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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Children Looked After and Adoption

At Chesswood we have a number of children who are either adopted, fostered or under special guardianship. This page is designed to support families who are in this unique and special position, outlining the provision at Chesswood which seeks to meet the needs of their children - both educationally and emotionally. 

Pupil Premium Funding

Adopted children and those in special care arrangements are eligible for additional funding (£1900) to support them in school. For these children, the funding is sometimes know as 'Pupil Premium Plus' and is designed to ‘help adopted children emotionally, socially and educationally by providing specific support to raise their attainment and address their wider needs.’ 

PAC-UK (The Agency for Adoption and Permanency Support) have provided a helpful list of suggested strategies to particularly support adopted children in the key areas in which they may struggle; namely -

1. Attachment relationships with adults

2. Managing their peer relationships

3. Managing their feelings and behaviour

4. Coping with transitions

5. Developing their executive functioning skills 

At Chesswood, we have reviewed provision against each suggestion and set actions to improve provision. We acknowledge the wealth of knowledge parents have of their children and welcome further suggestions on how funding can be used to support their children (see the 'Pupil Premium Plus Support Letter' below). 

 

PAC-UK Suggestions

What we already do

Future action

Provide nurture and relationships through:

 

A nurture breakfast club which allows children to settle into the school day

A member of staff is on duty to specifically support PP children during breakfast club. Free breakfast club places are available for PP children.

High impact for children attending – supporting engagement and attendance.

IXL club with free breakfast places.

This has been put in place with regular attendance of IXL club in the mornings of approximately 20 children. Capacity and breadth has been increased through the introduction of the Jedi Academy – providing children access to IXL, TT Rockstars & reading groups before, during and after school. Priority given to PP children.

Providing meet and greets for children at the start of the day

Learning mentor undertakes this role on a needs basis.

Ongoing – significant impact on attendance and the ability to settle vulnerable children into school

Continue

A nurture room and group. More information about the Nurture Group Network can be found here.

Currently the Bluebell Room is used as a basic, safe, inclusive space in school. Base of the pastoral team.

An area of the Bluebell Room is sectioned off with beanbags etc as a calm down space. This is not on the level of a nurture room and issues arise when confidential phonecalls are being made. However, it is regularly used as a calm-down space for children.   

Research nurture rooms and the potential development at Chesswood – e.g. convert PE changing rooms.

PE changing rooms converted to the new DT / art room. With an increased focus on the wider curriculum, this was deemed to be the best use of space, having maximum impact across all children. Space is increasingly at a premium and there is currently no obvious space in school to develop a nurture room. In the next year to 2 years we will lose the library and science rooms to classrooms.

Some confusion between sensory rooms and nurture rooms exists. What is a Nurture Room? It is a small supportive class of up to 10 children usually in a mainstream Primary School. It provides a secure, predictable environment where the individual developmental needs of each pupil are catered for. It focuses on emotional and social development as well as academic progress.

The small group working spaces including the Bluebell and Snowdrop Room can easily fit this criteria – it is more to do with the group set up and focus of the group – much of which is fulfilled in interventions within school. The high needs / high support class has a similar principle

Training and supporting staff to provide key attachment relationships with regular 1:1 ‘attachment time’ built into children's timetables

We believe training in attachment theory is critical in school. Attempts to undertake training have not yet been successful. We believe this would support a significant number of pupils – not just PP/+.

 

Seek whole staff training in attachment theory. In the meantime, circulate ‘Adoption UK – Factsheet A9 – What every teacher needs to know’ and ‘Attachment behaviour overview’ to all staff and ensure understanding. Staff meeting planned for Autumn 2

Attachment training delivered for all teachers and TAs (SH). Low level mental health training delivered to all staff (CAMHS). Further attachment training - Pam Barnes. VR / SH trained in sensory processing (Jigsaw training).

A range of staff accessed Yellow Kite 1:1 support.

All TAs accessed de-escalation training through LBAT

 

Scaffold children's social skills and peer relationships, for example through:

 

Social skills groups or Circle of Friends interventions

Learning mentor leads social skills groups and friendship interventions – including lunchtime.

