Many foster carers attend meetings with schools as part of their role. The below list is a reflection of all the things that I have found useful over the years, from the meetings I’ve attended. I hope these points will act as a guide and a checklist for other foster carers, and support them in the future, when preparing for a meeting.
Write a list of questions you want answered.
Ensure you will be speaking to someone who can make things change or implement new ideas (Deputy Head, Assistant Head, Head of Year (minimum)).
Ensure you have the contact details of people in the meeting.
Take notes at any meetings, who is doing what and by when, and why.
Don’t be afraid to speak. If necessary take a deep breath.
Ensure your facts are correct, if in doubt say I believe, I was told, I understood.
Always chase up actions not completed by the school, and let the school know of results you have.
Ensure you action anything you say you are going to do or let someone know why it is not happening.
Take social workers along to meetings.
Keep your social worker updated.
Be prepared to take managers along to meetings.
Befriend receptionists – they can often get you in at short notice.
Be prepared to acknowledge your child is not always co-operative at school.
Sanctions/consequences for actions that happen in school stay in school.
Let your child know when you are going to school and why.
When incidents have occurred ensure you have all the details. Names, places, actions etc.
Be prepared to defend or acknowledge your child’s actions.
Be prepared to explain actual age vs emotional age or developmental age.
Ensure your logs reflect the meeting accurately.
If you don’t understand something, ask. School speak takes some getting used to.
Try and foster a good relationship with the school, however, your child comes first and if necessary, sacrifice the relationship for the good of the child.
Any child can go to any school by law.
Know your rights.
Advice for young people in meetings is also available in the Getting Your Voice Heard in Your Review Meeting guide - for more details click here