I Can’t Believe It!

I can’t believe it!  I can’t believe it!

The first words we heard from our beautiful daughter when she came running out of the foster carers house.  She was fairly closely followed by big sister who stumbled towards us saying nothing and keeping her head down. They couldn’t believe their new family were finally here to meet them.

Well, we couldn’t believe it either.  After about two years going through the process of approval and matching, we were finally meeting our girls and becoming a family.  This weekend we went out for a family meal to celebrate our 8 years together.

Littley is still chatty and dramatic about events although much quieter than when we first met; Biggey still, mostly says as little as possible and although she doesn’t keep her head down these days, it’s very quick to go down at any given moment.

In those 8 years there’s an awful lot of things that have happened that I can’t believe I’ve lived through and experienced. It has been the most incredibly steep learning curve and one that I was not prepared for and could never have imagined.

When I began learning about effects of attachment, trauma, neglect, abuse, loss and how the children respond it made perfect sense to me.  Yet even when it all made sense, when I went to more conferences and training events I got to know more, I implemented everything I could, there’s still so much to content with.  I’m glad I know what I do, goodness knows what state we would be in as a family if I didn’t!

We lost friends and even family support along the way, yet we’ve gained some truly wonderful, supportive friends too.  Adoption has filled our lives in more ways than with just the girls.  It has also restricted our lives too and we certainly live life very differently to that which we imagined when we started the process.

So, here’s my top 10 things I can’t believe.

I can’t believe:

  1. That we were told “they just need firm boundaries”.
  2. That in 8 – 10 years since we entered the process things haven’t changed much.
  3. That it’s apparently OK that even now we are finding out crucial information from files which would explain just how terrible their early life was.
  4. That the education system is not able to accommodate my girl even with a Statement of Needs.
  5. That we are well known to the police (but they are very nice and helpful about it).
  6. That I have had to learn to restrain my children – I certainly wasn’t told that on the prep course!
  7. That there are so many days when I say I can’t do this anymore, then get up again the next day, finding strength from somewhere to carry on.
  8. That instead of continuing to work in the corporate world that I now have my own very small, but very flexible business.
  9. That I am campaigning for change in our LA so that the Virtual Head is involved with adopted children.
  10. That we have dog!  This really would never have happened if it wasn’t for Biggey’s intense needs but he’s almost the best thing we have done since the girls came.

Our Puppy

Getting the Best for Adopted Children in School

So, I was at the PAC-UK / Yorkshire & Humber Conference (Being Family) on Monday about Getting the Best for Adoption Children in School. ¬†Can I stress that these are only my notes (with my views in blue) there may be errors and omissions. Please don’t hold me to account! ūüôā

It was a packed agenda where a selection of Social Workers, Adopters and Schools¬†from the Y&H region were invited to attend. ¬†There was reasonable attendance from all areas, although I would have liked to have seen more from schools if I’m honest.

Being Family Logo https://adoptmum.wordpress.com

Even if you are not in Yorkshire & Humber, I hope there are some nuggets¬†in here that everyone would find helpful or provide hope of this type of support eventually becoming more widespread across all schools and Local Authorities! ¬†I’ve attempted to give the highlights.

Mick Gibbs, Chair of Regional Adoption Board began with some comments, most notably a mention that

Instead of School Inclusion and Exclusion,  think about School Attachment

Contrary to popular belief, care does make things better

Next up Sir Martin Narey.  He talked about adoption changes over the years and the number of myths surrounding adoption and breakdowns.  He said adopters were not treated well but that the process for recruitment has changed to improve that. There are still significant challenges with time taken for matching, behaviour of courts and the support fund being only available for one year. Personally, I believe we are still not treated well, we are still not respected and recognised as being a powerful force that can create a change in these children.

The issues are schooling can be solved quite easily with few changes because the issues do not disappear overnight.

There is nothing else like adoption for the ability to transform a life.

Sir Narey said that he is happy to be contacted by email and he attempts to answer every one received!

Education: from Rainbows to Reality

logopacukPAC-UK’s Chief Exec, and their refreshingly straight talking Education Psychologist Emma Gore Langton talked about there being a disconnect at all levels that there is a misguided view that adoption is ‘lovely’. Key things were that

  • Brain structure changes our view of the world – all this we know. ¬†(We do! ¬†I’m not sure everyone knows, certainly not all schools and educators).
  • A teacher will hold on to information about a child in misunderstood ‘confidentiality’. (They do! ¬†I’ve experienced that more than once much to the¬†detriment of my children!)
  • Schools are anxious about parents’ expectations, so they don’t communicate. ¬†There is particular difficulty in secondary schools. ¬†(Really? ¬†I agree they don’t communicate, agree secondary schools are particularly difficult. ¬†I’ve heard schools saying “we deal with in school” which may be a bigger reason for not communicating. ¬†I’ll give this the benefit of doubt!)
  • On exclusions, no real data but Adoption UK Survey said
    • more than 50% were at secondary schools
    • 1 in 5 children were age 6 or younger
    • there is serious impact on the most vulnerable children.
  • Education is a key reason for seeking post adoption support (true for me!)
  • Transition from primary to secondary increases stress on families according to Selwyn report. (absolutely! ¬†It has nearly broken my family)
  • Curriculum issues can trigger crisis (yes, and schools will not listen)
  • There is a DFE grant for schools in the Y&H region to become Attachment Aware. (Brilliant!)

Pupil Premium

Alan Clifton, The Virtual Head from North Yorkshire talked about Pupil Premium and even though I thought I knew lots about Pupil Premium he had some interesting perspectives.

There are 152 Local Authorities across the country and all have a Virtual School Head (VSH) responsible for Looked After Children (this is statutory now). That means that there are 152 ways to allocate Pupil Premium and it’s uses! ¬†DFE Guidance (from 2009) says “it is good practice for adopted children to be monitored”.

  • All adopters should find out who your local Virtual Head is.
  • Personal Education Plans (PEPs) are a good monitoring tool (although not statutory) but¬†helpful for progress, attainment, outcomes, relationships and even friendships, because it should cover Social and Emotional Wellbeing too. ¬†You can get a sample PEP from your VSH or from him (Alan Clifton).
  • Pupil Premium money is NOT ring-fenced for your adopted child. ¬†Schools can pool PP money for staffing, tracking, nurture groups etc.
  • You should work with the school to identify
    • barriers to learning,
    • specific learning needs,
    • how to ensure your child progresses
    • your child’s feelings¬†(that’s a big one for me, I find teachers talk ‘at’ rather than listen to my child)
  • The key thing is relationships! (Absolutely right, this is what is missing in their early lives and as human beings we all need those relationships, our children need them more so.)

A Special School’s Approach

There was a really lovely presentation by a Leeds special school about the work they did with a particularly troubled child.  They had some training from Family Futures and talked about what helped and what worked.

  • Key Needs are Communication, Consistency and Care.
  • Provide choices
  • Model behaviour, explain what that behaviour should look like and what it means.
  • Set limits and explain expectations
  • Be specific with wording (rather than “well done”, say “I really liked how you lined up”)
  • Pick your battles
  • Address the child’s sensory needs
  • Be aware of anxiety and stress

The most valuable resource?  HIS PARENTS! and the Adoption Social Worker.

(I wanted to jump for joy when they said parents were most valuable resource, because I, and many of us, feel we are ignored or not listened to. ¬†Yet there still seems to be a lack of understanding that we don’t all have social workers any more or any other professional support!)

Adopter Experiences

From the wonderful ladies Sarah, The Adoption Social and Amanda, The Open Nest.

Amanda and Sarah said everything I wished I was able to say! ¬†Both highlighting the inability to work when we have adopted children who struggle with life and school. ¬†Sarah mentioned there has been perhaps 3 weeks this year when both children have been in school “where they should be”. ¬†It is a full time job being “on call” for school so she can bring her child home. ¬†(Oh yes, I know that approach!)

Many adopters talk about schools trying to “force a square peg into a round hole”. ¬†(I wanted to stand up a cheer at this point! ¬†That’s exactly what I have been saying!)

