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Discovering Why Children In Foster Care Are Succeeding At School

Being a foster carer is an extremely exciting time for you and your family, especially when you can see a foster child becoming more familiar and self-assured in surroundings which were once unfamiliar to them.

As a leading independent fostering agency that continuously strives to support, encourage and motivate our foster carers, we understand the importance of education in relation to the positive development of children in foster care.

In fact, the Independent recently reported that a study conducted by the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol discovered that children in foster care now achieved higher than average GCSE grades.

One area in which the study focused upon was the safe and stable environments that foster children were being able to grow up in.

At Perpetual Fostering, this is a point of view that we certainly echo, as we pride ourselves in our ability to offer vulnerable children and young people a loving and caring foster family that will allow them to develop both inside and outside of the home.

Our specialised matching process

Whilst we’ll always allow our foster carers to have the final say on whether they would like to accept a placement or not, our specialised matching process is designed to ensure that the perfect fit is found.

Finding the perfect fit is not only crucial to the success of any long term fostering relationship, but it also provides a solid foundation that helps children in foster care to improve school attendance levels and grades.

A dedicated team providing round-the-clock support

We’re always here to help our foster families and we believe that a strong school environment is built upon the care, support and attention that we provide on a daily basis.

As a result of the training and guidance, as well as the safeguarding children in foster care courses that we provide all our foster carers, we have recently been commended by Ofsted on our low rates of disruption within the home and at school.

Aside from working closely with all existing and potential foster carers, we feel that a collaborative approach is also imperative with local schools and education providers to ensure that all foster children within our care are given the greatest opportunities to achieve.

Working in partnership with local schools

Naturally, we’ll try and make sure that a child has the ability to retain their place at the same school, as well as be on hand to supply teachers and school staff with as much information as they require.

In addition to this level of support, we also have our own virtual head who offers advice and support to foster parents surrounding the education curriculum and also strategies for enhancing education performance.

There are clearly many reasons why children in foster care are succeeding at school, to which we feel that the important work carried out by our big-hearted foster families to help children within our care become bright, confident and caring young people has played a massive role.

At Perpetual Fostering, we’re always on the lookout for more generous and enthusiastic people to join our fostering community. If you would love to find out more information about what fostering involves and the benefits of becoming a foster carer, don’t hesitate to apply online today.

Taking a foster child into your home is one of the most rewarding things you can do for a child who is unable to live with their birth parents. As an independent fostering agency that is here to help, support and train our foster carers from day one, we know that the secret to a successful fostering placement is not confined to the home.

We are extremely passionate about providing all foster children with a sense of normality and continuity, as this helps to make a child become a lot more comfortable and confident within their surroundings. We often see school life as being one of the most effective ways of achieving this level of stability.

Foster Children in School

For all children and young people, school can offer the comfort of a familiar place amongst a sea of scary changes. Here at Perpetual Fostering we share this view, and it’s the sole reason why we’ll always ensure that every foster child has the chance to retain their place at school.

Given we look after children from right across the North West and Midlands area, it is important that we have a range of carers from across the areas to enable us to cover all school provisions.

We strongly believe that routine and consistency can be promoted within the school environment by having a healthy school attendance. As a result of the encouragement and support that we constantly provide to all our foster families, it has been recognised that our foster children now benefit from having improved school attendance levels.

In addition to the reassurance and guidance offered by our experienced social workers and wider fostering community, we also feel that success within the school environment is dependent on all foster children having a safe, secure and stable placement.

As a result, our unique matching process is designed to ensure that we find the perfect fit to help benefit the long term relationship of all our foster families and children.

Supporting involvement within the school environment

For life at school to be successful for foster children, it is not only important that willingness is shown to help retain each child’s place at a particular school, unless it’s within their best interest not to, but there should also be continuous support and interest from all individuals involved to ensure that it is effective in the long run. Our virtual head provides advice and support to foster carers to ensure this is maintained.

More specifically, we work closely with local schools and colleges to make sure that all education professionals are fully equipped with the advice and information they require to help all foster children succeed. By doing so, we can help to limit potential behavioural problems, improve attendance levels and allow each child to achieve their academic potential.

