An Ayrshire school where care experienced young people’s views are taken seriously
Dawn Parker is Corporate Parenting Lead at the South Ayrshire CHAMPS Board, and here she, with the help of young people and teachers, talks about a project aiming to ensure care experienced young people at the school feel listened to and included. The project is being delivered in partnership with the South Ayrshire CHAMPS Board and CELCIS.
The starting point in engaging the young people and getting them along to the lunchtime club was to spread the word and the Lead Teacher set out to identify those in care and care experienced within the school and met individually with every one of the 57 pupils to share with them the plans and how it could work.
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of young people.
A safe space
The care experienced pupils at Belmont Academy come together once a week to have lunch and chat, or take part in activities. From the start it's been their club, they are in the driving seat and discuss and decide what the priorities are, what they do, and how the club is run.
The young people said they did not want to feel different or singled out, hence the importance of the club running at lunchtime, and a Friday was chosen in case any of the young people had anxieties about the weekend.
One of the priorities identified by the pupils is a space they can ‘own’, somewhere they can go to if they feel they are not coping or just need time away from the busy life of the school. The Head Teacher immediately said yes and identified a room. The room will be ready in August, decorated and furnished the way THEY want, having spent time with a designer choosing colours and furniture, so more beanbags and less plastic chairs!
In the know
CELCIS's support involvement
CELCIS's Education Team is providing strategic support to South Ayrshire Council with the aim of improving the learning experience and outcomes of care experienced young people in the authority area.
In the first phase of this project three priority areas were identified:
- Children's rights and participation (- an example being this project at Belmont Academy)
Our work includes supporting the local authority to develop a more robust monitoring and evaluation framework to help them measure outcomes and impact.
The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author/s and may not represent the views or opinions of CELCIS or our funders.
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