it tonight so you lot are the first to see it!

MY LETTER: (some personal details have been changed/removed to protect identity’s)

For the attention of : Board of Governors

Dear Sirs,

In Oct 2013 the government announced plans to introduce the new Pupil Premium Plus which will run along side the existing Pupil Premium. The purpose of pupil premium funding is to close the attainment gaps between vulnerable children and their peers. Up until recently the children entitled to the Pupil Premium were those entitled to free school meals and looked after children. However, the government is now realising that children adopted from care, looked after children and those who leave care under a special guardianship order or residence order are in need of additional support. The government has acknowledged that their need for support is in fact greater than those children entitled to the Pupil Premium and this is now reflected with the higher rate of Pupil Premium Plus.

As a parent of 3 vulnerable adopted children I would like to propose a suggestion on how part of the £5700 Pupil Premium Plus allocated to them is used to benefit my children and other children within school.

I enclose details of onsite training that is offered by a local company experienced in trauma and attachment. Although aimed at those working with looked-after and adopted children, it also covers a range of other children who may be considered ‘vulnerable’, ‘at risk’ or ‘in need’. For example this could be children who are currently experiencing neglect or abuse, children who’s parents have separated, children who have witnessed/are witnessing domestic violence, children with serious medical conditions who have spent a substantial amount of time in hospital, children who have experienced one off trauma’s (eg: car accident, house fire, etc..). Therefore it is hoped that each member of staff attending the course will be able to relate the training to at least one child they are working with, but it is often many more. Also at a time when the government is attempting to provide better support to looked-after, adopted and disadvantaged children, a clear understanding of these children is needed in order to provide the most suitable support.

I feel that £600 of the £5700 pupil premium plus would be wisely spent and be of great advantage to all staff and hugely beneficial to the children within school.

I enclose various articles and supporting literature for your perusal.
Kindest regards,

Mrs Familyof5

CC Head Teacher
Local authority Virtual Head

I enclosed with this letter some sales literature from a local company that offer onsite school training, if you don’t know of an organisation within your area then Adoption UK offer training days countrywide.

I also enclosed a print out of the governments press release from last year, this can be found here:

And finally I enclosed an article about attachment, trauma and education that was published in SEN Magazine which can be found here:

You will see that I posted a copy to the Virtual Head at our local authority. This is because their role will have been expanded and they are now expected 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. My hope is that they will also see the benefit of training and support my suggestion.

Teachers aren’t given training on attachment and trauma as part of their qualifying training, some teachers don’t even know what attachment is never mind the importance it plays in a child’s ability to learn and grow, therefore, if they don’t understand our children’s specific needs, how can they be expected to support them. I strongly believe that specialist attachment training should be mandatory for all teachers/schools.

Now we wait…………………

I’ve linked this blog up with #WASO (Weekly Adoption Shout out) over at The Adoption Social, pay them a visit, meet the bloggers and read lots of great adoption blogs


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…………….

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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