Kingsman: The School Service!

I had to go to the hall to grab a Year 8, who’s Social Worker had come to see him and got to watch a act for the School Show. (It’s almost a month now until the end of term and the School End Of Term Fanale!) Some of the Year 10s are re-enacting a Scene from Kingsmen: The Golden Circle. They are re-enacting the scene where Merlin is stood on a landmine and has to give his own life to save Eggsy and Harry, by singing Country Roads, before blowing himself up.

In the version Yr 10s are re-enacting, no one gets hurt and the explosion is replaced with a “thunder flash” which will produce a big flash and a puff of white smoke. One of our Year 10s (who is Scottish, is playing Merlin, another Year 10 who is a uncanny look alike, is playing Eggsy, a Year 10 plays Harry Heart, while 5 Year 9s are playing the guards, (using black water pistols instead of guns) Poppy Adams is being  played by our Head Teacher Karen. (She said she has always wanted to play a ruthless villein!) Finally the backing Vocals to Country Roads are being provided by the school choir.

Sam has managed to create a very good replica of the sound track with his Tyros Keyboard, (trumpets and all) For the part with the spray, we are using a can deodorant that has been painted black and is used to spray the landmine and Eggys foot. Poppy will be sat at the side of the stage when she is called on the radio. Finally, instead of a headbutt, Merlin will push the guard that gets too close. It’s my fault the lads on Oaks and Acorns got into the Kingsmen films, as a we watched Kingsmen: The Secret Service, one night, when I was working a late shift on their unit.

If you have no idea what I am on about, watch the below clip. Btw, with most of our unit at rehearsals, this has been the 1st time in ages, it has been quiet enough for me to post  while on one of the units! 🙂

 

 

BGT: Go Flakefleet School!

So, I have been catching up on Britain’s Got Talent, as I ended up working nights all weekend, so I have missed watching it. Thanks to Sky + I have recorded it and have been catching up.

I have followed Flakefleet Primary School from Fleetwood Lancs, through the entire competition and I think they should win. They are showing the nation that education can be fun and that choirs are not all boring and stereotypical. I can’t wait for the final on Sunday and who knows….. Maybe I can convince our kids to enter next year! (You never know!)

 

When Kids Go Missing

Let me start this post, by saying that at our school, we have robust procedures that are followed, when ever a pupil in our care goes missing. However, there is not enough awareness of runaways and why they do it and I hope this post will help to give an incite into why kids runaway and as a school, how we deal with such issues.

Young People go missing for several reasons. Sometimes an argument causes youngsters to run away, sometimes it can be caused by bullying, sometimes it’s an act of rebellion and sometimes, kids just go missing for the thrill of it. When any of the kids in our care go missing, We as a school, have a “duty of care” and part of that duty, it is paramount that we act quickly and professionally and that the boy in question is found quickly.

So what do we do when one of our Young People go missing?

The 1st thing we do, is to do an extensive search of the school grounds, including the unit the young person is on and the main school as needed. We also put an alert out to all staff via staff radios. If a search brings no results, we ask the Boarders on his the unit, if they had seen the boarder in question. (Sometimes telling us about a den in the grounds or somewhere the boarders go when they want to be along, helps us to find the young person.) We also will try the young person’s mobile to make contact. (Each Unit has a list of young people’s mobile numbers.

If that doesn’t bring any results, I will get a phone call. I could be out with the kids or in the bath, but it means I need to get over to school ASAP. I will then be handed information about what has happened, at what time and those involved. Next, I call the Police (999)  and report the young person as missing. Meanwhile staff will search the Young Person’s room, to see if they have left any clues to where they are going. Meanwhile, I will go to Sam’s office and view the CCTV footage, to see which way the young person left the site and which direction he went.  I then have the wonderful job of phoning the boy in question’s Parents and informing them that their son is missing and  we have the Police out looking for him. I also have to contact Karen (our Head Teacher) and brief her. I then will ring the boy’s Social Worker (or the Emergency Duty Team if in the evening or at weekends or a Bank Holiday)

The Police will search his room, as well as speaking to pupils and staff, look at the CCTV and  circulate the information about the boy in question.  Meanwhile a spare member of staff will take the school car and drive around the local area. Sometimes it’s possible to find the boy in question, quite easily. I also will go through the browsing history on the unit PC’s as sometimes that gives us a clue on where they may have gone. I can get this from the Server for the networked PC’s in J Block,  which keeps a log of EVERY site they visit, even if they think they can be crafty and delete the browsing history on the PC. (The server is actually in the Server Room next to my office, so I can get to it quite easily if needed. Our Network interfaces the main school network and uses Community Connect. It means that the kids can access their files from school, via the same network.

