I am in England. I am in Leeds. I am a few hours away from #NRocks. I am very excited.
That was my tweet last night.
Whilst all true, it also hides a lot. I am exhausted; at that point where I crave rest but am functioning on adrenaline. I am suffering all sorts of self doubt after a week at school where lots that I believe in has been challenged. And I am very scared about the day ahead; meeting new people who will have an impression of me because of my blog but who will realise that ultimately, it is all a bit of a cover up.
The exhaustion seems to come with the territory of being me. I have been here before and survived.
It was inevitable that my return to school would upset the apple cart and, whilst I vowed to watch and listen, my impatience has made me wade in on some things where I probably should not have. (Then again isn’t time for the young people in our care too precious I for us to ponder about whose job things may or may not be?).
And the experience of today is of course no different really from that of all our new first years who came to school this week for induction. They survived the experience of meeting new people and making first face to face contacts and if they did it, so can I.
And so back to writing to help me focus. To help me remember what I believe and who I am.
This week I spoke to our new parents and carers about the pastoral care that their children can expect in our school. In Scotland, this now falls within a national practice model called GIRFEC (
Getting it Right for Every Child) which has been implemented for at least 5 years in many authorities but has also become cemented in legislation through the 2014 Children and Young People’s Act, (the last parts of which we have to become compliant with by 31st August 2016.)
There are three main aspects to GIRFEC:
-it streamlines communication between all those working to support a child through a shared language and philosophy of wellbeing. Agencies, parents and children talk the same talk, use the same key questions to interrogate and have a common vision and focus
-it brings all planning around the child into one format. Education, health, social work have one plan, one meeting framework which clarifies and cements relationships.
-it ensures that every child and young person in Scotland has someone who knows them well, looks out for them and is the single point of contact and information for parents, carers and other agencies. This is called the Named Person and in spite of a lot of fear-mongering in the press, is nothing more than the key person in a child’s pastoral care has always been. Not a legal guardian, not a replacement parent/carer but someone who puts the child and family at the centre of the process.
The primary head teacher, the secondary guidance teacher (cf the English head of year), the health visitor. Nothing new, just a formalisation of the best practice that has existed in the past to ensure an equity of provision across Scotland.
Of course there having been teething problems. Workload issues, training and confidence in something new.
But I really believe in GIRFEC. Wellbeing at the heart. Communication, relationships, shared vision.
Getting it right for every child? Why wouldn’t we?