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What would you want teachers to be aware of for adopted kids?

16 replies

BlackNails · 06/11/2019 08:14

Hoping to do some training with colleagues soon about how being an adopted child can have long term impacts that can affect school.
Will cover attachment/ptsd/PI issues than can affect concentration, learning difficulties, impact of early trauma/neglect....

what would you want teachers to know - primary and secondary age?


OP posts:
stucknoue · 06/11/2019 08:28

All good points but also not to make assumptions because every situation is unique, even siblings adopted together. Good practice is to have the parents come in before they start and then follow up meetings (perhaps by phone) especially for recent placement. And one great thing my friends kids school did was through them a happy adoption party the afternoon after they had their court hearing (the parents knew but the kids didn't) and all their class were in their best party clothes (my friends daughter had a dress she had chosen for the day, and was fretting she wasn't in uniform! her little brother wasn't in school yet but joined in)

Runner31 · 06/11/2019 18:16

Training in the importance of managing transitions and changes sensitively would be really good. Big things like class and staff changes as well as the small things like daily routines. Some children who have suffered with trauma can really panic during change.

jellycatspyjamas · 06/11/2019 18:46

great thing my friends kids school did was through them a happy adoption party the afternoon after they had their court hearing

I think this is a great example of needing to really check things out individually - while it was a good thing for a previous poster, it would have been really inappropriate for my DC so I’d want the school to check and not assume the family want a public celebration.

I’d also be talking to them about discipline, and not using shame based systems like clouds or traffic lights or excluding children from games, free time etc. I disagree with them anyway but particularly for adopted children who can feel shameful enough already. I’d also talk to them about fostering a good relationship with parents. I’m on first name terms with our schools head teacher, she’s a fantastic support and ally in helping my two cope with school and we can usually nip things in the bud quite quickly.

bunting1000 · 06/11/2019 18:53

I am an ex teacher and mum of two adopted boys- we have had two really different school experiences (we moved the boys as a result of experiences at school one). There are things I would have loved that school to listen to.

Totally agree every situation is unique- our eldest thrives on firmness, fairness and very clear consequences. The school thought they were being kind and therapeutic by not following the behaviour system with him and attributing his behaviour to ‘being adopted’ (so letting him ‘get away with it’) and we had no end of problems. They wouldn’t listen when I said what he actually needed was to be treated exactly the same as everyone else and given consequences- once he moved schools and this happened we have had no behaviour issues and he is doing really well. Appreciate this isn’t the same for everyone so it’s SO important to listen to parents.

Strugglingmum73 · 06/11/2019 20:27

Brain development
Pre birth trauma
Genetic history

Ted27 · 06/11/2019 20:41

if you look on the AUK website there is a lot of free downloadable materials for schools

UnderTheNameOfSanders · 07/11/2019 12:41

I'd also like them to be aware of curriculum-specific items that can cause issues, and to check with the parent beforehand as to whether it might impact their child:


  • bringing in baby photos
  • family tree
  • writing autobiographies
  • sex education
  • evacuees / Goodnight Mr Tom
  • NSPCC assemblies

  • just about any PSHE work depending on background
  • genetics/inheritance
fasparent · 08/11/2019 23:07
Italiangreyhound · 09/11/2019 22:28

stucknoue I'd have hated for my son's class to all know he is adopted. It's his story to tell and he only tells his special friends.

Like jellycatspyjamas I think knowing what is confidential is very important. I would assume that the school should ask who should be told a child is adopted. For us it is the Senco and class teacher only.

Agree with the topics, school did evacuees and I talked to school. Teacher thought it would not be an issue bit agreed to treat sensitively.

In the end (due to a mix up) it was not treated sensitively and ds 100% connected with the evacuees story on a personal level.

Ted27 · 09/11/2019 23:29

My son was nearly 9 on adoption day and immensely proud of it. He did have a party at school but he was at special school at that point and by far the most able on his class. I doubt very much the other kids had a clue what it was about. At secondary school he didn't tell anyone for about 6 months but I think its fairly common knowledge.
His school did the Kindertransport. I only found out when I went into school for parents evening and saw photos of him dressed up with a label round his neck and a suitcase. They had written goodbye letters to their families. Throw in the odd Swastika - it was horrific . The teacher said to me well we don't tell them about gas chambers. It explained two weeks worth of off the scale behaviour.

Italiangreyhound · 10/11/2019 00:01

Oh Ted that is so sad. Sad

Digestive28 · 10/11/2019 00:05

Look at Beacon House they have loads of resources for creating attachment informed schools

jellycatspyjamas · 10/11/2019 18:54

They had written goodbye letters to their families. Throw in the odd Swastika - it was horrific . The teacher said to me well we don't tell them about gas chambers.

What the actual fuck?

kmetsch · 10/11/2019 19:00

I’m a teacher and an adopter
I also have birth kids and am a foster carer
I deliver CPD to schools in my area

I stress:-
Every adoption and foster story is different
The difference between adoption and fostering
Pre birth trauma
Shame and its implications
Implications for the teaching curriculum eg Kindertransport, label your family in French
I start the session by brainstorming ‘’orphan characters’ in popular culture and then ask people to consider the ‘stereotype’
If you believe Disney, being ‘Looked after’ would be a great career choice!

Ted27 · 10/11/2019 19:59

I know jellycats, I was so angry. This was the special school in year 5, my son was the most able, some had quite severe learning difficulties. I can't imagine what the thought the educational value for them was. The school received a very 'terse' letter.

jellycatspyjamas · 12/11/2019 10:55

I’ll bet they did, unbelievable that they would think that was ok for children with additional needs.

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