Sarah went on to say that our children have a right to an education and they way they are treated does not help our children’s self esteem.

Can schools please find some square holes for our children?

Amanda explained about her issues with 3 different schools by the time Jazz was 8 years old before resorting to a version of Home Education. ¬†Highlighting that there are big groups of adopters who home education because they feel they have no choice. ¬†(I know! ¬†I’m been close to¬†that many times.)

If you do feel you have to Home Education, ensure your child stays on the school register so that you still have links and can hope to progress to a slow integration back into school.  Amanda had the same teacher at home for 10 hours and then the same at school.

It is useful to have some days at home as Therapy Days so families can invest in that time and reduce school stressors, work on attachment and have calm down time. ¬†(Whoop, whoop Amanda. ¬†That’s exactly what I arranged for Biggey last month. ¬†Although, it only happened because school said they can’t cope!)

When Amanda talked about friendship issues and the fact that “sometimes the only people at birthday parties were the teachers” there was a big ahhh all around me. ¬†Will it be enough to create a change though? ¬†I¬†certainly hope so.

There’s more. ¬†That will have to follow in blog part 2. ¬†For now, I’m linking up with #WASO.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Matters of Life and Death

What an eventful day I had on Monday!  It was already planned to be a fairly eventful day as I was due to attend the PAC-UK / Yorkshire Adoption Consortium Conference on Education (more of this in another post).

Whilst ploughing through the usual Monday morning routine, my Littley was a bit of a mess with fussy difficult behaviour. ¬†Often I will stop everything and give her the attention she needs, however, I didn’t really have time, so was doing my best to jolly things along and just get them both to school. ¬†We were nearly there and she¬†breaks down, wailing, weeping, (she’s very dramatic)

I think I’m going die.

Oh god. ¬†Here we go. ¬†Does it really have to be today? ¬†This morning? ¬†Of all mornings? (and some silent swearing ‚Ķ..) Whilst I’m busy drawing breath, composing myself to do some wondering she went on

There’s these big boys at school, keep saying they’re going to kill me ‚Ķ..

I manage to grab her and just cuddle, holding tightly to her shaking sobbing body and she continues

But they can’t really can they …

They would need a gun, it’s really the only way I can think of to kill someone, and you have to be 18 to have a gun don’t you? ¬†So they won’t have a gun, so they won’t be able to kill me, will they? ¬†Oh, I didn’t think of it like that.

Oh darling. ¬†Well done. ¬†You sorted that out yourself, just by talking about it. ¬†Isn’t that amazing.

Inside my head, as I’m sure you are thinking – she hasn’t figured that there are more ways to kill someone, that this is just a saying, that if someone is going to commit murder they are not going to be concerned about whether they are the right age to have that weapon or even if it is legal or not!

So here’s an 11 year old, thinking of things in a 3 year old way, expected to go to secondary school and function, safely, on her own, under threat, fearing for her life because of the stupid phrases that people use and the mindless threats that big boys make.

We avoided death – for that day.

Later, whilst in the conference, I got a text from school asking if I could give them a call. ¬†Erm, no actually I can’t, can they text me?

Oh, just wanted to update you.  Biggey is saying to people she is pregnant.

Marvellous! ¬†School said, we haven’t discussed it with her, cos she hasn’t said it direct to staff. ¬†Oh well, that’ll be fine then. ¬†I suppose you do the same response if one of those big boys is saying he’s got a gun in school???? ¬†More silent swearing, mid-conference.

Here is a girl who runs away, associates with the ones we’d rather she didn’t, is a prime target for exploitation and this could (if she ever went anywhere) be true. ¬†Lying is also a classic reaction in attachment difficulties. So they ignored it. ¬†Great.

I sent a long text back with detailed wording of what to say, how to say it. ¬†They did but oh, it needs so much managing that again I wonder if it’s worth it.

 

We are not pregnant.  No new baby.  No choosing baby names.  No knitting.  No reason to keep her off school!!!!!

Death and new life is not happening in the Safehouse just yet.

How ironic that all this happens on the day I’m at a conference about how to help these children in school.