Naturally, all foster parents will have a considerable interest in their child’s performance at school or college, and as leading independent fostering agency, this is something that we actively support and recommend.

Enthusiastic parents that aim to stay in regular contact with teachers and school support workers with regards to academic achievements and any behavioural issues, are likely to benefit from a happy and thriving relationship with their foster children, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Other ways in which we see that a healthy school life can be developed by our foster carers is by being on hand to help out with homework and to encourage children to partake in extra-curricular clubs and activities.

At Perpetual Fostering we take the role of education very seriously. With the help, support and training that we constantly provide to local schools, as well as our foster families and children, we often find that a stable and successful school life can easily be achieved.

If you would like to receive more information about joining a fostering agency that truly cares about their foster carers, then don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced member of our team today.

So first of all, what exactly is a CV? CV stands for Curriculum Vitae and it is a document which gives an overview of your skills, education, work experience and qualifications. It is used when you apply for a job so that your employer can see who you are and why they should hire you. If you’re in your final year of school or you are a school leaver, you may not have a good understanding of how to write a CV and why it is so important. So here are a few tips to get you started.

Understand what needs to be on your CV
On your first CV, you may find it hard to fill some areas as you won’t have had much work experience, so you could focus more on the skills you think you possess or any responsibilities you’ve had either in school or at an extra-curricular club. The main section headers you could use are:

  • Personal Details
  • Education
  • Skills and Achievements
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Ambitions
  • References

Take a look at examples
There are hundreds of resources online that you could use to gain some guidance and inspiration when writing your CV. There are lots of examples of good CVs that you can use to see what kind of layout you should use and what kind of information to include on your CV.

Ask for help
Your carers or parents will probably have lots of experience in writing a CV because it’s such a crucial document in your working life. They’ll know a lot about you too, so they can help you on areas such as your skills or personal qualities that would make you employable.

We’re pleased to let everyone know that we have published our updated 2015 Statement of Purpose. In line with the extremely positive appraisal from Ofsted, we decided it would be an ideal time to bring our overall mission in line with the progress we’ve made since our previous assessment.

Our main aim remains the provision of safe, high quality foster care provisions for children and young people. Complimenting this is our approach: through such carefully-arranged placements, we value, support and encourage each and every child to grow and develop as individuals.

Our service strives to consistently promote the health and general wellbeing of these vulnerable youngsters. In doing so, we’ve committed ourselves – since we were established in 2005 – to encouraging foster carers to go tirelessly above and beyond. This means enabling children to enjoy their childhood, while facilitating their educational attainment.

In terms of Services and Facilities, Perpetual Fostering will continue to offer the following services:

  • Emergency placements
  • Short term foster care (with the view of reunification with immediate/extended family)
  • Respite/short term breaks for children with complex health needs
  • Foster care for those in need of long-term placements
  • Long-term foster care for children in need of permanence
  • Staying Put arrangements
  • A robust matching process, carefully matching the needs of children with a diverse roster of foster parents
  • Placements for young people in need of semi-independence
  • Step Down/Wrap Around services for children and young people moving from residential care in to a fostering placement.

Regarding our Principles and Standards of Care, we continue to maintain our high standards via our robust quality assurance framework, which is bolstered nicely by regular reviews of our services provision. We actively seek feedback from everyone who comes into contact with our services: from foster carers, birth children, partner agencies, and as many fostered children and young people as possible. Both of these important factors help us to consistently strive for improvement of what we offer.

We strongly encourage you to read our Statement of Purpose – now available in the ‘About Us’ section of this website. We’d love to hear what you think, so please do get in touch to share your thoughts.

At Perpetual Fostering, we’re delighted to have some fantastic news to share with everyone! Ofsted’s inspection report – carried out at the end of October 2014 – of our services provision has been published, and is now available for members of the public to view on their website.

