This is a letter which I recently wrote to Ofsted, during their inspection of the primary school which my daughter attends. All names have been changed.
For the attention of: Ofsted Inspector
Subject: Ofsted Inspection of our Primary School
We moved our adopted children to the school in 2007. They had previously attended our local school. Before being placed for adoption they had both been in the care of our Local Authority after having experienced significant and long term abuse and neglect in their birth home. These early months and years have had a significant detrimental impact, particularly upon our son who presents with attachment difficulties, anxiety and low self-esteem and who finds school a challenging environment to be in.
This school was strongly recommended to us by adopters whose children went there.
The staff have made such a vast difference to our children, to their outcomes and to our family life that we felt we had to write and express this to you in response to your request for feedback from parents. The Head Teacher has led an approach which has accepted our children for the difficulties they have, he has put in place many measures to support them, has supported many reviews with Social Services and CAMHS and has taken the extra steps that have made all the difference. Jamie’s class teacher took the time to build up a strong relationship with him, has been endlessly patient with behaviours that we know must be very difficult to manage at school, has taken on board our suggestions and has even supported Jamie as he gradually shared some painful memories and information with her. She also set high expectations for him academically and he left Year 6 having achieved a Level 4, something which a few years ago we would not have dreamed would be possible. The school also put into place a personalised transition programme to help his move to secondary school. Rose’s teacher has attended a training session with us at CAMHS, has fully put into the practise the information that was presented and has shown sensitivity and empathy in working with Rose and indeed us.
We know from contact with many other adoptive parents that schools often fail to recognise the needs of children who have suffered neglect and abuse who are no longer in Local Authority Care. (In a recent meeting of adoptive parents in our county, we were the only family amongst a large roomful who reported a positive experience of school). The staff have never made us feel as though our children deserve anything other than great support and we have not had to battle for help as so many others like us have. As a mark of my support and high regard for the school I am a Parent Governor.