Education expert on hand to help Lika carers
Educational experiences, like good foster carers, can be transformative in a young person’s life.
But any parent or foster carer can tell you that getting a young person off to school, keeping them in school, helping them learn, finding ways of teaching that they respond well to, and (frankly, sometimes) dealing with educational institutions, isn’t always easy.
That’s why Lika Family Fostering has introduced a new Education Clinic, to support our foster carers and young people with expert advice from experienced educator Charlotte Wallace.
From January 2022, Charlotte will be available to help carers and young people with the challenges they face with their education, and in dealing with the education system. It’s all about empowering our carers with the maximum opportunity to create realistic and lasting change in the lives of their young people.
The Education Clinic is our name for what is basically a consultation with our expert, Charlotte, to discuss the young person’s educational needs and to find practical solutions to whatever problems you’re dealing with around your young person’s schooling.
That could include any number of issues, situations or niggles you’d like help with.
“If there are unmet needs, we can think about things that the schools or educational settings may not have tried, or things that the carers might not have tried at home,” Charlotte said.
“It’s all about information sharing, signposting and empowering the carers to ask the right kinds of questions. There’s a lot of bureaucracy (in schools) and there’s particularly a lot of admin that goes along with special educational needs. There’s a lot of jargon. So we can help to unpick some of that.
“We can help you identify who your allies will be in your school and how to advocate for your children. It’s bespoke advice, rather than the generic kind of advice you read online.”
Charlotte is currently the Safeguarding lead, Designated teacher for children in care and Inclusion manager at a school in Brighton. She has worked in a variety of roles in the education system in London starting as a teaching assistant before becoming a primary school teacher and then special needs coordinator. She’s worked all over London, particularly north London, including Tottenham, Enfield, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. She has a masters degree in Special Education needs from the Institute of Education and over ten years’ experience as a primary school teacher.
“Throughout my career as a teacher, I’ve worked with lots of children in care, either teaching them or over-seeing their provision” Charlotte said. “It’s just something I’m really passionate about: that they get opportunities to succeed.’
There are a thousand situations a Lika foster carer or young person might like Charlotte’s guidance and support with—everything from the sorts of questions a carer should be asking during an annual review of a child’s educational healthcare plan, to tips for helping improve literacy and numeracy.
“For example, if a child has got a specific literacy need, then we could look at the progress they’re making in reading, think about whether different strategies have been tried, and maybe signpost some schemes or different professionals that might be able to help with that.”
“Schools and education settings can be your greatest ally in helping to sustain meaningful change for a child. We can look together at how the setting is meeting your child’s needs, and how you can work together to ensure the best outcomes possible.”
Charlotte’s background in special needs education means she is an expert in a wide variety of learning needs, from dyslexia to autism.
The clinic is available on a monthly basis to those foster carers and young people who need it. Our carers can book a consultation through their supervising social worker. It’s completely free, like all our carer support.
“They just need to come with a problem that they want to discuss or a situation that they’d like help with,” Charlotte said.
While advice will be given during the consultation, it doesn’t end there. Charlotte and the Lika team will follow up with links or copies of any documents or advice they’ve recommended and keep in touch to find out how things are progressing and whether you need any extra support.
If you’re in south or east London and you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, give the helpful team at Lika a call on 020 8667 2111. We’re here to answer all your questions.
We’re in the London boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Merton, Lambeth, Westminster, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, City of London, Haringey, Newham, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea.