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Rethink plans for those in care

I recently attended an in-service training morning for designated teachers for children in care. Whilst I totally support the laudable intentions of the partnership in care initiative I was appalled at the lack of insight displayed by the Government and other agencies into the extra demands that this will make on teachers.

Let me give you a fairly realistic example. Imagine a large secondary school of 1,000-plus students having 40 students in care, even more in a socially deprived area. It has been suggested that each student should have a six-monthly review meeting chaired by the designated teacher. These meetings are to review personal educatio plans and set new targets, a process requiring up to 1.5 hours, followed by the statutory care review chaired by social services.

Even without this latter meeting, or taking into account time to prepare reports, this would mean an additional 120 hours of "directed work" with, at present, no financial reward.

This situation was made even worse by the trainer's suggestion that further training would have to be done during twilight sessions because it was difficult to get staff out of schools given the supply-teacher shortages.

Simon Jenkins

Deputy head

Herne Bay high school

Bullockstone Road

Herne Bay, Kent

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