End Of Year Summer Spectacular!

The programme for the End of Year Show has been released and Sam and I think it is going to beat last year’s show!

  • Karen (our Head Teacher) is performing “Love Shine a Light” by Katrina and the Waves
  • Year 9 are performing “Let it Swing” by Bobbysocks and have learnt to sing it in Norwegian!
  • Sam and I are performing “Take me To Your Heaven” by Charlotte Neilson
  • Year 3 performing “Puppet on a String” by Sandie Shaw and dressed up as various puppets
  • Year 6 are performing “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz
  • Year 5 are performing “Oooh Are Just a Little Bit” by Gina G, (dressed as Cheerleaders!)
  • The Care Staff sing Waterloo by ABBA
  • Some of the Teaching Staff are singing Fly On The Wings of Love by The Olson Brothers

~ Interval ~ (Refreshments and Raffle)

The 2nd half is mixed talent, with the following acts:

  • Year 10 performing the Country Roads Scene from Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Merlin’s Last Stand) featuring our Head playing Poppy Adams! Sam is playing his own arrangement of Country Roads \ The theme to Kingsmen and I will be playing my Bagpipes during the 1st part of Country Roads. (In my Kilt and Sporran of course, but then for those of you who follow our blog will know; I wear a Kilt to work and it is rare to see me in trousers!)
  • Some of the Year 8 Lads will be doing Magic
  • Year 4, 5 & 7 Clowing Around (They don’t know it yet, but it will involve some of the teachers getting flanned and Karan doesn’t know she’s going to get gunged too! That will be really funny!)
  • Reception and Year 2 perform The YMCA by The Village People (calling themselves the “Village Kids”
  • Year 5, 6 and 8 lads wil be doing BMX and Skateboard Stunts on stage
  • Various from Years 3 – Year 10s doing an Aikido demonstration
  • Some of the older boys from the Acorns Unit reenact the scene from Little Britain “Dennis Waterman – sing da theme tuneeeeeeeeee!” with Sam a member of care staff, (who looks sorta like the real Dennis Waterman) sing “I could be so good for you,” which of course is the theme to Minder. “Oi! I don’t insist on singing da theme tune!”


  • The Care Staff and some of the boarders from Jets and Oaks perform Juke Box Jive by The Rubetttes
  • Myself and some of the Care Staff (and some of the boarders from Squirrels and Birds) perform Is This the way to Amerello (in the style of Peter K. (Various shots of the coridoors and parts of the school will be projected onto a green screen on the stage)
  • Sam and Karen sing Sometimes When We Touch by Newton, with the kids cycling on to stage, cartwheeling onto stage, the kids and staff joining in in various costumes) including a vicar, Neapolitan, clowns and much more!

So it’s going to be a great show, with just over a month to go! The show is always a great fundraiser and great fun! I know I enjoy getting to be silly and let my hair down at the end of term, when for one night, the rules get chucked out the window and everyone has a great time!

End of the year is always a very exciting time, but also makes me feel sad, because the older pupils leave and over the years, I have built some great friendships with them, watched them grow up and progress through the school. Some have been a little cheeky or have had hiccups, but I am proud to say I have been there to help and support them over the years. I will miss them when they leave and hope that the boys who leave, keep in touch.

A Fathers Day I will never forget! :)

I am working today, which may come as a surprise to you; because usually I don’t work on a Sunday.  I had arranged to work today, because for the kids I work with, always find Fathers Day a really hard day to cope with. My shift started as normal at half 6 with Handover. (For those of you who don’t know what Handover is, it is where the previous shift, update colleges coming on duty, with the events of the previous shift. IE: If one of the kids was unwell etc) After Handover, we went to wake the kids up. For this, we normally knock on their bedroom door, then go in, open the curtains and gently nudge the sleeping boy, to wake him up. One of the boys on my unit wasn’t too well when I woke him up and was quite warm. So I told him to stay in bed and I will come back in a few minutes, with a thermometer and take his temperature. (This is done in the ear)