Sometimes the Police bring the Young Person back and sometimes they come back on their own. When they return, a member of staff will call me and I will come back over to school. (Unless I am working, as I will already be on site.  A member of staff will remain with the boy in question, while I undertake a “return interview”. The return interview is not about telling the boy off for going missing. Instead it is about establishing why he went missing and how we can further support him. Of course, I will mention how dangerous going missing is. I remind the boy in question that he can come to me or any member of staff, if something is bothering them. If he wants to talk to me and I am not on shift, he can write a note and ask a member of staff to put it in my pigeon hole in the post room, on the ground floor of J Block; or use the computers on the units and send me a email. (Above the computers on the units is a poster, which has my work email address on it.) When I am back on shift, I will happily have a chat over a cup of tea. Of course, if one of the boys is distressed, I can be called and I will happily drive over to school. (In my Morris Minor of course!)

Finally, I have alot of paperwork to do when a boy goes missing, which is placed in his file, which is locked in the unit office filing cabinet.

When a boy is offsite, our staff are trained not to give chase. As stated above, a member of staff will drive round to try and locate the boy in question, while the group Leader will use their school mobile, to phone me. The police will be involved, if the boy in question is not found quickly and usual procedures will be followed.

I have only ever had to deal with a runaway once in all the time I have worked for the school. However, I think it is something that should be highlighted and that was why I wrote this article.

Toby’s Bathroom

 I have been working on getting a bathroom setup for Toby, who we foster. Toby has had a kidney transplant and needs help with his personal care. So I have been converting a box room, into a special bathroom, which also doubles as a extra bathroom for our kids.

First is the toilet. The toilet is a close coupled wc, which has been positioned so that either myself or Kyle can stand either side of the toilet. He also has a rail, so if he wants to stand and do the other end, he can hold the rail while one of us supports him to stand. We were going to put a folding rail in, but it would get in the way. (Especially Kyle is a larger lad) We decided not to install a loo roll holder, as the other boys don’t really use the loo and anyway, the roll holder would be too far from the wall.

At the side of the loo, is the draws with Toby’s supplies. (Catheter Bags, wipes, gloves, disposable aprons etc)

The sink has a mixer tap, which is the lever type. This makes it easier for Toby to wash his hands. There is now a shaver socket as well, which Toby can use when he is older, if he decides to dry shave. (The control switch for the shaver socket and the extractor fan are mounted above the outside of the door. The light switch is also outside the door. The walls are painted with white tiles that are half way up the wall. The top frieze has shell effects, which are cool.

The floor is cushioned Lino, which Toby chose. He chose Lino that looks like floor tiles and he chose the colour black, as it is his favorite.

The bathroom has spot lights, which are recessed in the ceiling and were a pain to install. (Our Electrician did that) So the bathroom is bright! The door opens outwards and also has a safety lock, which can be released with a 20 pence piece from outside.

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We’ve installed both a bath and a shower, as the kids like both. We can wheel in a hoist to get Toby in and out the bath and one of us can sit behind him in a little recess, behind the bath. There is a stabilizer underneath the bath, which controls the temperature of the water to the bath and the shower.

The shower is not a mixer shower connected to the taps on the bath. It has it’s own supply from under the bath and goes up a channel in the wall. The shower has a riser rail and is also thermostatic. The shower screen has toughened glass for safety. The bottom of the bath is also non slip for safety.

The bathroom is big enough, so we can wheel in the mobile hoist and using a sling, we can safely lift Toby in and out the bath, using a hoist. We were going to install a track hoist from his bedroom, across the hall and into the bathroom,  However, that would be major work and may of needed the joists strengthening. Not only is this costly, but Josh would have needed to move out his attic bedroom while we do the works. Plus we would of had to rip up his bedroom floor and made a massive mess.

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Over this weekend, our Electrician is installing an alarm cord by the bath and one by the toilet too. This project cost about £2,500 to do. I did most of the labour and out of that cost, it includes the labour and parts for the Electrician.

Now Toby has a adapted bathroom which meets his needs.  Kyle and I are proud of what we have built for Toby. He finally has a bathroom that was purpose built around his needs. We struggled to care for him in the current kids bathroom, as it is smaller and meant that it was harder to help him. For instance, we could not get either side of the toilet so we had to stand in front of him to lift him on and off the loo. The bath was not suitable for him, because we could not get the mobile hoist into the bathroom

Most of the time, he was getting strip washes in his bedroom, with a bath 2 – 3 times a week. During the day, he was having to use the downstairs toilet, (which he still uses) as it is adapted already.  At night, he was using a bottle or a commode. That was no quality of life for a 9 yo, so we decided the junk room needed to be converted to a bathroom. Now Toby can have baths safely, he no longer needs his bottle or the commode and has a bathroom that was designed with Toby in mind.