 

Will My L.A. Help Adopted Children in Schools?

Last October, on the back of the marvellous work by @garethmarr as detailed in his blog , I tweeted my Local Authority and asked if they would do something about helping Adopted Children in schools. Surprisingly, I got a response asking me to come along and see what the Virtual Head was doing. Sounds great, although slightly puzzling because I hadn’t¬†heard of anything happening.

The meeting didn’t get fixed for ages but I remained hopeful and eventually met in February 2015 for the first meeting. ¬†I went along with a fellow adopter from our local support group and there was the Virtual Head, Director of Children’s Services and the Head of Adoption Support too.

Reason for Meeting

I positioned my reason for asking to meet. Explaining that at our support group, every time we meet there are school issues raised, that individual adopters are going into schools to teach and train the staff, which works quite well, providing the adopter has enough knowledge, feels comfortable doing that and that school will allow us in!  I asked explained that we then have to continue to go in year on year to update, starts again with next member of staff, or whatever.  Is also expressed how difficult it is do this when the child goes to secondary schools (as I have experienced) because there are so many teachers and members of staff and in any event, the schools are reluctant to let you in.

I mentioned Gareth’s success in his LA and I asked if it was possible for this LA to work with us to look at using training and pupil premium money to cascade down something more helpful at has a longer term impact. ¬†I ¬†also highlighted (as we all know) that this will have a positive impact on our children in the school. ¬†I gave the usual Pupil Premium spiel, that the government recognises these children need additional help etc etc.

Hurdles

There was some discussion about how difficult it was to identify adopters because our LA do not place within the authority. I asked them to use the school census to begin to identify, to also use their adopter records along with records that could potentially be found from the support groups. There was also a suggestion about promoting things via Twitter and other places to encourage adopters to get in touch.  (Tick, one hurdle dealt with).

 

The Initial Outcome

By the end of that meeting, they were going to take it forward and agreed to do a few things:

  • Look at gathering information about adopters,
  • Look at the available funding from pupil premium
  • Look at some sort of central training across the authority
  • Get message out to Head Teachers

We asked to meet again in a couple of months to review the situation. ¬†It was step in the right direction, yet I wasn’t about to start singing and dancing about it yet!

The Follow Up

We met again in middle of April and I wasn’t feeling that hopeful. My contacts in schools had not particularly heard anything and we had not seen any information about contacting adopters. ¬†However, it was better than I thought!

They had done quite a bit of work and

  • Have been in touch with other nearby Local Authorities to see what they are doing and share information
  • They have identified how many adopted children there are in each school.
  • Looked at some case studies (in addition to the ones recently released by BAAF).
  • Looked at what training was available
  • Looked at providing information to schools.
I explained that there are a number of booklets, leaflets and helpful documents around that could be used for this.  (I probably have copies of all of them so will be sending them those soon!)

Latest Situation

By the end of this meeting there is

  • Identify an adoption lead in each school (probably the one responsible for Looked After Children, as it would make sense to extend their role)
  • Provide training to schools and the Adoption Support Team. ¬†This is looking at providing training in schools, rather than having staff go outside of school and outside working hours (as I had said that relies on them being willing to that).
  • Raise the profile of how staff talk to children has a huge impact
  • Explain how the usual shame-based sanctions are so detrimental.
  • Brief all Head Teachers and Governors at the next LA briefing session
  • Put together a “working party” to develop an information booklet of guidance to schools where my fellow adopter and I will be part of this, along with (a very good) Ed Psych and others.
  • Extend PEP (Personal Education Plans) to all children which will be reviewed termly.
  • Have Pupil Passports for all adopted children
  • The Director of Children’s Services is also going to come along to a meeting of the local Adoption Support Group!
So, quite a productive meeting and more work and meetings still in the pipeline.
It’s good that they are keeping me involved. ¬†At times though, I do get slightly peeved that I am doing all this as an voluntary adviser. ¬†I do also wonder if any of it will ever by effectively in place in time for my children. ¬†Yet, I keep going, living in hope of better support, better provision for all adoptive children so that it has a positive impact on the parents too and reduce the #adoptionschoolstrain.
Now, where do I send the bill for being a consultant advisor????