Once I had woken up the remaining boys, I went back to our poorly boarder and took his temperature. He was warm, so I decided to give him Calpol and leave him in bed, with 30 minute obs. My next job was drugs round, which is a job that takes around half a hour to complete. Most of the boys shower ion the morning, so I was able to collar them coming to or from the bathrooms and give them their meds. By the time I finished meds, I was now late for breakfast. (That is nothing new, I am always late for Breakfast!) I always eat breakfast with the kids and on weekends, a member of Care Staff makes a cooked breakfast for the boys. (Sausage, Bacon, fried Egg, cooked Mushrooms, cooked Tomatoes etc) there is also cereals, yogurts, toast etc available too) Plus we also have a large metal pot of tea and coffee and fruit juice available.

One of the boys suddenly got up and left the room, before I could say anything. He came back in with a carrier bag and put it at the side of my cup and saucer. I opened the bag and was shocked about the contents. The boys had filled the bag with cards and there was also a box set of smellies. (Deodorant, shower gel and shaving gel) One of the boys went behind the side board and bought out a big photo frame, which had a photo of the boys, the staff and I, sat on the sofa in the unit lounge. The boys had clubbed together and had the phoro enlarged and put in a frame for me.

I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say. The kids had never done anything like this for me before and I was totally flabbergasted! Of course, I thanked the kids emencely for the kindness they had shown me. One of the boys, who I had helped on Friday night, (after more or less being rejected by his family for coming out as gay.) I stayed with him all night, as he was clearly in crisis and needed my support to get him through it – and he did get through it and was OK) said:

To us boarders, Kyle is the next nearest thing we have to a dad. He’s always there for us and knows what to say to help us, what ever it is we are going through.

Each of them got a hug from me and were thanks individually and as a group. After breakfast, the boys signed out for activities. I stayed on the unit as usual and got some paperwork done and kept nipping in and out looking after our poorly boarder. I also took him the games console and TV on a trolley, which we keep in the Play Specialist’s cupboard, for when boarders are poorly or  when kids have family visit. There is a games console in the communal lounge too.

After Lunch, (which on a Sunday, the Caterers do a Roast) the boys went to rehearsals for the school show, which is at the end of term. It meant I could see our kids, as they had come in with Sam. I also got the cards and gifts from our boys as well. (I got more smellies, a iTunes Gift Card and a car cleaning set for my Morris Minor. (Yes I know sad! I like my car tho) Now back on the unit and buried in paperwork, while the kids rehearse, I have managed to tell you why this has been the nicest Father’s day yet! The boarder who was unwell this morning, is feeling a bit better and is still on the unit, but is now well enough to of got dressed and is sitting in the lounge on the other games console. (Kids who are unwell are usually looked after on their unit, unless they are very poorly, which is when they are transferred to Sick Bay upstairs.)

In Case Of Emergency….

Some of the kids we foster are placed with us for their own safety, often by the Courts. So, when it comes to keeping our little ones safe,  Sam and I don’t take chances. If you visit our house in the stunning County Durham countryside, the 1st thing you will see is the large iron electric gates. The gates are there to help keep the kids in and outer people out. It sounds harsh, but when one of our kids is under a protection order by the court, Sam and I have a “duty of care” to protect the kids. The house isn’t a prison and the kids do go out and about in the community, but under supervision.

As you walk up the drive, we can see you; thanks to the CCTV cameras, which record what’s going on on the driveway and in the garden, 24 hours a day. Our only camera inside the house, is above the front door. The outer front door is opened from 6am – 10pm and then the building is protected by a reinforced and is half glass. The glass has wire in it, so even if the toughened safety glass did get broken, there is no way anyone can get their hand in and open the door from the inside. The front door is also controlled via an intercom and we can see who is at the door, before we press door release, to let the person in. The kids are not allowed to answer the door and they are also not allowed their own keys. (One of us is always at home. Either myself or Sam, or Linda or Jenny.) In the event of a power cut, we can also lock the security door manually with a key. In the event of us needing to evacuate, there is a button which will release the locking mechanism and allow us to open the door. The side door by the garage is locked by a key and the garage door via a button by the door. However, the key is accessible, via a red box with a glass panel. You break the glass panel to get the key.

