We Are Family


Welcome to our We Are Family Education page.

We hope the links and resources below will be helpful in talking to schools and teachers about your children. We’ve gathered a range of documents, information and tools, some shorter and others more detailed, so we encourage you to browse through them to find what best suits your needs.

This page is regularly being updated and checked. If you have ideas on things to add please contact us at

We also recommend looking at our video resource page. Time pressed teachers (and parents) may be more like to watch a short intro video in the first instance.

Please note that if nothing happens when you press a link, it is because the link is to a PDF. The file should be in your download folder.

General information on the adopted child in school for staff and parents

These are documents that we think are good places to start.

Supporting care-experienced children and young people during the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath from the British Psychological Society

Developmental Trauma Close Up from Beacon House. An excellent 29 page document with clear explanations of how developmental trauma can show itself at home and at school, and strategies which may help. Highly recommended. Image or information courtesy of Beacon House Therapeutic Services & Trauma Team | 2019 |

Let’s Learn Together from Adoption UK Northern Ireland – a really detailed document (46 pages) covering lots of aspects of what makes adoption different, areas of difficulty and the school environment.

Why Are These Children Any Different article by Helen Oakwater – a good, brief and accessible overview in a four-page document.

Key Information About Schools for Parents and Special Guardians from PAC-UK – an explanation of school systems, the terminology, who staff are, etc.

Me and My World from PAC-UK – a six-page document for parents to fill out, that creates a framework for adoptive families to share important information about the child’s strengths, needs, triggers and support preferences.

Thinking about Goodbye and Transisitions some brief practical ideas from PAC-UK.

Statutory Guidelines for Designated Teachers and Virtual Schools

Department for Education Guidelines - the full text of this guidance from government coming into force in September 2018.

Adoption UK’s summary of the key points for Virtual Schools

Adoption UK's summary of key points for Designated Teachers and adopted children

Excellence in Education Plan (EEP) by Achieving for Children – from the Kingston and Richmond Virtual School website, an example of a potential information and tracking document for schools.

Meeting the Needs of Adopted and Permanently Placed Children

As of October 2017 the Department for Education commissioned PAC-UK and Adoption UK to publish two complementary
education guides, for school staff and adoptive parents respectively, to help ensure adopted children get the best possible educational start in life. Both guides are full of detail, facts and figures, case studies and also useful links to other resources and books suggestions.

Meeting the Needs of Adopted and Permanently Placed Children - A Guide for Adoptive Parents from Adoption UK includes information about Virtual School Heads (VSHs), Designated Teachers (DTs), Priority School Admission, Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) and dedicates two pages to Intercountry Adoption and Schools.

Meeting the Needs of Adopted and Permanently Placed Children - A Guide for School Staff from PAC-UK covers a range of topics including: what is known about our children in education, a background to early developmental trauma, whole school approaches, and support for schools and families.

To complement the PAC-UK guide for school staff they have published a range of free resources, in particular we recommend the set of strategy cards for easy access during the school day, which can be found here.

More information about the DfE funded Education Project with Adoption UK and PAC-UK can be found here.

Brief guides for school staff aimed at different stages of school

All of these documents are particularly accessibly formatted and easily digestible.

Welcoming An Adopted Child to Your Primary School from Adoption UK.

Survival In School - Primary Version from Innerworld Work.

Welcoming An Adopted Child to Your Secondary School from Adoption UK.

Survival in School - Secondary Version from Innerworld Work.

Questions to ask when choosing a school for your child

Key Questions for Primary Schools from PAC-UK.

Key Questions for Secondary Schools from PAC-UK.

Pupil Premium Plus Information

Guide to Using the Pupil Premium Plus Grant Effectively from Squareone Attachment is a really excellent document full of practical ideas and strategies which are all costed out.

PP+ guide from Adoption UK

PP+ information from After Adoption

PP+ guide from PAC-UK

General weblinks on education and training

There is a lot of training available for schools, some of it at no cost to the school. Also we recommend getting in touch with your local borough’s Virtual School team, who will soon formally have responsibility for adopted as well as looked after children and may already have local training provisions in place. Here are three key places to start.

Adoption UK education resources

PAC-UK education resources

Family Futures school services page

The Adoptables School Toolkit from Coram is a free resource for schools with lesson plans, teacher's guidance films and activities for KS2 and KS3 to enable students and staff to understand the issues faced by adopted children in school.

Quick look infographic sheets

Some useful very brief guides to some of the facts and figures around adopted children in education.

Adoption UK’s Exclusions Survey

Open Minds Adverse Childhood Experiences info sheet

Other Useful free resources

Schools, Education and Adoption is an excellent blog from Stuart Guest with thoughts, news and views from a headteacher about supporting the needs of adopted children in schools. Stuart is a birth father, adoptive father and headteacher of a primary school in Birmingham.

Beacon House Therapeutic Services and Trauma Team - offers a range of really good downloadable free resources. In particular look out for ‘Attachment Strategies in the Classroom’ a two-page document about how avoidant and preoccupied attachment patterns can present in the classroom and what can help. We also recommend looking at The Repair of Early Trauma, A Bottom Up Approach.

Innerworld Work – a wide range of free resources for parents, home and schools.

Getting It Right for Every Child is an older edition of this document from Adoption UK Wales but we think the clear practical tips on pages 11-13 may be especially useful.

Braveheart Education – has some free downloadable guides such as ‘The Top 20 Tips for Working With Your School’ and ‘Guide to Attachment and Trauma In Educational Settings’.

Calmer Classrooms - a guide to working with traumatised children - published by the Queensland Departments of Education and Children’s services in Australia. Some of this is Australia specific but it has an excellent description of the effects of attachment disruption, trauma and child development impact on learning.

Adoption UK and PAC-UK campaign info

Attachment Aware Schools campaign from Adoption UK.

The Adoption Friendly School Charter from PAC-UK.

Special Educational Needs

Here are a few links we like from organisations which may be able to offer help, advice and support.

Contact - for families with disabled children.

Ipsea - independent parental special educational advice.

Sendiass - special educational needs and disabilities information, advice and support service.

Sos-Sen - an independent helpline for Special Educational Needs.