Adoption UK and PAC-UK have published two complementary education guides, for adoptive parents and school staff, to help ensure adopted children get the best possible educational start in life.
The guides explain why these vulnerable children may need additional support in school, what educational entitlements they can attract and what support is available for them.
Adoption UK’s guide Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children - A guide for adoptive parents includes information about Virtual School Heads (VSHs), Designated Teachers (DTs), Priority School Admission and Pupil Premium Plus (PP+).
PAC-UK’s guide for school staff Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children: A guide for school staff covers a range of topics including: what we know about our children in education, a background to early developmental trauma, whole school approaches, and support for schools and families.
Commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), the guides explain how The Children and Social Work Act 2017 enhances support for previously looked after children. Adoption UK’s guide has advice from adoptive parents, who adopted both domestically and from oversees, while PAC-UK’s includes the views of adopted teens on how their experiences in school could be improved.
Adoption UK members’ concerns that their children are struggling to cope with the pressures of secondary school were recently validated by official figures which show they are twice as likely to receive poor grades at GCSE level compared to their classmates. Fewer than one in four (23 per cent) adopted children secured five or more A*- C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, in 2016, statistics published by the DfE show. The figure for non-looked after children was 53 per cent.
Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, Adoption UK’s chief executive, said: “We know adopted children are amongst the most vulnerable group in society. Adoption is not a silver bullet for previously looked-after children as the effects do not simply disappear overnight.
“We’re well aware that adopted children have high levels of need, stemming from their experiences prior to adoption. Many will have suffered trauma, neglect and abuse, the emotional impact of which may act as a barrier to their progress at school. This is why it’s imperative that all adoptive parents with school-age children get sight of this guide - so they can access the tools and advice available to help their children progress through education.”
PAC-UK’s guide is accompanied by easy to use resources that can be implemented in individual classrooms or across whole schools. The guide and all of its resources can be downloaded free.
Peter Sandiford, PAC-UK’s CEO, said: “This guide will help teachers make a real difference to the educational outcomes of adopted and permanently placed children who so often struggle in the learning environments of schools. It is informative and easy to use whilst being crammed full with helpful, practical resources, reflecting the increased awareness of the needs of adopted and permanently placed children in education. PAC-UK is proud to have produced this guide and accompanying resources in conjunction with the Department for Education.”
You can download Adoption UK's guide here: www.adoptionuk.org/resources/article/meeting-needs-adopted-and-permanently-placed-children
PAC-UK’s guide can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.pac-uk.org/education/
Adoption UK’s purpose is to give voice to adoptive families and to ensure that the right support is there for them. Anyone experiencing difficulties is urged to become a member of Adoption UK and contact our helpline.
Our helpline advisers offer practical suggestions, information and encouragement, or can point you in the right direction for specialist help. Wherever you are in the process, whatever difficulties you are having, make our helpline your first port of call.