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Every new school year since the eldest started, we have had a meeting with a new SENCo. The new SENCo always tells us that they have no information about the children. They didn’t know they were adopted. They weren’t aware that there was any funding attached to them. They didn’t know anything of their back story, despite me providing annually updated ‘passports’ of key information to their new teachers.

I’m grinding my teeth as I write this.

We asked this year’s SENCo, wasn’t she supposed to be privy to that sort of information, about the most vulnerable students? She agreed that it would be helpful, but that the safeguarding leads were reticent about sharing it.

She listened really well to us, this new SENCo, and gave the appearance of both understanding and agreeing with our concerns about the kids’ needs being largely ignored by the school. She made notes about actions, unlike most of her predecessors. But WILL she act? Or will she give us the sympathetic face at meetings and do absolutely nothing in the times between?

Maybe, as has repeatedly happened, she will put key activities and supportive adults in place and then cancel them without telling us. For example, both our kids were disclosing to the TA running some of their interventions last year. We found out today that that lady had left in June and nothing had been put in place afterwards. The school did not think we needed to be told.

This school, striving for an Outstanding rating, is doing really well with its SATs results. It has also made its nurture room into a cloakroom, got rid of its counsellor, refused free trauma training, locked up the records of its vulnerable children so that the SENCo can’t see them, spent money on astroturf instead of a dedicated TA for a class… the list goes on.

While we’ve been there, we’ve had to rely upon the hardworking teachers; individuals valiantly covering or making up for their leaders’ lack of care. You don’t get a great teacher every year though, do you?

So why not leave? Well, transitions aren’t our favourite thing. But if the school doesn’t sort itself out this year, I think we really should go.

Fingers are crossed for the latest SENCo and, this term, we’ve finally managed to get CAMHS to give us some back up. Someone there is chasing the Virtual Head who SHOULD, in turn, investigate whether my children are getting their due. That is all we want – to know that they’re getting the things they are entitled to. Why is that so hard for the school to understand?

Sorry Is Not About Shame

As an adopter who is also a teacher, I read last week’s blog with interest. It got me thinking about how we can square the needs of the children, the parents and yes, the teachers.

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Say You're Sorry

One of the hardest areas for me as an adoptive parent is to help others understand why saying sorry is not appropriate for our son.  I was very much reminded of this just yesterday.

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Missing Dad

My husband has just come back from four nights away. For many families, there’s nothing unusual in that. Weekends away and work trips are regular occurrences, and many families take them in their stride. It is unusual for us, though. In the four years since the boys came to live with us, I’ve never spent a night away from them, and my husband has only been away twice, each time for two nights. 

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That Niggling Feeling

Here is the last blog of our 'Therapy' series. Trusting your instincts can be very hard to do when you start out in adoption. But, as we go further into our parenthood, we realise that we're usually right. This mother felt that constant demands to play just weren't quite 'normal' - and eventually sought help in family therapy. 

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A Whole Different Story

In the fifth of our 'Therapy' series our blogger recalls heart-breaking hostility from her daughter. When they turned to The Great Behaviour Breakdown, a shift in thinking enabled life-changing shifts in their relationship.

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The Wrong Therapy

The wrong therapeutic intervention doesn't help - and can be dangerous. The writer of our fourth 'Therapy series' blog shares how her home life and relationship with her son was compromised, and gives valuable advice on finding the right approach for your child.

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Freedom

In the third blog of our 'Therapy' series, we are privileged that an adult adoptee is writing for us. Early trauma sows the seeds of low self-esteem before adoptive parents are even on the scene. But how can therapy help, later on?

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Music Lessons

Welcome to the second in our 'Therapy' series. This account of a wonderful music therapist just proves the power of a professional who gives their all.

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Little Conflicts Everywhere

This is the first of our series of blogs about therapy. Over the next weeks we will hear from people who've loved it, hated it, abandoned it and thrived on it. We're starting with The Great Behaviour Breakdown. This is a brilliant account of conflict mounting, mounting... and how GBB therapeutic parenting can turn down the heat.

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