Quick and Useless Facts About Me:
- My full name is Kyle Scott Smith. (Previously Kyle Scott McLaughlin)
- I am 37 years old and am married to Sam.
- My Extension Number to my Office is 5953, which spells out Kyle on a phone keypad.
- Sam and I have 2 sons and 3 Foster Kids
- I have to sleep facing the window for some reason.
- I have a collection of 13 Kilts and Sporrans. (Tartan, Denim, Black and Green)
- I am known at School as “The Jolly Scotsman” or “The Man in a Skirt!”.
- Often I work till very late from home and often am the last person to go to bed. (usually between 1 and 2 am)
- I am very competitive on Mario Kart and always play as the 2 Koopa Troupers and love to use my shells to get Princess Toadstool; as she always makes such a funny “eeeeeeeeh!” sound when you attack her kart!
- I drive the “saddest car” on the planet, (so the kids say) but I like my Morris Minor! I only got it as a temporary car, but years later and she’s still going strong. It has no A\C, electric windows or power steering, but it does have a CD Auto-changer Sam installed for me and the boot can very easily accommodate the kids bikes or the shopping!
- When working a waking night shift, I make a pot of coffee to keep me going through the night.
- I’m allergic to Penicillin and Jalapeno Peppers!
- I am a big softy with a big heart. However, I can be stern when needed.
- I can do impressions of Yoda, Miss Piggy, Mr Bean, Victor Meldrew, Basil Fawlty, Kennith Williams, (Ooooh Matron!) Camilla Parker Bowls, Groundskeeper Willie and Prince Phillip. I also used to be able to do the Mutley Laugh.
- I dont drink often but do smoke (Lambert and Butler) at home I smoke outside and away from the kids. (Usually behind the garage.) At work I have to go off site, so usually smoke the other side of the gates, at the rear entrance to the school site. (Out of view from the school)
- Even though I have a new job title and a whole range of new responsibilities, I am still a “House Parent” on the Jets Unit.
- To avoid confusion, I am known as Mr. McLaughlin at school. The reason for this is because there is 2 Mr Smith’s technically. So, I use my Surname before I got married to Sam.
Hi there, I am Kyle and I am a born Scotsman (I’m originally from Aberdeen in Scotland, but now live in England with Sam and the kids.) I went to a normal Comprehensive school, then did my a Levels and attended Uni in Aberdeen and qualified as a Social Worker.
When I moved to England, I wanted something different from normal Social Work, so I went into where the real care work is done and became a House Parent on the Jets Adolescent Assessment Unit. (I am still House Parent on Jets and am on the unit as much as possible.)
There are many variants of my job title, including
- Head Careworker
- Head of Boarding
- Residential \ Boarding Manager
- Care Manager
- Modern Matron
- Residential Care Division Manager
My proper title is Head Careworker (often abbreviated as Head of Care) and I am the most senior member of staff in the Residential Care Division of our school. I am in charge of the care and the welfare of 55 Pupils, along with 45 full time and part time Care Staff, (25 Carers, 15 Senior Carers and 5 House Parents) plus another 20 volunteers who work within our residential setting. (Of course all staff and volunteers are highly trained and are vetted) This also includes 2 Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Counselors, Physio Therapists and Play Workers.
My many duties include:
- Emotional Support to the boarders. They can come to me if they are upset, feeling down or need a shoulder to cry on. My office door is always open for a private chat and a hug, to any pupil that needs to talk.
- I deal with Pupils medical care. (I deal with getting repeat prescriptions ordered, registering boarders with our GP, arranging hearing tests, opticians appointments, dental appointments and facilitate staff chaperones for these appointments. (which includes Hospital appointments)
- I administer First Aid. (minor injuries and if needed, CPR and AED) I also look after sick boarders and refer them to our School GP, or send them to Sick Bay.
- Updating Care Plans and doing risk assessments on pupils
- I supervise the cleanliness and presentation of the Units. I liaise with the Domestic Supervisor and Sam regarding domestics and maintenance issues.
- I deal with Safeguarding Issues. (I am Safeguarding Lead at my school)
- I’m “On Call” every other day. In the event of emergencies, (day or night) I can be paged and I will come down to the school if needed and I live 5 minutes from school.
- I liaise with Parents, in relation to their son’s welfare and progress.
- When working on Jets, I give out Medication
- I arrange “Interdependent Visitors” for Pupils who think they would benefit from one. (IPV’s are arranged through the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS)
- I facilitate Staff Supervisions and Appraisals
- I draw up Staff Rotas
- I arrange Staff Meetings once a week for the office staff.
