The Virtual School

3/12/2019 11:12:27 AM

3. Advice for carers and educational settings

Supporting your child in school

In primary education the assessment system is constantly changing and often varies from school to school so we will help you to understand this process.  Moving schools at any stage can be quite a daunting process so we can offer your child additional support if required.

Options can be chosen in Year 8 or 9 depending on schools, with the Key Stage 4 courses starting in Year 9 or 10.  Assessments can occur at any time of the year and thus pupils should never be taken out of school in term time.

Pupils of any age will benefit from their parents or carers taking an active interest in their school work and encouraging them to read and improve their learning at home. 

Post 16 options should be considered in Year 10 and applications should be made in Year 11.

We recognise that the education system is constantly changing so please feel free to contact us for any help or advice.

The Impact of Early Trauma on Children’s learning

There are approximately 500 children in care from Buckinghamshire. All of these children will have experienced distress, loss and trauma which may have an effect on their development and education.

How do we Recognise the Problems?

  • Emotionally they may be less mature than their peers and have attachment difficulties. They may be over anxious to please Others may be withdrawn.
  • For some, leaving their primary carer can be especially difficult.
  • Neglect, abuse, trauma or pain may   result in severe defiance, aggression, controlling behaviour, attention seeking, lying, stealing, and much more
  • Snack/meal times may be traumatic. Toileting problems can be an issue.
  • They may have heightened sensory perceptions. Conversely, some children may need extra  stimulation.
  • An abused child may be uncomfortable removing clothing or changing for PE.
  • Some children will appear to be coping well

How you can help:

  • Get to know the child, they need to get the message ‘we want you here’.
  • Greet them by name.
  • End each day on a positive note.
  • Listen to and validate their feelings - ‘You are finding this hard aren’t you?’.
  • Observe patterns of behaviour. Learn the triggers.
  • Use positive behavioural  management.
  • Create an environment which makes the child feel comfortable, included and safe. Avoid threats of removal or exclusion. Give the child ‘time in’ with an adult rather than ’time out’.
  • Re-assure them that you are there for them
  • Give praise often - but keep it low key
  • Plan for change. Changes to routine need to be supported. Give low-key reminders about what is happening.
  • Be aware unstructured time may be  difficult.
  • Be sensitive to the need for confidentiality and recognise the need for early intervention.
  • Set small achievable goals.
  • Preschools/schools should show an appreciation for diversity within the setting.
  • Good communication between carers, social workers and educational settings with regular updates is vital.
  • Help promote the child’s learning outside of the preschool/classroom.
  • Source information about activities outside of the school setting. 
  • Educational staff should be trained in the needs of  children in care.
  • Work closely with The Virtual School, seek advice if you are concerned about any aspects of the child's education.
  • Social workers and other professionals may require your help to gather information.
  • Schools must have a Designated Teacher for children in care. They must understand about trauma and the impact it has on children and ensure staff have appropriate training.

The Personal Education Plan (PEP)

  • It is a statutory requirement for school age children to have Personal Education Plan (PEP). We also have an Early Years PEP. The teacher, other relevant professionals, Virtual School, child’s social worker, carer, parent (where possible) and the child will all be asked to contribute to the plan. This plan is to encourage continuity and stability of provision, early identification of Special Educational Needs and smooth planned transitions. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the child’s progress and achievement.
  • Educational outcomes may be strongly influenced by health so a dedicated route to services or health provision may be sought if necessary.

More information about the Personal Education Plan (PEP)

Curriculum issues that may cause distress:

  • Family trees/timelines - early memories may be difficult.
  • Growth and development - children may not have or wish to share baby photos.
  • PE/Games/Dance - children may be uncomfortable getting changed.
  • Social interaction - playing with peers may be difficult due to poor social skills.
  • Literature - some texts may be too distressing.
  • PSHE - topics may be painful reminders of circumstances which brought the child into the care system.
  • RE/Celebrations - Christmas/Mother’s/Father’s Day will need to be handled sensitively .


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Last updated: 12 March 2019

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