Littley was left alone and hungry for long periods of time. Very long periods. Taken into care at 22 months and coming to us weeks before her 4th birthday. She has BIG issues with abandonment. Understandable don’t you think?
She’s now in Year 7 at Secondary School and is just about dealing with the huge change. I’ve pushed for some key adult to check in with her frequently in order to build a relationship with a key adult. It’s happening, slowly, painfully and with many calls from me to push, react, inform, ask, remind and explain. It’s tiring, time consuming and tedious; it’s very necessary.
My latest call was about supporting her right now. In addition to the issues at home caused by Biggey (which are making her feel very insecure), she had friendship issues and an impending overnight school trip.
I was explaining that when her friend says
“I’m not your friend any more”
She feels very abandoned all over again. She will then fuss more, seek attention more, annoy her friend more and generally make matters worse. She’s also one of a group of 3 girls no that’s not a good combination! I asked that they look at some specific friendship and relationship help for her in school and also see if they can pinpoint some other girls who have not formed great friendship in her classes and see if she can be grouped with them on the school trip.
A discussion took place and then the school said
At some point she will just have to get on with it
Now this person was previously the lead safeguarding staff member in school! You would think they know a bit more wouldn’t you! Clearly not.
Into my (very well rehearsed) speech. It went along the lines of
Maybe she will, yet it is well documented that children from difficult backgrounds have trouble building relationships, that means friendships too. That’s also the reason you are frequently checking in with her. The government recognises these children need extra help and support, the school do get additional funding for her with Pupil Premium. It may be that if she is left to ‘just get on with it’ then she will become so anxious and stressed about being alone that she will not concentrate on lessons because the fear of being alone at the next break time is too terrible for her. I wonder how that will help her attainment and progress? I wonder too what will happen if that escalates even further and she struggles to attend school at all? (I’ve already said she didn’t want to come to school today.) I wonder how often her anxiety and stress and associated illnesses will occur and how will that affect her work and school results? I wonder if it would be much more beneficial for everyone if she is helped and encouraged into making more friends so that she can do this with supportive scaffolding and so reduce her worry and anxiety and improve her ability to engage in all areas of school life?
“Yes, OK. I’ll see what we can do” they said.
“Good. Thank you” I said. Then hung up – and swore – a lot.
Then I gave up a quiet message of thanks to Mr Dan Hughes for his teachings about “wondering”. It get results with more than just the children. 😄