Working Hard (During the Corona Virus Crisis)

Working hard at School

School is sort of still operational, despite the Corona virus outbreak. The Day Pupils are not able to come to school at the moment, but our Boarders are still here. (As we are also a Children’s Home) We are using this time that the school is closed, to teach life skills to the boarders; so when they leave care, they will have the skills they need to live interdependently. (Such as how to change bed sheets, operate the washing machine, how to iron, stranger danger, first aid etc)

We have plans in place to deal with staff shortages and at the moment, I am remaining on site to keep things running. Our kids are safe and all off site activities have been cancelled. The kids \ staff are having regular temperature tests and we also have a side room setup on sick bay, should one of the kids contract the virus.  We also have plans in the event of a staff shortage situation.

We have been blessed with the support from the local community as well. The local shop has been providing us with bread and milk, (which we are freezing over in the main school kitchens, for when there may be a shortage) Local people have been offering to help where and when they can too. We are also helping the community. The boys on my Unit, ring the elderly and disabled people in the village, to reduce the loneliness of social isolation, while the Year 10s are helping, by delivering essentials to the above, with items such as milk, toiletries, going to pick up prescriptions etc) showing true community spirit, during dark times.

If you know of someone who is elderly, disabled or suffers with loneliness, I encourage you to give them a ring and see if they want to talk or if they need anything from the shops. We all have to help each other, while the country comes to a standstill.

Finally, Our family is well and self isolating. I am using alcohol gel as soon as I get home to disinfect my hands and my work clothes go straight down the laundry chute, as soon as I get home. Sam is doing the same, as we try to keep the virus away from our home and family.

To all our friends, foes, readers, followers and fellow Public Sector Workers, staff safe, don’t horde bod roll and bread and look after each other.

Kyle x

Couldn’t be prouder!

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I am off work this evening, after taking a bump to the head, when I slipped on wet leaves while rollerblading with the kids at work. We were doing circuits of the driveway, (which I cone off when rollerblading) and had just crossed the playground. As I went past the front of the school, I slipped on wet leaves, lost balance and went head first into the side of kitchen bin compound.  It’s a good thing I had my helmet on. I also hurt my arm, but that was just a mild sprain.

A couple of the boarders saw the accident and went straight into action. One boarder took control of the situation and told one of the other boys to skate back to J Block, to to the unit and get help. The boarder who took charge and rolled me into the recovery position. Another boarder boarder nabbed my keys, skated round to B Block and grabbed a First Aid Kit from the Staff Room.

Meanwhile the boarder who stayed with me, called 999 for an ambulance and explained that their Careworker had slipped on leaves and bashed his head. By now, an emergency radio call had gone out and I had colleagues from my unit, Sister Judy from Sick Bay, 2 Healthcare Assistants and Sam. (Who heard the call over the radio.) The Paramedics checked me over and thankfully, I did not need to go to Hospital, but was taken to Sick Bay (in a wheelchair) and had the cut above my eye fixed.

I could not be prouder of the Boarders who came to my aid and I will make sure that in Monday Morning assembly, they are given praise from the Head. I am off work tonight, due to my accident; but I will be fine. I am on a late tomorrow and I deffo will not be rollerblading. Sam’s going to get rid of the wet leaves and we will only be rollerblading when it is dry and the playground and driveway are clear.

Staff on the Unit I work on have called a couple of times, as the kids are worrying about me, even though they have been told I will be OK. I will be deffo be rewarding them with extra merit points, when I go back in tomorrow.

Meanwhile at home, I have been spending time with our kids and have had cups of tea bought to me by Josh and I have been playing Sonic and Knuckles on the Sega Mega drive with Kyrlo and Toby.

Thank you to the boarders who came to my aid, after I had taken a tumble. It just proves how much the kids care about me and knowing that if something did happen to me again, there’s always someone to help.

Our Unit Ethos is “If you can’t help yourself, then there will always be someone here who is willing to help you”. That was shown this afternoon, by boarders who could of just skated by and left me behind the wheelie bins. However they didn’t and they did the right thing. They gave me care when I needed it the most.

Jammin’ Sweet Dreams

As some of you know, I am musical. (Meaning I can play the keyboard and the electric guitar.) Anyway, one of our Year 10s, asked me to jam with the Year 10 Boy Band again. (A couple of months back, I had played Rocking All Over The World with them)

So we ended up playing “Sweet Dreams”, which is the ending on the Sega Mega Drive game: Sonic 2. (The year 10s had gone to see the new Sonic The Hedgehog Movie last night and decided to do their own take on the Sonic 2 ending.)

For those of you who have never played Sonic 2, here is the lowdown…

Sonic has chased Dr Robotnick through 10 zones and has finally caught up with the mad scientist, ab aboard his space station, called the Death Egg. (Orbiting the Planet Mobius) It looks like the Doctor finally is trapped and has run out of options. Yeah right! Sonic  has a final battle ahead,  which is in 2 phases.