If there is an emergency, we have a system in place, where we use a keyword to signal an emergencies, where there is a threat to the kids safety.  We use a word that the kids often use when playing Pirates. The phrase is Battle Stations, but with the prefix emergency. So in an emergency, we use “Emergency! Emergency! Battle Stations!, I repeat: Emergency! Emergency! Battle Stations!

This is activated by using our internal telephone system. By all the outside doors, is a telephone. In an emergency, you would pick up the phone and dial 66. Once you hear the double bleep, speak clearly and slowly and state: “Emergency! Emergency! Battle Stations!, I repeat: Emergency! Emergency! Battle Stations! Once activated, hang up the phone.

When you dial 66, it activates PA (Public Address)  mode on the phone system. All phones can accommodate, even if the line on a phone is in use. (The person on the phone will hear the announcement through their handset, but the caller will not hear it. We also have car speakers mounted in the ceilings in the corridors upstairs and there are speakers  underneath the awnings at the back. Regardless where you are, (inside or out) you will hear the warning. On the wall by each phone, is a card with all the extensions for the house and how to activate emergency protocol.

So what happens when Emergency Protocol is activated?

First, lets create a scenario. Lets say one of the boys relatives has just breached the conditions of their bail and just climbed the walls to the garden. One of the boys spots this and knows he needs to activate the emergency protocol and runs into the house, locks the door and activates the protocol.

We will know which phone the protocol has been activated from, as the phone will announce it’s extension number after the phone is hung up. For instance: Extension 5934 (kitchen) One of the adults will go to the location the call came from and find out what is happening. In this case, we need to move the boys to safety. Normally, the safest place in the house is the Cellar. So we tell the kids go go down to the cellar. For Toby, Sam or I carry him down the stairs. If we are not at home, he is bumped down the stairs using an Evac Chair.

We close all the downstairs doors (and there is a good reason for this that I will explain in a minute) and press the red panic button by the door to the cellar. This sends a silent alarm signal to ADT, who call the Police. Once we are all down in the Cellar, we lock and bolt the door. We have 4 heavy duty steel bolts for this. (One is a kick bolt, which bolts into the concrete floor, one is a bolt that bolts into the top of the door frame and 2 bolts, which bolt horizontally into the door frame.

Now, I mentioned about the downstairs doors and there is a good reason for this. My very clever Hubby Sam, built a system, which allows us to track an intruder if they are in the house. On the wall to the cellar, is a panel with several red lights. Each light is a room downstairs, once it is switched on. When an intruder opens a door, a red light for that room lights up. If they go into a room and shut the the door once having a look, the light switches off. This is achieved by door contacts on each door, which breaks the circuit when the door is opened and completes the circuit when the door is shut. The doors have auto-closers, so it is quite easy to keep tabs on an intruder. From the cellar, we can use the phone to call the Police and update them on the situation. Of course, if they try the cellar door, they will not be able to get down there. The 4 steel bolts and the locks, prevent them from opening the door. Being a solid fire door, it is also not possible to kick it in. On top of this, there is a door at the bottom of the stairs too, for security. From the cellar, we can see the police approaching and can open the electric gates and release the front door, so they can tackle an intruder.

A bit elaborate you may be thinking… But in this line of work, we take security that little more seriously. We have a duty from the court to keep the kids safe from anyone who could seriously harm them. We have never had to use this protocol for real (and we hope we never will have to) but it is there, should we ever need to do so. The whole house is alarmed, we have CCTV and the Police know this property as on the vulnerable list, so if we need the police in an Emergency, we get priority.  We have been praised by Social Services and the police, regarding our extra security arrangements.

