Sophia Dunstan VSK Apprentice Participation Worker Role
Participation Strategy The Department of Education stated in February 2011: ‘The Government is committed to children’s rights and participation. Under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), children and young people have the right to express their views, and for these to be respected by adults when making decisions on matters that affect them. Children and young people should be given opportunities to express their opinion in matters that affect their lives. Involving children and young people in the planning, delivery and evaluation of services that affect their lives is not only likely to improve services, but also helps in developing confident, engaged and responsible citizens.’ KCC’s response to this was: The development of a Participation Strategy which is part of the Corporate Parenting Children in Care Strategy. The active and positive involvement of children and young people in decision- making processes which affect them, including the rights and means to influence these decisions and the decision-making processes” HOW HAS KCC DONE THIS??
By employing us !! We are the Apprentice Participation Workers for Virtual School Kent, there are four of us. Two in East Kent and One in West Kent. We are currently looking to employ 2 more Apprentices
Our role Our role with VSK is to do exactly as our job title suggests; to encourage all our children in care to join in events to have fun, and to help shape the services they receive We will be working hard to ensure children and young people attend events and activity days so that their voices can be heard. We take a lead role in supporting and facilitating the OCYPC (Our Children’s and Young People’s Council) Our job involves supporting young people and encouraging them to speak up about their views and experiences, also discussing what they would like to change about the care system. Another aspect of our role is to organise and facilitate participation days in school holidays. We are also studying our NVQ in Business and Administration with the support of various members within VSK to ensure th we and VSK are fulfilling all the necessary requirements to successfully complete our apprenticeship.
What have we done so far? During our time so far within VSK we have done various things for our role: Supporting young people to complete their ePEP Organise and attend Participation Days Run the OCYPC council meetings Attend meetings with senior managers and Members Link in with CIC Teams Promote the VSK young people’s Website Sitting on recruitment panels Met with Ofsted
What we need from YOU! When you receive the information about these days it would be great if you could encourage the Children in Care at your schools to attend. These days are very beneficial to any Child in Care as it shows them they aren’t the only ones who are in care, I know a few that didn’t realise other young people are in care too! How are Participation Days promoted? We send out the flyer to: Social Workers Fostering Social Workers Foster Carers Independent Reviewing Officers Fostering Education Liaison Officers …. And YOU – Designated Teachers !
Visit the Kent Cares Town Website www.kentcarestown.lea.kent.sch.uk
The Pupil Voice I have visited a number of Children and Young People to gain their views about the education they receive. Many of their views were the same some good, some bad. 1.Young people didn’t like the fact that their Form Tutor or Designated Teacher made it obvious they were a Child in Care. This was most common in the secondary schools with boys. 2. All young people felt that Teachers didn’t take into consideration or understand that they had some upset over the weekend or during the week due to contact issues which is why they were ‘playing up’ at school. They said their Teachers don’t ask why they’re being like that in order to defuse the situation they just immediately punished them - not looking at the bigger picture. This was common in secondary schools with boys and girls. 3. Primary school students didn’t know what ‘Designated Teacher’ meant. When I re- worded it into simpler talk they were able to name the DT which is good. 4. Primary school children said they always have a member of staff to speak to when they’re upset where as some secondary school young people didn’t feel like they could speak to anyone when they’re going through a tough time. On the other hand the majority of boys and girls said that they have someone to speak to.