Hi I am Sam (Born Samuel Willam Smith) and this is my Blog! I am 37 years old and a School Site Manager. A Site Manager is more advanced than a Caretaker!
The school has 150 pupils, with 50 pupils boarding all year round. Our School is privately run, but many of our Residential Pupils are placed via Social Services (and or) CAMHS Services. The main building was built in 1851 as a large manor house. It was sold just after the 2nd World War and became a school for what they then called “the deaf and dumb”. There were classrooms on the ground floor and the 1st floor was dormitories. If you look carefully, you can still tell where the dorms used to be.
In 1960, The trustees of the school agreed for new Dormitories to be built. This new building, was called Junior House and it was built on the site of the original swimming pool, on the the east side of the grounds.
Meanwhile, a new swimming pool was built on the site of the old canteen and the 2 dorms were converted to offices for the Head, and the secretaries and also the Staff Room was moved. The remainder of the space was left untouched for many years, until it was converted into additional teaching space. Meanwhile, B Block was added to the back of the main school in 1966. The Prefab building has done extremely well over the years and was extensively refurbished in the 90s, to remove the Asbestos in it. Since then, an additional floor was added to B Block, to allow for a modern Drama Studio to be built.
At the beginning of the 80s, the school dropped the “deaf and dumb” label and became a school for children with moderate to severe mental health issues and moderate to severe behavioural issues. The school charity was dissolved and reformed to cater to this. In 1982, Junior House said goodbye to boarders, as it was demolished in that summer. (Due to “concrete cancer” and the building being unsafe, due to poor construction.)
The new brick Junior House was completed in April 1984 and has 4 floorsand 6 units, plus sick a new Sick Bay, which has a 12 beds, plus 2 treatment rooms) Junior House opened to boarders in September 1983. Junior House was also re-named from E Block to J Block. Why, I am not sure. Meanwhile C Block was added to provide new teaching space for Science and Technology. (Food Tech and Design and Tech) J Block was refurbished in the late 90s and went down from 6 units to 4. The top floor was
I used to be based in the basement of B Block (B43) and the Domestics and Cleaners had an office and stores in the basement of J Block. 2 years ago, I was moved from B Block, into accommodation next to the main stores and the Domestics Office, where I have a decent sized office, (J3a) which comes with it’s own loo!
In relation to my job, I do much more than cleaning, setting up rooms, cleaning up vomit unlocking and locking up the buildings and gates. I am also responsible for Health and Safety compliance, security, I am Silver Commander in the event of emergency or major incident, (I am the senior member of staff at the scene of an incident, and I am in charge of all the available resources) and a whole load more!
I know every inch of the school, (including the grounds) like a the back of my hand. I know all the hiding places, I know where all the creaky floorboards are and I know where teachers try (and don’t get away with it) to hide bottles of whiskey!
My home life is just as busy, I am married to Kyle and have been in a relationship with him for many years. Kyle is 36 and is Head Of Care at school. He’s a great partner and we enjoy a fantastic lie together. We have 2 adopted kids, Kyrlo who is 6 and Josh who is 13. We also foster and have 3 foster kids. We both decided to foster a few years ago, because bot myself and Kyle have been through the care system, we have both been abused and we know that the support for kids who have been thorough the harrowing experiences, which Kyle and I we have been through.
Kyle and I are one of a few Foster Carers who are specially trained to support those children who have been the unfortunate victims of horrific abuse. It takes a lot of time to allow the kids to trust us, so it can be challenging to care and support them. We have extra support by a Live in Carer, who Kyle and I employ to assist with the care and support the kids need. She’s brilliant with the kids. Sometimes she comes across as a little strict, but when the kids need a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to, she really shines through for the kids. Most of the kids placed with me are under Child Protection Orders or Police Protection Orders. They can stay with us from 24 hours to a year or longer. They all receive one to one care and also care as a family. The boys enjoy a wide range of activities, at home and off site. (IE: Josh plays Basketball on a Monday with the Boarders and a couple of my kids go the local Scout Troop) Some activities require one of us to be present, for Child Protection reasons, while activities on school grounds are given higher staffing by the Care Staff at school and do not require one of us to be preent all the time.
We live Country Durham, in a large house, with 7 large bedrooms, (2 en suite — Kyle and My Room And The Live In Carer’s Room) 2 family bathrooms, a large family lounge (With Sky, DVD Player, comfy sofas, open fire and loads of DVD’s) a study for Kyle and I, (which is a child free area!) , kitchen diner, (with AGA) cellar, playroom conservatory, (With Flat Screen TV, Sky, Computers, Toys, Games, DVD’s etc) Laundry Room, downstairs and upstairs cloakroom toilets and a stair lift. (I have one child placed who has Scribal Pusey)
The boys either share rooms or have their own room. The boys are split between the 1st and 2nd floor. The older boys rooms are on the 2nd floor, while the younger boys rooms are on the 1st floor. Jenny, (our Live In Carer, has her room at one end of the 2nd floor.)
If there’s anything else you want to know, please send me a message. 🙂