Like I said before, the house is not a prison, it is a normal house, full of normal people, who live normal lives.

I know that these arrangements mean that the kids can sleep soundly, knowing that no one can get to them and if they did, we will take immediate action. They also know that downstairs is alarmed at night, so if anyone got in; the alarm will go off. (It is very very loud!) In the event that they need a drink during the night, a jug of orange squash and plastic cups are always put on a table, by the door that leads downstairs. (After we go to bed, the kids are not allowed downstairs. The table the jug and glasses on it, also has a lamp, so the kids can see where they are going. However, we also do the occasional drill, just to make sure that the kids and adults know what to do in an emergency.

If an intruder was silly enough to sound the fire alarm, we have a repeater panel in the cellar, so we can see where the alarm has been activated (our system is addressable, so it shows us where the alarm has been activated and which device. IE: Smoke Detector, Break Glass etc)

So that’s a incite into how we keep the boys safe from people getting into the house or the garden and what we do, should we encounter an emergency.

Time for bed! I am taking Toby to his outpatients Appointment at 8.45am!

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.

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.

Rooftop Emergency: Pupil Threatens to Jump!

Update: The Year 9 Pupil is now back at school and read me a special letter (he had written while in Hospital) at Friday afternoon assembly. I got a massive round of applause and I got a big hug off the lad too!

I was told that “I went above and beyond to help a Pupil in crisis” and in his hour of need, I listened to him, I supported him all the way through it, and I showed him that I care, not because I am paid to, but because I want to care and that I care about each and every Pupil, no matter if they are naughty or nice, if they give me verbal abuse or put pins on my chair. Finally as stated by our Head Teacher, I have a heart of gold and that shines a beacon of light, which gives comfort to our pupils. They know they are not alone and what ever they are going through, they don’t have to go through it alone. Staff are always there to listen, to help pupils work through what ever it is that is bothering them and find a solution to that problem. Our school motto is “if you can’t help yourself, there will always someone will always help you”, which is very true.

The School, the staff and pupils are very lucky to have someone like me and I in turn, am very lucky to work at such a wonderful school, full of kids who are special, not because they have special needs, but because they are very special kids.


I have just managed to get home, I am very tired and honestly, rather disappointed. Right, lemme go to the beginning and explain what happened…

One of the pupils in my school, suffered a “Psychotic Episode”. (psychosis is where one hears, sees or feels things or have thoughts that someone is going to harm them.) This Year 9 Pupil, (who I cannot name for legal reasons) climbed onto the roof of the Gym in D Block. I was first alerted by someone in the office, who spotted someone on the roof of the Gym. Of course I followed emergency procedures and used my radio to put out an urgent message to the office. I used my mobile in the meantime, to phone the Fire Brigade. Sam was able to get me up onto the flat roof of C Block, (via a access door in B Block) which is not as high as D Block, so I could speak to him and try to defuse the situation. By now, me on the rooftop drama had got half the school’s attention and unfortunately, we ended up with a crowd on the playground, even though they were told to  stay back.

To cut a long story short, through me talking to the pupil in question and talk him down. I told the Police that I know the lad better than anyone and I knew I could get him to come down with a little time and patience.  It took 2 and a half hours to talk him down. With assistance from Durham Fire and Rescue, we got the lad down off the roof and into an ambulance. I went with him to the Hospital, where we sat for a staggering 10 hours! I am sorry, but for someone in crisis, that is far too long to be sat in A&E and the waiting room was not the best or appropriate place to spend half the time,  as he was very anxious. Finally, Mental Health Liaison came to see us and he is now in the care of  the Hospital.

