A new resource for schools has been developed to help pupils and teachers across the UK better understand and appreciate the needs of children and young people in care. ‘In Care, In School’ has been developed by Bath Spa University and Bath & North East Somerset Council working with young people in care and care leavers from the region.
‘In Care, In School’ includes 10 films of different scenarios based on the real life experiences of In Care Council members in Bath and North East Somerset which show a range of different interactions between pupils and teachers, and other staff, in and outside the classroom. It is accompanied by a resource pack for use in Personal Social Health & Economic Education (PSHE) lessons to encourage class discussion and learning as well as a training guide for school staff. For older students and staff training purposes there are also three four-minute films of young people talking about their experiences of school, leaving care, and subsequent careers.
It will be launched at a special event at the House of Lords on 29 October 2012 hosted by Baroness Walmsley, as part of National Care Leavers Week and coincides with the publication of the All Party Parliamentary Group Report on ‘Education Matters in Care.’
Naina Thomas of the Bath and North East Somerset In Care Council said: “When I was in school I found it very difficult to make new friends, and to fit in. This was due to being in foster care and moving schools a lot. When starting a new school I always had to make the teachers aware I was in foster care, just in case I had an appointment with my social worker during school time. Having these appointments during school time was the hardest, they made me different, and no one else had to leave the class for an hour or so.
“This pack is to help (not tell) teachers and pupils to understand, from a young person’s point of view, what it is like being in foster care and having an education. From this pack I hope teachers can take a step back and start thinking about the young person’s needs and feelings. I hope pupils will get a better understanding of something they might not fully understand. Overall, I would like my experiences to make a change within the schools, and to make people more aware about people in foster care.”
The project was jointly funded by Bath Spa University and Bath & North East Somerset Council with support from a number of local and national voluntary organisations. The project team worked with young people in care to create a number of brief everyday scenarios, based on their own experience at school. A local film company and professional and child actors were commissioned to bring these scenarios to life. A two minute trailer of the films can be seen on YouTube here
Councillor Dine Romero, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth, said: “We are pleased to see that this innovative project is gaining the recognition it deserves. Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to supporting activities and opportunities which help young people to make a positive difference to their lives and communities. We are immensely proud of the children and young people involved in the In Care Council whose inspiration will help to improve the lives of others.”
‘In Care, In School’ has also been shortlisted for a prestigious National Children and Young People Now Award in the Children in Care category. The winners will be announced on 29 November.
Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said: “I want children in care to have the best possible start in life. These films can play a meaningful part in improving their chances by showing their experiences in a vivid way, as well as make teachers and pupils more aware of the challenges they face.”
The ‘In Care, In School’ materials are already being used in youth work, and with young adults with learning disabilities. The project team are also working with a number of fostering agencies to explore how the materials can be used in training foster carers and other professionals, and developing a self-audit model on attachment awareness for schools.
Along with Bath Spa University and Bath & North East Somerset Council, ‘In Care, In School’ is supported by:
- ASDAN www.asdan.org.uk
- Buttle UK www.buttletrust.org
- In Care Council, Bath and North East Somerset Local Authority
- National Union of Teachers www.teachers.org.uk
- Off The Record (Bath) www.offtherecord-banes.co.uk
- PSHE Association www.pshe-association.org.uk
- Suited and Booted Studios CIC www.suitedandbooted.org
- The Who Cares? Trust www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk
- VisionWorks for Schools www.vision-works.net