Informing Carers and Adopters at our Education Conference

More than 60 carers and adopters have benefitted from a day of innovative and inspirational workshops at this year’s Education Conference.

The annual event, which is held in conjunction with Bath and North East Somerset Council, included a range of workshops to inform and educate.

Carers and Adopters got to find out more about specialist areas such as autism, dyslexia, further education access routes, supporting young people with their sexual identity, and ‘THRIVE’ targeted intervention in schools.

The Education Conference for Carers and Adopters was held at the Somerdale Pavilion in Keynsham on November 3.

Keynote speaker Mike Beard, Deputy headteacher at The Plymouth School of Creative Arts, kicked off the day by telling everyone ‘it only takes a moment to change everything.’

He is very passionate about improving the life chances of young people and said he was on a mission to stop people being creatures of habit.

Mike said: “I want to show people that they can excel and achieve wherever they have the chance to do so.

“I want to challenge the way people think. People should have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.

“The biggest changes can come from the smallest lightbulb moments. We should all start to experience things differently to see what can happen. Never underestimate how powerful a one degree shift in direction can be.”

Mike had Carers and Adopters scratching their heads as he proved his point with a series of optical illusion pictures. He explained: “What you see can only be based on what you’re already familiar with.”

Mike also spread the word about The Plymouth School of Creative Arts – which prides itself on its fun and exciting open-space learning and has received a ‘good’ from Ofsted. The school’s motto is ‘Creating individuals making futures.’

In smaller workshops, Carers and Adopters also got to hear from Dr Grace Pittman who discussed autism and attachment and their underpinning behavioural issues. She said although it’s easy to mistake the two; autism is a lifelong disability, whereas attachment difficulties can be overcome.

Lead Teacher For Children in Care Steve Claypoole led a ‘Caring for Teenagers’ session and discussed the need to give teens the emotional support.

He said: “It takes skill, patience and resilience to care for a teenager – and sometimes even that isn’t enough.”

He talked about the transition to secondary school and the ‘common battlegrounds’ of teenagers not wanting to eat breakfast, do their homework or wear a school uniform.

Steve added: “Don’t be afraid of the fight. Have high expectations and show the love.”

Employee Development and Training Officer Catherine Charlton said this year’s event had been a huge success with lots of positive feedback from Carers and Adopters.

She said: “The conference had something for everyone and I’d like to thank everyone for taking part.

“It was also the first time, the conference was opened to designated teachers for children in care, so they brought in the school’s perspective.

“We’re already looking forward to build on the success at next year’s Education Conference.”