More money needs to be invested in Mental Health services. I know A&E is busy, I get there are lots of very sick people in the department, but Mental Health crisis should not be pushed down the queue. People who are poorly because of mental health, should not have to wait more than 2 hours to see a Mental Health Professional in A&E. Tomorrow, I am going to write to my MP, because the stigma with mental health needs to stop and better care needs to be out there and not just a “postcode lottery”.

I went above and beyond for a pupil and I didn’t need to do so. I reached out to someone who was  in a crisis. In this job, you have to wear many hats. I’m not just the Head of Care, I am a friend the kids can always come to when they are feeling down. The kids know my office door is always open for a private chat and if I am not at work, they know they can turn to any member of staff for help. If needed, I can always be called and I will come into work to help a young person, regardless if it’s 3:30pm on a Sunday afternoon or 3:30 am on a Wednesday morning.

The kids know they can talk to me and they know if they want one, a hug is always something I am willing to give. From kids who are homesick and miss mum and dad, to kids who feel they are struggling to cope, I am here to listen and I will not judge them or tell them what to do. I will always explore ways to resolve the problem and they know that they can confide in me. They also know when I have a “legal duty” to speak to break confidentiality, if they or someone else may be in danger. However, I always make sure that I explain why I have to break confidentiality and will always continue to support them through this process.

Today was incident to reflect on and made me think that as a school, we need to be more eagle eyed to spot when things are getting out of hand and to to intervene. I am not blaming anyone at school, but we need to work harder to prevent something like this happening again.

I was always taught by my mum to “not dwell on the what if’s) and this is the same when you think about today. If we had of got this pupil in to see the School Doctor, before a roof top drama started, the outcome would of been the same. The same outcome regardless, would of been a trip to A&E, as we cannot keep a young person safe from himself or keep other people in school safe. A&E was the appropriate place for him to receive help and when he comes out of hospital, he will be welcomed back to school, with no bad feelings and he will not be told off. It is not the way things are done at our school!

I have been told he will get after care and he will get plenty of help in school as well. All his friends and the staff just want the best for him and I think that he is very lucky to have so many people who care about him.

Right, time for bed, I am back at work tomorrow! G’nite 🙂

When The Kids Shock You With Their Talents!

On Friday, at our weekly £It’s The Weekend Party,” (Which we do in the Sports Hall and is Karaoke and Disco, which is very popular with the kids) a lad, who was placed at our school just before the Easter Break, shocked me, shocked Sam and shocked the other kids with his voice. The lad I am talking about is 14 and is very shy. However, he decided to sing on Friday night, something Sam has never been requested to play.

He had requested to sing Nessun Dorma, which is by Luciano Pavarotti. It is a track that is very hard to sing and I got to give it to this lad, because he shocked everyone. The song is difficult as it was and on the last part, where he sings the line

Dilegua, oh notte!  Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò! Vincerà! Vincerò!

shocked everyone, as the last part you really need to hold the note for quite a while. When he sang the final Vincerò! he held the last note, which caused me to drop my drink. I have not seen a child be able to sing like this, ever! It was a right shock and he got a standing ovation from the care staff and the other kids. Aparently he was taught to sing like this by his Grandad. It’s amazing!

Meanwhile, I have moved to a temporary office, while the roof in J Block is repaired. (As you will already know, my office is on the top floor of the building) So now I am in a Portakabin for the next few weeks, while the roof is repaired and the top floor offices are repainted and re-carpeted, after water ingress, due to the leaking roof.  It will do for now. Our 2 floor Portakabin is behind J Block at the moment and you can see the Laundry and Boiler House in the background. I must also thank Sam for helping us move everything out. Our Portakabin may be smaller and we have no kitchen for making brews, (we have to do that from the General Care Office) but at least it’s water tight and at least we have loos!

I got rather peeved this afternoon, when I get a call from one of the Units, as a parent had turned up and decided she wanted her son to come home.  However she knows he can’t as there is a Care Order.

A care order is given by a court. It allows a council to take a child into care. Under the Children Act 1989 a council can apply for a care order if it believes a child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm.