- I arrange a weekly Staff Meeting on the Jets Unit, where I am a House Parent
- I arrange Unit Meetings on the Jets Unit, once a week
- I arrange Activities for the Units, including off site trips
- I am the Bursar for the Residential Care Division. I deal with money the kids have as pocket money and money for trips. Once a week, I go over to the main school and collect money from the main school Bursar. (This then gets locked in the safe in my office) Then, usually during my Friday Night Shift, I sort out pocket money for the boarders and put them in brown envelopes with their names on. These get taken to the individual units and are put in a locked draw, in the office on each unit. Pocket money is then handed out by the Day Shift, on Saturday morning.
As you can read, I love the job I do and you can tell how passionate I and my staff are about the kids we care for. It’s not always easy and each shift is always different. From fights to medical emergencies, staff at our school are always on their toes. But remember, it’s not just the bad times that make shifts interesting. Celebrating a birthday or enjoying a activity make every shift worth it. If I can make one child smile, I know I am doing a good job.
My job is mainly administrative and I regularly carry out risk assessments on residents, write up care plans, have safety walkabouts on the units with Sam, speak to residents in a 1 – 2 setting and in groups, deal with safeguarding issues (I am the Lead Child Protection Officer for the school) and have regular supervisions with Care Staff. However, I do dedicate 2 days of the week to doing Care and work on the Jets Unit, where I am a House Parent. I do both Late and Sleep In shifts, which are on a rota.
My week is hectic, often doing office work until 2.30 in the afternoon, then downstairs to the unit for handover and then switch to Care Work. I have Sunday and Monday off work and 3 days I finish at 4pm, so I can go and spend time with Sam and the kids.
During School Hours (Mon to Fri 9am – 3.30pm) the kids are not allowed to call either Sam or myself by our first names. So to avoid confusion between myself and Sam, I am known as Mr. McLaughlin, instead of “Mr. Smith”, as people get confused and ask “which Mr. Smith?” For this reason, I use my name before I got married to Sam. I sign documents at work as K. S McLaughlin, but sometimes forget and accidentally sign as K.S Smith!
I met Sam away from work, a few years ago. (Granted, we both worked in the same place, but I think I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time) I had blocked Sam in, so he could not move his car and that is how we go to know each other and I guess the romance blossomed from there! I love Sam and am proud to be married to him. He’s a lovely guy, with a heart of gold. Together, we have a wonderful life, with our 2 adopted boys and our Foster Kids. [Find out about the Family here]
We have 2 adopted kids of our own, Kyrlo who’s 6 and Josh who’s 12, plus we have 3 kids we Foster as well. Two of them are with us on a long term basis and one is with us on Respite for 2 weekends a month. I love really fostering with Sam, I feel we make such a difference to the kids lives. The kids sometimes have a go at pushing my buttons, but it does not work with me. I have a level head and I don’t get cross very often. Instead, I try to talk things out and get to the bottom of any issues calmly. Sam and I are passionate about fostering and we enjoy knowing that we make a serious difference to the kids we look after. (Many who are from really broken backgrounds who find adults very hard to trust.) However, that is the key! Our house is built on foundations of trust, supported by bricks of love and mortar of understanding. Our priorities are to make sure the kids are safe, well looked after, continue to learn at school, are healthy fit and well nourished and are listened to, are believed and are taken seriously.
I am the only member of male staff, who has a alternative uniform. Most Care Staff wear jeans \ trousers \ skirts, a School Polo Shirt and black smart shoes. I have permission to wear either a black, denim or “traditional” Tartan Kilt, Sporran and usually green or black socks. I do however, wear boxers under my kilt and do not wear my kilt the traditional way. (For those of you who wondered!) It is very unusual to see me wear trousers or jeans to work and if I am pointed out to someone, usually they say something like: “Kyle is the big ginger haired man in the tartan kilt, stood over there!”
Sometimes I get comments from the kids at work, who say that I “wear a skirt to work”, but I ignore this. I am a proud Scotsman and wear my Kilt with pride. Sam and I wore a Kilt to our Civil Partnership and Wedding, along with Josh and Kyrlo. Sometimes Josh wears his kilt too! (But he is not allowed to wear it to school.)
On a lighter note, my office wall is covered with pictures the kids have drawn for me over the years and thank you cards from parents and ex pupils I have supported over the years. It makes me proud to do the job I do. I know I make a difference and it shows when the kids come up to me and thank me for helping them or I get the occasional hug. The Downs kids love to hug and are so sweet.