Children who spend time in care are more likely to face difficulties in school compared to their classmates, through no fault of their own. Pre-care experiences of trauma, the disruption associated with entering the care system, and frequent changes to where they live and where they go to school can often put them at a disadvantage in the classroom. However, we know that the right support from teachers can make a huge difference, with many children in care performing well and enjoying their time in school each year.
When we spoke to over 400 teachers as part of our research report, Teachers Who Care, we found that teachers frequently began teaching without a good understanding of the care system and the impact it can have on children. This often left them struggling to catch up on school policies and without the knowledge of how to best support the looked after children in their school.
Teachers want the best for all of their students. Unfortunately, the teachers we spoke to were frustrated that they didn’t always have the right training and support to help deliver this for their students who were in care or had previously been in care. Better pre-qualification training and continuing professional development, whole-school awareness of trauma, and good support from the local authority could all contribute to improving the happiness and wellbeing of children in care, as well as helping them achieve their potential in school.
We fully support Adoption UK’s call for reforms to the Teachers’ Standards. These amendments could help benefit all children who have been through adverse childhood experiences and trauma, not just those in care.