Fostering in the Midlands and choosing schools

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If you’re a foster parent, depending on where you are in your fostering journey, choosing schools for your children can come around a lot quicker than you may first anticipate. When fostering in the Midlands, there will be a number of schools to choose from and making the right choice may seem daunting at first. We’ve put this article as part of your on-going training, support and development as a foster parent to help choose the right school and to make the process less stressful for you and your foster family.

Back to school education concept with girl kids, elementary students, carrying backpacks going to class on school first day holding hand in hand together walking up building stair happily

How fostering in the midlands can help you to prepare

Sometimes, when you’re fostering in the Midlands, your life as foster carers can become hectic very quickly and it really can feel as though one minute you are preparing for their first day of their life with you and then, all of a sudden, your presented with the task of finding them schools. It does feel like a massive decisions and unfortunately, we don’t always have time as a luxury on our hands. Throughout your journey as a foster carer, there are different resources and support, training and development available to help you through these exact moments. We can help offer you some tips of what to look for when choosing schools and hopefully, make it less stressful for you.

Portrait of lovely girl looking at camera at lesson of drawing - at school with guidance of fostering in the Midlands

Getting started – Look at locations

Depending on when you’re looking for your foster children to join schools, they may be joining through the academic year or at the start of the year. If it’s at the start of the year, be sure to find out when applications have to be submitted by.

Secondly, look at the catchment areas for your area. When you’re fostering in the Midlands, your foster children may have moved locations. This can be daunting and can be a big change in routine for them. Being able to present a list of schools within your catchment area to talk through with them will help shortlist schools and make it less scary for your foster children. Though children in care are not necessarily affected by the catchment areas as they are prioritised for school admissions, it’s definitely a good indicator of where the schools are located and can help determine how your foster children will get to and from school and give you an indication of the areas they will be socialising in and who they are peers with.

Take your time and do your homework

In this instance, homework isn’t just for your kids. It’s for you – especially when fostering in the Midlands. Many schools hold open days and events which is a great way for you and your foster children (if they are already placed with you) to look around and get a feel for the school. Prior to attending the events, you can do your research on the school itself in regards to Ofsted reports and scores and the types of facilities they have available at the school. If you know your foster children are into particular sports or extra curricular activities, this is a great time to see if the school can facilitate that. Beyond that and on a more personal level, it’s a good idea to see where the proposed school can demonstrate how they’ve worked with carers who have foster children.

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Fostering in the Midlands can be a rollercoaster

  1. When fostering in the Midlands, it can be a rollercoaster of emotions and this can be said for starting a new school. We’ve put a few tips together as a checklist to ensure you’re ready.
  2. Speak to your foster children and take them with you. After all, they will be spending the most time at the school. Don’t make decisions without them.
  3. Leave other siblings at home – as lovely as they are, this is the time for your foster children and yourselves as parents to make some really important decisions and you don’t want any distractions.
  4. Go armed with questions and make sure you ask them. Speak to as many people as possible and ask questions. This way, you can get all the answers you require and ensure you have a chance to get to know teachers. Of course, they will be painting a glossy picture of the school so make sure you do some digging. This can be anything from what the food is like or what the toilets are like.
  5. Visit the school again. School open days/evenings will give a flavour of the environment, but this isn’t the ‘normal’ state, going about it’s day-to-day business. Try and arrange visiting again, if the school allows so.
  6. Speak to other parents and see whether they have the same feelings as you. It’s good to hear other experiences, even more so if they have older siblings who already attend or have attended before. “The most important question to consider for me, is will my child be happy at this school?

So, what next?

The most important to consider when fostering in the midlands and choosing schools, is of course, your child. You are best places in knowing what works for them and what works for you as a family. Parents and foster carers will have different approaches to this, but it is good to be clear about this before – if you are parenting/ foster caring as a couple it is important that your foster child is aware of their role and any limitations in the decision making.