Develop capacity within the SEN / pastoral team to release the learning mentor to increase intervention – Autumn 2.

Further learning mentor appointed increasing capacity within the team to deliver social skills / friendship group support.

Lunchtime clubs with opportunities to practice social skills

Learning mentor leads social skills groups and friendship interventions – including lunchtime.

Continue

Friendship buddies established

Supervised play area established

Training midday supervisors to provide structured play at break times

Sports coach has begun to lead structured play.

This has had significant impact on lunchtime play for many children. A rota of activities has been established with play leaders supporting delivery.  

Training of midday supervisors in structured play – INSET 23rd November

Delivered

Friendship groups

Learning mentor leads social skills groups and friendship interventions – including lunchtime.

Continue

Facilitating friendships e.g. through a buddy scheme or peer mentoring initiative

 

Learning mentor leads social skills groups and friendship interventions – including lunchtime.

Develop the role of the school ‘Friendship Buddies’ – tabards and training – by January 17

Friendship buddies established

Supervised play area established

 

 

Support emotional literacy and emotion regulation through:

 

Emotional literacy and emotion regulation groups, including anger management

On a needs basis, pastoral team lead anger and anxiety management support.

De-escalation training undertaken

Interventions undertaken by SH / EB

Continue

Build wider understanding in staff – including literature.

Drawing and Talking training undertaken

Real Love Rocks training undertaken

Appointing and training an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)

Current learning mentor and pastoral lead provide support in this area.

Continue

ELSA support pack purchased

Providing calm boxes and staff to spend 1:1 time helping children to regulate themselves

Children provided with ‘calm down kits’ and supported in their use

Use is identified on pupil passports on a needs basis

Further resources to support – eg lego, stress balls, calm-down kits, sensory toys

Significant resources purchased and used regularly by identified pupils

Providing calm zones in classrooms and centrally within the school

Calm zones / safe places provided in classrooms on a needs basis.

Size and layout of classrooms prevents safe zones within the class. However, there are spaces within school provided – Bluebell Room / Primrose. Strategies in classes are used for individuals to prevent issues escalating – eg providing ‘wriggle time’. Strategies are identified on Pastoral Support Plans (PSPs)

 

Create a safe-zone classroom for break times

Friendship buddies room has been used.

Supported secure play area provided.

Individual support for identified pupils on the playground

Providing alternatives to detention and isolation which focus on understanding and repairing what went wrong

All TAs trained in comic strip conversations and social stories.

ASCT trained all TAs and pastoral team in comic strip conversations. Use identified on individual PSPs and behaviour plans.

Where detentions are used, a reflective element is central.

Embed in practice.

Clear understanding and consistent implementation of the behaviour policy.

For children with specific needs (EHCP), alternative strategies to straight detentions have been identified on PSP /Behaviour Plans and implemented to support clear expectations and restorative sanctions

Therapeutic services (e.g. play, art, music, drama therapy) for individuals or groups of children; please note that therapists and counsellors who provide ‘adoption support’ must be registered with Ofsted as Adoption Support Agencies or commissioned by the local authority or a registered Adoption Support Agency

Pastoral team interventions include drawing and talking and lego therapy. On a needs basis, external therapy sessions have been delivered – e.g. art therapy, play therapy and counselling services. The pastoral team are experienced in delivering anxiety, self-esteem, social and anger-management sessions.

SM / SH now trained in Lego therapy

Develop expertise in specific support for permanently placed children – eg attachment issues.

Develop links with Adoption Support Agencies to enable expert support as required.

Your Space now employed within school to deliver specialist counselling sessions – access has been prioritised for PP / PP+ children. This has provided significant support in school.

Pam Barnes has supported with training.

Support children to cope with transitions and change by:

 

Providing additional structure during break and lunchtimes

1:1 and group support provided on a needs basis

Create a safe-zone classroom for break times.

Further implementation of structured play activities.

Supported play area – courtyard / classroom provided

Providing safe spaces for children to come to throughout the school day

The Bluebell Room is a central safe space for children to go to throughout the school day – base of the pastoral team.

