Looked After Children (LAC) and Previously Looked After (Post-LAC) Children
At Meadlands, we have a number of children who are adopted or being fostered, having previously been in the care of the local authority.
The Headteacher (Mrs Sophie McGeoch) is the named lead teacher for LAC and Post-LAC children and is supported in this role by one of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (Miss Jessica Bunker). However we don't just work together, success comes from positive and collaborative work with the children, their families and other agencies such as Health and Social Care. Together we are able to understand the potential challenges a Post-LAC child may face and find ways to overcome these in order to achieve the best possible personal, social and academic outcomes for the children.
Through well planned CPD the school has developed the whole staff’s understanding and expertise in Attachment Theory and management of children with additional needs. We have worked with a variety of professionals from The Virtual School, to Psychologists to Occupational Therapists.
We are an attachment aware school and having completed a year-long CPD culminating in an award: The Achieving for Children's Attachment Aware School Award. This piece of work has influenced our work in school and is shaping our new behaviour policy (2021/22). In addition to this the Headteacher is completing a post-graduate diploma at Roehampton University on Attachment Theory and Research (2021/22).
The school has worked hard to develop a network for foster and adopted parents. We found great benefit from bringing these families together who have a shared and unique experience. This came from a piece of collaborative work the school undertook with a highly regarded Occupational Therapist, Ms Tanya Van Dalen, where upon a set of 4 parenting sessions were formed ' Nurture & Grow a Parenting & Child Attachment and Sensory Group' delivered to all our 'Post-Lac' families:
Feedback from Ms Van Dalen: I am an Occupational Therapist with a particular interest in children with sensory processing needs for example those that has autism or attention deficit disorders as well as children who have experienced trauma. Working with the 'Meadlands family' this year has been a pleasure. In September the staff and I spent time during an Inset day learning about how trauma can impact on a child's development and behaviour. In the new year we will learn more about what sensory processing is and how this can affect a child’s learning. The staff have been incredible at taking on this information and making changes in school so that each child can reach their full potential.
Feedback from a parent: Meadlands school goes out of its way to follow their ethos of ‘being kind’ by working above and beyond. For example, the Headteacher liaised with a wonderful Occupational Therapist whom she met on a training day, who has specialist knowledge and experience of working with children with sensory issues and had also experience in attachment disorder /developmental disorders.
The school immediately set up a free 4 session workshop for parents (including childcare offered by the senior leadership team) for parents with children in the school with Specialist needs. As a parent, I learned lots . It’s the shared management of the child’s needs both at home and at school that can lead to a more effective outcome for the children - shared team working. The aim of the workshop was to educate the parents about early brain development and how to understand, identify and manage sensory disorders and developmental trauma/disorders. . The forum was also to try and set up a mini network/support group which was another great idea as one can feel very isolated and feel alone when parenting children with special needs. It was a huge success and as parents we picked up lots of new parenting techniques, greater understanding, met other wonderful Meadlands parents.
Parents are welcome to make an appointment with the Headteacher to discuss the school’s provision. Other useful sources of information are: