Working with Schools – a balancing act

This year I moved the girls  from a large multicultural city school who had lots of experience with children with attachment disorders to a small village school where they admitted they had none. The previous school looked great for the girls but failed to put anything concrete into action.

I have to admit that I’m a fairly demanding parent but with good reason:

Firstly I have already had to move the girls twice already – once while they were at nursery and then again at the start of this school year. I can’t let that happen again.

Secondly I was open about the girls’ difficulties before they were accepted at the school and the HT promised they would care for them and was prepared to do things differently for them

When the school gets it wrong it has a devastating impact on my children and on our home life

Lastly I am a teacher myself and I am expected to provide an outstanding level of care for every individual I teach, I expect nothing of them that I don’t do myself for any of my students who need it

School 2

So how has it gone?

Well it’s not been perfect. There have been a couple of teachers who seem unable to grasp the reality of the girls’ high levels of anxiety in school. This has been very frustrating to say the least and has sadly caused considerable damage which they seem oblivious to. But to be fair the school’s leadership have stepped up to support us and one teacher now emails every night without fail to tell me any arrangements for the next day even if just to confirm it’s a normal day. This means I can let my daughter know what is happening the next day and also head off any issues I can foresee that the teacher does not. Things are still very difficult for her in school, I know she does not feel safe or contained. I have had to accept that I cannot change these teachers’ opinions so I just need to work round them and minimise any impact on the children as much as possible. Happily neither will be with the girls next year.

But there are some wonderful teachers/LSAs too. The LSA who has devised a secret signal for my 6 yr old to let her know she isn’t coping. The teacher who will call my daughter to her side to offer gentle calming support during a challenging activity. Comments to me saying – we are doing X topic in PSHE and I know it will be a sensitive topic for both the girls. Or another saying – I realise you may have considerable fall out at home this afternoon after we do Y in school. And emails saying – we really want to support both you and the girls. These things are priceless to me as they show there are staff who are starting to understand how much the girls struggle despite the smiles they plaster on their faces at school. Crucially these members of staff accept that I know what the girls need to function in school and they don’t blame me for their tricky behaviour at home.

I guess it’s as simple as this – iinstead of blaming me they believe and trust me.

I knew that this would be a steep learning curve for the school. And I was right.

Happily staffing for the girls has been carefully chosen for next year and the school are also having training soon on trauma and attachment. I have great hopes for next year!

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6 thoughts on “Working with Schools – a balancing act

    1. 3girlstogether Post author

      Thanks Brian. Things are fairly difficult at home – if you have a look at my previous posts you’ll see just how difficult. That said, when school get it right it really helps our home life too

      Reply
  1. Brian Soector

    Yes I know they are difficult, wish you the best and the girls. If you need someone….share the good and bad,,,bspector@rogers.blackberry.net…if you want

    Reply
  2. thepuffindiaries

    My experience is that schools do take a little time to get on board and fully understand. However having a school which is making every effort to try is a massive step in the right direction and I hope it continues this way. You are doing an incredible job of supporting your girls, make sure you take care of you too. x Thanks for linking to #WASO

    Reply
  3. garethmarr7

    It’s so good to,hear that a school is getting some things right. Or is it just some teachers in the school? You are doing what every concerned adopter is having to do at present. Work hard to get the school to understand and then to educate them in they way to care properly for a child who has suffered early life trauma and poor attachment. You have certain advantages as a teacher in understanding the system and the processes. But it shouldn’t be down to an individual parent’s ability to advocate for their child.Every child who is placed from care should have the same support as children in care. A Virtual School Head advocating for them, working with the parents and school and ensuring they get the support the require to achieve their potential. Working hard to achieve that end for us all!

    Reply
  4. Duncan Elliot

    I loved your comment “instead of blaming me they believe and trust me.” We’ve had that with one school and it makes an incredible difference! Sad that it’s not always the case. I recently wrote an article on my website about when it doesn’t go right in school: http://www.forcefourcoaching.com/education2.html. But for you, long may it last that you have listening, understanding and responsive staff!

    Reply

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