The court decides if the child can be taken into care.

Care orders last until:

  • the child’s 18th birthday
  • an order is made giving parental responsibility to another person – eg through adoption or special guardianship
  • the court lifts the order (this is called ‘discharging’ the order)

This boarder in question, has been with us for a couple of  years now.

The Care Order means by law, we are responsible for the care of this child. His mum turning up just made matters worse, so I got a call to come and deal with it. (As I am on Call this all of this weekend) Thankfully her son didn’t get to hear all the commotion or he would of ended up being very upset.

The mother of this child does not know when to keep her mouth shut and all I got was verbal abuse. I know the kids sometimes tell me to F*** off, but this woman’s every sentence had the F word in it.  I had had enough and asked her to leave. Of course she refused, so I asked her again and got told where to stick it. So I pulled out my phone and I called the Police. (999) She got arrested for breaching the peace and more than likely will be locked up until tomorrow. As for the boarder in question, I did speak to him and let him know what had happened. He wasn’t impressed.

While it’s dry, I am heading out to the garden and play footie with our boys.

Sam and I celebrate 5 years of Marriage!


Sam and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary yesterday and of course, we had a party to celebrate. Sam did his usual Friday Night Disco and Karaoke in the Sports Hall, but it was no ordinary party. Btw, Sam and I have been together a lot longer than just the time we have been married. We’ve actually been together since 2007, which is over TEN YEARS now.

Lets wind back to the beginning of the day, when I walked into my office and found a big bunch of roses on my desk, when I came into work. There was no doubt who had left roses on my desk btw! Sam also got a surprise in the Internal Post, as I had paid to have proper photos taken of me and the kids and had it put in a album for Sam. His present arrived on Thurs, so I quickly gift wrapped it and put it in his pigeon hole in the post room.

As most of you know, I do a Waking Night Shift and a Late \ Sleep in Shift on the Jets Unit on alternate Fridays. Last night I was on Late \ Sleep in. My afternoon was going well, the kids had all signed out for activities and I remained on unit, with the kids who were doing art. (I did not know they were making banners for the party and I had no idea Sam was planning something special)

By 5pm, everything was too quiet. The kids, the staff had disappeared. Every last one of them had vanished and the unit was far too quiet. I thought that the other members of staff had taken them over to the playground to ride bikes, so I got on with paperwork for a bit. The kids came back got changed and vanished again. It was now 6.45, so I thought “ah, they are over in the sports hall.” So I left the unit and went over.

I had no idea that a surprise party, with food has been organised and was shocked when I walked in the sports hall. Of course there was a massive applause when I walked in the hall and I also had no idea that half the school staff had also turned up for a party I had no idea about. The kids banners hung on the balcony to the Sports Hall and Sam and the kids were dressed up.

Sam and I got up on karaoke and sung to each other. Sam sung Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jenifer Warnes and I sang Amazed by Lonestar to Sam. There was a lot of very good singers and we even managed to get the Head up singing! (She wasn’t bad actually!) Sam and I also had a slow dance and a smooch, dancing to Zazoo – Only You. (which was our first dance at our Wedding Reception) Yazzoo was Vince Clark from Depeche Mode and Alison Moyet, who was known back then by her nickname, “Big Alf” due to her weight problem, in the 1980s. In 1983, the track was also covered by The Flying Picketts. This track got to No.1 in the UK Charts, for Christmas.

Talking of which,  5 years ago, we had our wedding Reception in the Sports Hall and most of the school staff and the kids came to that too.

I managed to sleep really well, after a evening that was so magical and thanks to Sam, our kids, the boarders and staff, we had a really special evening. Tonight, we are going out for a family meal. I’ve just finished a early shift, which is normal, when I do a sleep in. (So my work rota worked in my favor.) At breakfast this morning, I thanked the boarders and staff, for giving me a Wedding Anniversary I will never forget!