Continue reading

Just Get On With It

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. ūüėĄ

Children Who Fail

Our kids already feel they are rubbish, no good, failures, failing because of their early life experiences. The way we are treated shapes our brain, shapes our view of ourself and the world around us. Adopted and Looked After children are removed because they have been severely mis-treated, neglected, abused. It’s has to be really bad to taken into care.  So, they have to have suffered significant terrible early experiences. This does not just disappear in a puff of smoke when they “find a new family”.  

The SATs Tests

They struggle at school; with relationships, friendships, with brain functioning, with feeling safe and now our lovely government (who reckon they’ve done loads for adopted children) have now decided they are going to increase the pressure on SATs tests.    Not only will they have to endure these tests in Year 6, now they will have to re-sit in Year 7 if they don’t get the required result.  This will simply and very effectively re-inforce their view of themselves and the world.  So, we are again going to saying to these children you failed, you are not good enough, you got it wrong, do it again.  For what gain?

The result of a test, exam, certificate or qualification is not a true reflection of anyone’s academic ability or knowledge. The politicians themselves are proof of this aren’t they! 

The Wider Impact

This is not just going to affect our adopted children.  There are many other children in schools with underlying issues, separation anxiety, Looked After, young carers, young people with mental health issues, those who still live in families with domestic violence, drug and alcohol dependant adults, poor housing, poverty and the rest. All these children are going into school every day struggling to settle to be able to learn. Then this pressure and expectation is put on them and raises their anxiety hugely so they cannot think clearly on a daily basis, never mind in SATs week. 

Both my children are at secondary school now yet this idea still beggars belief.  At their old primary school they already have many of the above-mentioned children in their school and did try to use the information I was able to provide about how adopted and traumatised children function. They implemented knowledge and methods across many pupils in the school. Most evident was the sensory calming tools and techniques that could be used in the classroom and even during the SATs tests. Things like having something to suck or chew on to calm and aid concentration. Having things to fiddle with and items to squeeze also helped. 

Did all this help SATs result? Maybe, who would ever know?
Did it change the way these kids feel about themselves? No. 
Even if they did achieve Level 4 will they begin to believe in themselves? No

What’s the point of the whole thing anyway when there’s going to be more changes to the way children are measured when they bring in “assessing without levels” as detailed here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/assessment-without-levels-commission-announced. So will a level 4 even be a level 4 if there are to be no more levels. Maybe they’ll end up being a 4, or maybe a carrot, banana, goat or maybe even a D (for dunce perhaps?!). 

Does anyone in this government really know what on earth they are doing?  Are they even talking to each other?  

The Government admit that they recognise adopted children struggle at school and so provide Pupil Premium for them. Are these same people talking to those who say these children “who struggle at school” will have to “re-sit SATs”!  Is this really about children failing tests? Or are politicians failing our children?

There’s also so much in media at the moment about Mental Health and how schools need to help improve children’s mental health. Maybe they do. This testing, re-testing, measuring, judging, labelling is not going to improve their mental health either. How does this improve self esteem?  Can they increase their resilience and bounce back from the stress and anxiety of failing or getting not-good-enough SATs results? Even if they can, it’s still chipping away at any confidence they might have. 

Overall, what message does SATs tests and re-sitting give?  It reminds me of football spectators chanting

“You’re sh*! And you know you are” 


I think I know who I will be chanting at!

Cards on the Table

After the last blog post where I was waiting for a social worker to visit me on the Monday – they actually came on the Thursday!  No surprise really and that probably only happened because of my husbands skillful handling of phone calls and explainations.

Meanwhile, on the Monday, Biggey didn’t come home after school. School were so concerned about her they checked at4pm and asked me ring the police (again) and so we made yet another report of child missing. She rang home eventually from friends house and we collected her about 7pm.

On Tuesday whilst I was at work, school had rung hubby to say she had left school site and could he come.  It wasn’t even lunchtime. He had explain this to his boss too!  On his arrival at school, Biggey was back on school site but running rampage and managed to take a significant bite out of hubby when he tried to get her to car. As awful as this is, we were kind of pleased that school witnessed this.

