This resource booklet has been compiled by a working group of professionals focused on the needs of care-experienced children and young people in Northern Ireland’s schools.
It is based on the Let’s Learn Together booklet produced by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board (HSCB)/Adoption UK and written by Sheila Lavery. Although this original booklet was targeted at primary schools, the attitude and strategies can be adapted for children and young people of all ages and this is reflected in the resource booklet.
The purpose of the resource booklet is to give all school staff an insight into how early relational trauma affects child development, why school can be challenging for care-experienced children, and how we can help to improve the education of all children by paying attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. Although this booklet focuses on care-experienced children, the information also applies to any child living with loss and the effects of trauma. Certain common areas of difficulty are highlighted and various tips and ideas suggested.
As children look to adults to give them a sense of safety and self-worth, it is worth remembering that our attitude towards them and our relationship with them can make a huge difference to how well they manage the school experience. This “attitude” is critical regardless of whether or not children or young people qualify for additional support in school, so it is emphasised throughout the booklet.