Fri Night Off

Most Fridays I run Karaoke and disco in the gym for the Boarders. However, tonight we are hosting a inter-school special needs basketball friendly in the gym, so no karaoke tonight.

Kyle is on late / sleep in at work and Jenny (our live in carer) is having a DVD night with our boys, so I have escaped and gone for a pint down my local.

My boss Karen walked in after I arrived and we are catching up with a bottle of white. (And why not, we both work very hard and we are having a laugh!)

Tommrow, I shall post photos of the bathroom I’ve built for our disabled foster soon. What used to be a  box room full of junk, is now a bright and spacious adapted bathroom!

 

 

 

One Very Angry Head Of Care!!!!

Update: One of the 2 boys was suspended from school for 2 weeks, while the other was given 2 weeks detention, put on report and was grounded for 2 weeks.

I am not impressed at all tonight and am rather disappointed. I had a call at 7.30 this evening, after one of the staff on Birds, called to tell me that 2 boys, (both 9) had been bought back by the Police, after smashing a window on a house down the road.

Not only had they both been involved in the incident, they had also snuck off school grounds, without gaining permission from their Unit House Parent. By doing so, they could of put themselves in danger, as they are not allowed off site normally, unless with a member of staff.

As for breaking someone’s window, words do not even come close to how disappointed and how angry I am with both of them. The Police wanted to know why they broke the window and were taken into the Quiet Room for this, with me as an Appropriate Adult. After getting a right telling off from the Police, they were told to sit outside the Unit Office and wait for me to finish speaking with the Police Officers. Both got away with a simple Police Caution.

Once finished with the Police, the 2 boys were taken to the Unit Office, where they did get a good grilling. I told them that they are in the biggest trouble yet and that this could have serious repercussions, which may result in the pair of them being expelled from our school. However, this is not up to me and is up to my boss Karen, who is Head Teacher at our school. The boys knew it was serious when they were told to address me as “Mr McLaughlin” instead of Kyle. If one of the kids are told to address me as Mr. McLaughlin out of school hours, they know they are in BIG Trouble.

The behavior they display outside of our school does have an effect on the school’s reputation in the community. Breaking a window for the fun of it, which is what the pair said was the reason they broke the window and because they said they were board, is not acceptable behavior. I have grounded the pair of them, but that does not get them off the hook. I have said that the pair of them must be in line sight of a member of staff at all times, (Except for when they use the toilet, are taking a bath or are in bed) their pocket money is being docked, to pay for the repair to the window and tomorrow, the pair of them will be going in the school car, to visit the old lady, (who had her window broken) to apologize.

People look at me and think “Kyle is a right pushover”. The Chubby Ginger bloke who wears a kilt to work. But I can be serious and when needed, I can exert my authority when needed, so when something like this happens, heaven help you!

I sent my handy hubby (Sam) round to the old lady’s house, where he has boarded up the window for her and removed the shards of glass. She was very thankful for this and I also went down to see her, to let her know that the 2 boys that broke her window are NOT getting off lightly. She was very nice and made me a cup of tea. She was telling us about the school and how different it was in the 1940s. It was interesting to see some really old photos.

I hope that such severe punishment, (which I had discussed with Karen over the phone) will make them think about what they have done and will remind them that their actions have consequences. If they had of been 10 years old, they could of been arrested and put in front of a Magistrate on Tuesday morning. They would not be able to hide behind me or the school (not that I would let them, as criminal damage is serious) and would more than likely be expelled there and then. They also know I had to make a phone call to both of their parents, to tell them what their boys had been up to and to reassure them that this is not being taken lightly and that their bad behavior is serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion, which then would result in their care being handed back to their parents. Also I shall be speaking to both of their Social Workers on Tuesday about this. (By then, I will know the fate of the pair and if they will be allowed to remain at school, with punishments being given between me and Karen.)

On a care side of things, I can dish out punishment and if instructed to by Karen, I will. This could include restrictions on leaving the building, (J Block) being made to go to bed early or given community service on the school grounds, while being supervised by a member of staff. (IE: Litter picking, extra chores etc) While Karen may impose punishments such as: Being on Report, (Having to report to a member of staff at certain points in the day and having that member of staff sign a sheet, if they have attended and have behaved) and detentions \ after school detentions.

Bottom line, what they did was unacceptable and school is taking this seriously. For tonight, they have had a grilling from me and sent to bed early. I have had to write a report and speak to members of staff about this incident. (None of the members of staff I have spoken to, recall being asked to leave the school grounds.) Even if they did, they would of clearly been told no – they may not leave the school grounds unaccompanied.

So thanks to that, Family Night got wrecked, as I was baking with the kids, when I got called into work. But that’s part and parcel of the job. It may of been my day off, but in this job, but when I get that call, I always have to answer.