Today started with an 8.00 meeting with the local Children’s Centre Manager. We try and catch up regularly as it is essential that we continue to work closely together, sharing support networks and services for parents/carers. She is also a brilliant source of support for me and we found ourselves discussing our experiences of Children’s Social Care. Both of us find that thresholds are unclear and moveable and that when we phone them with an enquiry more often than not we do not receive a very polite or positive response. This makes life very difficult for both of our institutions as we end up being asked to do their job for them…
This was followed at 9.00 by a meeting with someone from the local university. This was very exciting as we will now have someone to replace our artist in residence, who is leaving this year. She has been brilliant and we were wondering what we would do without her. Funny how something always comes along, and even better that we will not have to pay for it!
This was followed at 10.30 by an extremely difficult meeting. This was the meeting to decide the way forward with my very difficult Looked After Child who we are reintegrating. It was a very interesting meeting, with representatives of all services. It got very tense at times with different points of view and differing needs but there was what I think is a brilliant outcome, both for the child and for the current class. The borough have agreed to give us the resources that we need to keep her in school, with a review that means that if this doesn’t work, she will have a place at an alternative school. This is brilliant for her as it gives her a real chance to succeed and it is brilliant for us in that if it doesn’t work her class is protected.
While I had been in meetings all morning the rest of the school had been in their new classes. There had been much anxiety from both children and staff in anticipation of this, but in the event it went brilliantly. The children were very calm and settled very well into their new settings. I think that one of the things that had the biggest impact on this was that this year, for the first time since I have been there, there were no new teachers. I hope that the new term will start in the same positive way!
This afternoon I spent about an hour with my Pupil and Family Support worker and the local community worker talking about a parent who is presenting as suicidal, again. What is so difficult is that he won’t engage with his psychiatric help, or the police, but he will pass on all his anxieties to the two people who are the ones who can’t actually do anything other than listen and signpost services. It was a very difficult meeting as the dad had really made them both feel very anxious and I was trying to help them deal with what he had passed on to them. When someone is considered able to make clear choices, there really is very little that you can do. I also pointed out that there seemed to be a pattern, that we had been having the same conversations at Christmas and Easter. It’s hard when someone just won’t engage and you’re left with a feeling of helplessness. I suspect that this feeling is coming from the dad too, that he feels helpless, or wants us to think that he is feeling helpless. You have to be so careful when dealing with people who are mentally ill as it can be so easy to get caught up in their state of mind and lose your sense of objectivity. Suffice to say that we called the police anyway and at least we have passed it on to people who can actually do something about it if necessary.
All through the day today the child in the support group who is leaving school in September, kept appearing at my door, showing me his work, asking me to do this or that, touching base. I am taking him for a taster session at his new school tomorrow afternoon. He is letting me know that he is going to miss us. And I will certainly miss him.