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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.

IXL club with free breakfast places.

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

Learning mentor undertakes this role on a needs basis.

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.

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

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

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.

Lunchtime clubs with opportunities to practice social skills

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

Continue

Training midday supervisors to provide structured play at break times

Sports coach has begun to lead structured play.

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

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

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.

Continue

Build wider understanding in staff – including literature.

Appointing and training an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)

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

Continue

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

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

Providing calm zones in classrooms and centrally within the school

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

 

Create a safe-zone classroom for break times

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.

 

Embed in practice.

Clear understanding and consistent implementation of the behaviour policy.

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.

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

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

 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 pastoral 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

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.

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.

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