In this report, under every single aspect of the care services delivered by us, we were rated as “Good”, which is a fantastic reflection of how we have continually strived to improve. A detailed break down of the assessment is as follows:

Overall Effectiveness rating: Good
We’re immensely proud to be recognised as an agency “that strives to improve the outcomes of children and young people across all aspects of their development”. It also outlines our core commitment to high quality care, “built upon stable and successful placements, where unplanned endings are minimal”.

Experiences and progress of children and young people: Good
Here Ofsted have recognised that children in stable placements feel very much a part of their family. They’re also aided in adjusting to their placements, having access to trained clinical therapists.

Not only this, but these young people feel safe in their placements and are learning to trust their foster carers, developing secure attachments in the process. They also highlight that educational monitoring has become a key focus of the agency, which reinforces our commitment to giving these children their best possible chance in life.

Quality of Service: Good
The inspectors also recognised our dedicated ongoing support for our carers:

  • our supervising social workers ring carers regularly
  • foster carers are closely involved in the placement planning process
  • the vast majority of carers achieve all required training standards within one year of approval

The last point in particular reaffirms our conscientious approach to all aspects of the care we provide, given our “robust approach to recruitment and assessment of foster carers”.

Safeguarding children and young people: Good
We’re also happy to see that our emphasis on protecting children is acknowledged: “children and young people are part of the family and confirm that they feel safe and protected in their homes and in the wider community”. Just as importantly, it has been recognised that our foster children don’t struggle against bullying or intimidation.

Leadership and management: Good
Our current Registered Manager is highlighted by the report as having “brought stability and improvement to the agency”. Alongside the Team Manager, the improved leadership and accountability demonstrated by the agency have enabled staff to fully understand their roles all the more. Extensive experience and deep knowledge of foster care provision – above all on the part of our senior management – have also massively aided improvement of the agency’s operations.

To see these points acknowledged by Ofsted – especially our sustained improvement – is a huge boost for us as an independent fostering agency. If you’d like to read the findings of Ofsted for yourself, you can find the report in full here.

At Perpetual Fostering, we find the following question being posed to us time and time again: “what can I do to help a child’s performance at school?”

Our answer is: plenty, because you can never be too conscientious when it comes to boosting a foster child’s quality of life. The first priority comes back to what we’ve covered before: reinforce your time with the child as a season of stability. This is a cornerstone of providing a truly quality placement.

Getting this right is a huge step toward arming them with confidence: it’s vital that they approach school at ease with their entire situation. Conversely, if they approach school with any trepidation or doubt about how long they’ll be there, they’re less likely to engage with their learning or take their education seriously.

The second priority is setting your intent: one of the most powerful ways to do this to get all the details of everyday life right. This is just important as an achievement, and reinforces the quality care we strive for as an agency. The following are key:

1) Nourish Them Properly
The importance of proper sustenance cannot be underestimated for growing children. Vary the types of foods eaten each day, whilst ensuring that required levels of protein, fibre and carbohydrates are met.

2) Healthy Mind, Body and Soul
Seems obvious, but keeping all of the above in tip-top condition is an ongoing effort.
An active, healthy body feeds into a high-performing mind: physical activity can improve cognitive function – and academic performance!

3) Routine and Discipline
This is about enforcing guidelines and boundaries – and working towards setting some positive habits. Make it clear that homework and learning are key to their success, and that their future is not defined by what has happened in the past. These points reinforce an important life lesson: that no-one is successful, or does themselves justice, without hard work, dedication and discipline.

4) Environment
Create a stimulating learning environment for them at home. Inspire and stimulate their curiosity in the world with all manner of books, learning materials, and educational posters. Give them the gift of knowledge – that they should never stop learning or being interested in the world around them.

For any persistent, bigger questions, we also have a virtual head, who provides advice and support to our carers. As an example, this could be as simple as what to do when a child refuses to their homework. This supporting figure offers drop-in sessions on a monthly basis to help talk foster parents through these kinds of issues. They also monitor the child’s academic performance, to ensure the child achieves their full potential.

What about you? How do you go about helping a foster child with their school performance? Any and all advice is encouraged from our readers – get in touch with us today to share your strategies!