Of course we care about all children but our primary concern is for disadvantaged families and their children. This was brought home to me when I was invited to discuss our whole school culture change project by the Pupil Welfare Manager of a Social, Emotional Mental Health provision for students with Education, Health and Care Plans and a diagnosis of social, emotional and mental health issues.
Our work is the personal development of our clients; it’s not about how to be a better parent, teacher or student. It’s about how they feel about themselves and the impact of that emotional state on their relationships and connections, particularly sensitive children.
It’s critical for our work to be successful, to engage and empower parents and carers directly. It was clear in this situation with the majority of students being transported into the school there was little opportunity to build on existing relationships, when parents didn’t come into the school.
Whilst this may be an extreme example the situation does exist in other schools, particularly where exclusions or school refusals are an issue.
Struck by lightning
Then the idea struck me there could be some potential to break down this barrier by setting up an online community for these parents to connect and share their challenges. Initially we could do this by offering an online version of our unique and evience based Parent Champion programme, with email support to empower parents and help them realise they can change their situation.
We could also invite and train other parents, coaches, teachers who would like to go on to support parents in face-to-face situations, particularly in schools because that’s where the real power of our work is transformational.
Then it struck me again these teachers and staff are under extreme stress and pressure and there’s little time for them to participate in our programme, let’s see how this first step goes!