Their final words were that they couldn’t cope with her in school and she should stay at home until after our (pre-planned) meeting on Thursday. Oh dear!!!!

Wednesday was difficult as both hubby and I were supposed to be working and in our type of work it’s not easy to just not go, to phone in sick or something else. Reluctant Grandparents stepped in from 25 miles away and juggled Biggey around caring for 90 year old Nanna.

Thursday arrived and so did two Social Workers. One from Safeguarding and one from Post Adoption. They were sorry that the Adopter Worker from last October was not available so sent someone else. Didn’t matter to me!  Turns out to be a bit of a result that we got this lady. She knew her stuff.  Saw us and Biggey could see the shame in Biggey straight away. I got Biggey to say a few words about how she was and what she thought of school. I then got Biggey to take puppy for walk. During that time I played them my videos of Biggey in meltdown. She totally got that we had a teen replaying early trauma. Yippee.   Poor Mr Safeguarding just sat and took notes!

We persuaded them to come along to the meeting at school that morning.

Later at school

12 of us squashed round the table (school were not expecting my entourage!). I’d even managed to get Camhs to come along too!  After introductions the new school Senco drafted outline of agenda.  I felt for her, she was new, was trying to make an impression. She would have done OK too, except recent events made this no ordinary review meeting.

I let her have about 5 minutes of her planned agenda the interrupted and explained that things had moved on significantly.

I played my videos, first of Littley saying how scared she was to live in our house at the moment. The second of Biggey in full meltdown. It lasted 50 seconds.  50 seconds until someone said can you turn it off.

I did turn it off. At the same time I pointed out that we are living with that noise, that violence, that aggression, that trauma, every single day. That particular episode lasted for over 3 hours the previous weekend and started again later in the day. I asked them to keep that sound in heir minds for duration of the meeting.

OK. So now I had their attention and I wasn’t about to let it go.

I reminded them that they had now said they couldn’t cope with Biggey. We were struggling to cope with Biggey. I wanted her at that school if they will still have her, yet we have to all acknowledge that she is struggling and currently plans are not working. I also pointed out that her Statement says it has concerns about whether she will manage Secondary school at all.

I was on a roll, I told them I was putting my cards in the table and it’s up to them to push back and tell me what can and cannot be done. (Deep breath)

She needs,

  • 2 days at school in higher support with specialist provision and more training of staff
  • 2 days in specialist therapeutic provision of (a local) farm school
  • 1 day at home with me to ensure time to re-connect / build attachment / work with Adoption support.

They nodded!  They bloody well nodded.

What? Really?  Surely it’s not that easy?

No, it’s not that easy!!

They did admit she is the most complex child they have ever had. (Wished they listened to me in first place then)

They also said its going to take time and need approval to get these things in place and that means protocol and red tape and Education Panels and places to be available. They did agree to make phone calls that day to speed things up.

In the meantime they will also request a provision for home tutoring (although home tutors do not tutor at home!!)  so that will need to be somewhere Biggey feels safe.  Libraries are often used apparently but may not be suitable for Biggey so I’m going to have to sort that out and pull some strings somewhere (slightly peeved that I have to sort that).

They have now asked that I go into school and talk to staff involved with Biggey – oh yes, that’s fine I said. (Slightly peeved that I offered last year and was told – by different people – that ‘it would not be appropriate’).

At my request, Adoption Support are going to begin an assessment in readiness for the Adoption Support fund rolling out in May.

I haven’t even mentioned the bits where I tweeted the Chief Exec of LA or emailed the Director of Children’s Services and Head of Special Needs.   I think they know who I am now. 

So the ball is rolling for change. A lot of this is what I asked for in October last year. Yet I asked different people with different evidence. Such a shame that it came to this.  So wrong that it all depends who you ask, when you ask, how you ask, how pushy you are and how bad it is.

That said, when schools go back on Monday after Easter holidays I have no idea where Biggey is supposed to go and I am probably left to sort that out myself too.