Looked-after children

8th July 2005 at 01:00
BELIEVE IN ME. Training video for designated teachers of children in care. The Who Cares? Trust and National Literacy Association 2005. pound;14.99. www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk

The role of the designated teacher is to support and be an advocate for children in care. This 20-minute training video is suffused with enthusiasm for this important role, but is honest about its demanding nature.

The brief introduction explains why children are placed in care and warns against schools having low expectations of them. Three case studies of real teachers in primary and secondary schools illustrate the work of designated teachers; the children are played by actors.

The final study is the most detailed and shows a child taken into care, and how, through working with the designated teacher, the child is able to express feelings and come to terms with the situation. The teachers explain how they see their role, as "champions" of these children and stress the importance of agencies working together. A director of children's services explains the personal education plan, covering the emotional, social and academic areas. School is shown as a constant in the children's disturbed lives.

Finally, one of the designated teachers emphasises the rewarding aspects of the role, while reiterating the need for emotional strength. Notes for trainers can be downloaded from the website.

Sarah Beer

Special education support teacher, Croydon integrated support service

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