So, 11 has now moved up to secondary. Choosing the school was an interesting decision to make. Did we send her to the school where I work or to another one in the area? I wanted to ensure that she was understood and looked after, but I didn’t want her to have the added pressure of feeling I was looking over her shoulder or staff were making judgements/treating her differently because of who she was.
We decided to send her to my school because:
- She can travel independently as there are no roads to cross and takes less than 5 mins to get there and back
- Most of her friends were going there
- She is comfortable with the building after attending events there
- She knows a number of the teachers
- The SEN dept is well managed (by a friend of mine)
- I monitor progress, attainment and behaviour of all PP students
- I would know the behaviour policy inside out
- I could find out homework expectations if she forgot what she had to do by the time she got home
As it happened, I was also made Designated Teacher just before the end of the academic year, so get to oversee her wellbeing in that respect too.
She was excited about coming to school. I think I was more nervous because I know what behaviour she can exhibit. In the back of my mind I knew she would behave differently at school to at home, but I would be fooling myself if I expected her to be the model student.
We’ve only done 1 day, but I can’t express how proud I am of her. In my role I had already let her tutor and staff know of her status, told them of the signs to look out for and gave them a number of strategies to use with her. Turns out I didn’t have to worry. Seating plans were already in place with SEN students being at the front (especially important as as teachers we can’t move out of the box taped onto the floor at the front of the room); she was confident enough to arrange to accompany a nervous friend to school in the morning; she was greeted by name by the Head of Campus as she arrived on site and when I bumped into her at break time she proudly told me she hadn’t been in trouble yet. When I arrived home at the end of the day, she had already hung up her uniform and rang her old foster carers to tell them what a brilliant day she had had.
I’m glossing over some of the preparation I put in with her, especially where the seating plans were concerned. Students in all classes have been arranged alphabetically (boy-girl) with SEN students at the front. This was a done to ensure students remained in one seat as they stay primary school style in one room while teachers move to them in order to stay as Covid secure as possible. I knew she would question this (and it would likely come out rude), so I explained to her she would be at the front and as expected I received ‘the face’. When I pointed out she liked the teachers checking her work and giving her a bit of attention and she wouldn’t get this if she was in the middle of the room she soon accepted the fact.
I know I am lucky as I am in the unique position where I can check that she is being supported and can give staff the guidance they need, and I’m fairly sure I made the right decision about where to send her. Time will tell.
Incidentally, I’m also the form tutor of another adopted student (and have corresponded with the parents already to ensure she is supported) and will be on the phone to the parents of another, along with the carers of those with an SGO, on Monday to see how we can support further. In my role as DT I an determined not to let the Post-LAC students be the forgotten few.