Further develop the Bluebell Room as a calm, sensory focused environment.

Calm area is provided – this has been supported by the creation of the Primrose Room – however, further resources required to make rooms more sensory focused

Appointing a transition worker to support children through the Year 6 to Year 7 transition

Comprehensive transition programmes are in place for vulnerable children within school and with feeder schools.

This continues to have significant impact.

Continue current transition work. Raise profile of attachment needs with staff as these are not always apparent.

VR aware of children to target for extra support re transition.

Identifying a group of staff who can provide cover for absence, reducing the need for external supply staff

Regular staff used for cover where possible.

Continue to use current staff to cover wherever possible. If not possible, use supply staff well-known to the school.

Vast majority of supply is provided by ex teachers from Chesswood

Spending time preparing children for change in advance e.g. using social stories or visual timetables

All TAs have been trained in the use of social stories. Each classroom has a visual timetable for children to access. If necessary an individual visual timetable can be provided.

Continue to develop

Liaising closely with parents and guardians who can help their children prepare for and cope with change

On a needs basis – however, we recognise this is not currently proactive enough

Better communication with parents of PP+ children – including termly review meetings for all PP+ children, not just those on the SEN register.

Share PAC-UK ‘Making decisions about sharing information with schools’ with parents.

Coffee morning for parents of children in care / adopted.

Coffee morning tried but very low attendance

Not proactive enough – of all PP+ children, x have had termly review meetings.

Parent training courses shared via newsletter.

Develop childrens executive functioning skills through:

Training staff in understanding and supporting executive functioning skill development in the classroom and on the playground

The school’s ACRO skills and BRIGHT SPARKS code promote the development of executive functioning skills.

Continue – further focus on ACRO and BRIGHT SPARKS as part of daily school practice.

Embedded in culture and ethos of school. The increase of pupil leadership roles and celebration of these has been significant.

Providing individual and group sessions which focus on scaffolding the skills needed

Regular classroom practice focuses on these skills. 1:1 and group support is available on a needs basis via the inclusion team.

Continue

Providing coaching for children who struggle to plan and organise e.g. check-ins to ensure they have books and equipment, have recorded the homework etc.

SEN department and TAs, support children with organisation – eg using visual timetables, prompt sheets, checklists, task boards, home-school logs / checklists etc

Continue

Embedded in practice – identified on pupil passports – strategies shared with parents to use at home.

Address barriers to information sharing and joint working by:

 

Developing policies and procedures which ensure that key information about children’s needs is shared with all key staff coming into contact with them

This happens on a needs basis but we acknowledge the need to be more proactive.

Joint working is not developed enough – as a school we want to use the expertise and understanding of parents to know how best to support their children.

Share PAC-UK ‘Making decisions about sharing information with schools’ with parents.  Develop PP+ ‘passport’ for all PP+ children.

Not developed sufficiently with all parents

Transition handover INSET changed to July to ensure all staff are available for handover. Detailed pupil progress meeting notes are used to aid transition and information handover.

Identifying a named member of staff who liaises with the parents or guardians and facilitates regular meetings to discuss the child’s need and progress

Currently nothing in place apart from where meetings have developed in response to need or where PEP is in place (Personal Education Plan)

Termly update meetings with parents.

Potential to facilitate group meetings – eg coffee mornings to enable discussion which leads to improved practice.

 

 

 

Admissions

Since September 2013, changes in education legislation meant that Looked After Children (LAC) and children who left UK care on an Adoption Order, Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangements Order have the highest priority when applying for school places. This means when making applications for Secondary Schools, your child will be prioritised over other children in recognition that sometimes they have had a difficult start in life and they may need some additional support. The authority which placed your child can provide a letter confirming your child’s status. PAC-UK suggests questions to hold in mind when choosing a school, such as:

  • Have staff received training on attachment and the impact of early trauma and loss?
  • Where is the safe base for children when they need to calm down or regulate?
  • How does the school support the Year 6 to Year 7 transition?

 

In Worthing, there are a number of options when it comes to applying for secondary school, which can be daunting for parents. We are more than happy to discuss your thoughts and needs, whilst supporting  you with any school applications.