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Silver Sonic – Death Egg Zone Final Boss (Phase 1)

First Sonic must defeat Silver Sonic (Dr Robotnick’s robotic clone of Sonic) Silver Sonic has razor blade spikes , which can instantly cause Sonic to loose a life if he touches them. Silver Sonic can also throw metal spikes, which can be fatal, if Sonic hits them.

Once Silver Sonic is destroyed in a puff of smoke, Sonic must chase the mad Doctor across his Space Station, for the final showdown in the Cargo Bay.

The Doctor uses his final weapon, the Egg Emperor. The Egg Emperor is a robot that looks like Robotnick. It has a  pair of  detachable arms, (with spikes) which Robotnick fires at Sonic. Also, at the rear, the Doctor can fire land mines. He also has a homing beacon, which can track sonic and flatten him! (It’s the final battle, where there is everything to play for. It’s do it or die!)

The only one way to destroy the Egg Emperor, is to dodge the flying arms and the homing beacon and hit the front panel of the machine.  After 12 hits, the machine will explode, while the  Death Egg itself,  begins to fall apart. Sonic runs for the escape hatch, just as the Death Egg explodes. Meanwhile Dr Robotnick has got away in his “Egg O’ Matic” and has returned to the Planet Mobius, defeated at last! (hooray!!!!!)

 

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The Egg Emperor – The Final Boss (Phase 2) battle on Sonic 2,

On the ground, Tails sees the explosion, but where is Sonic? Tails races for the Tornado and takes off, to find Sonic. Meanwhile, Sonic  falls down  to the Planet Mobius, where he changes to Super Sonic and flies near the Tornado. (if you got all the Chaos Emeralds) If you did not get all  7 Chaos Emeralds, Sonic will land on the wings of Tails plane.

 

So here is our version, with me playing lead electric guitar and having fun doing it! (This version starts quite slow and then speeds up towards the end.  Recorded via the PC in the Band Room and exported via Adobe Audition, (Which the kids did for me) this is Sweet Dreams, performed by myself and 4 Year 10 boys.

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The evil and Mad Dr, Ivo Robotnic, with his “dumb bots” Grounder and Scratch.

By the way, did you know the original song “Sweet Dreams” has lyrics to it? Also, did you know that originally, Tails was supposed to be a girl? Here is the link to the original track used in the game,  and Sweet Dreams, with lyrics. (It was supposed to be a love song, as Sonic was supposed to be in love with the female Tails!) Sweet Dreams was also re-released in 2006 and featured Akon. Click here to listen to that version.

Below is a video of the Boss Battles in Sonic 2, from Emerald Hill to Death Egg.

  • Emerald Hill Zone: Egg Drill Mk1
  • Chemical Plant Zone: Egg Dropper
  • Casino Night Zone: Egg Tazer
  • Hill Top Zone: Egg Blaster
  • Mystic Caves Zone: Egg Drill Mk2
  • Hidden  Palace Zone: Egg Tuba (Needs to be unlocked by activating Level Select)
  • Oil Ocean Zone: Egg Submarine
  • Metropolis Zone: Egg Sphere
  • Sky Chase Zone: No Boss
  • Winged Fortress Zone: Egg Laser
  • Death Egg: Silver Sonic
  • Death Egg: Egg Emperor (Final Boss Battle)

My Working Shifts

This is a quick post, as I need to get to bed in a few. (I am on Sleep In tonight (as I always am on a Friday Night.)

Sleep In Shift, is where I am paid to sleep. (Yeah, that sounds too good to be true and sometimes it is) If something happens during the night, such as a member of staff is taken ill, one of the boys has to be taken to a&e and that member of staff needs to be relieved, there is an emergency, such as a fire, security incident or urgent help from another member of staff is needed, if there is a safeguarding concern etc) I am on Sleep in for the Birds and Jets Unit tonight, as on each floor there is a sleep in member of staff for each unit on that floor. (Except for Sick Bay, which doesn’t need sleep in cover. Usually on Sleep In, I do a “late shift” and then go to bed after. The Sleep In Room is off the stairwell and is en suite. There is a bed, bedside table, desk, telephone and chair. There is also a hook, which has a torch hung on it, along with a clipboard; which has a list of children who are boarding on the units, emergency contacts and other important info. The beginning of this shift, always starts with a handover, as normal.

When I am on an early shift, I start work at 7am. This always starts with Handover, where we get an update on the events of the night before. This may include kids who may have been unwell in the night, including those sent to Sick Bay, had the doctor our or have been sent to a&e. Also behavioural issues, welfare issues, (such as if a boarder is upset or if a member of staff is worried about a pupil. Handover only lasts 15 minutes and after this, we go to wake the boarders.

Once the boarders are up, we assist with personal care, such as showering, getting dressed etc. Meanwhile, the hot trolley will come up from the kitchen, with porridge, toast and cereal. The Unit Housekeeper will make pots of tea and coffee, juice and milk for breakfast. I like Early shifts, because I can have breakfast with the kids and it is a good way to socialise. Breakfast is at 8am) After this, I do medication, making sure that the kids get their morning medication. Some of the meds are oral, but there are a couple of boys, who have to have it injected into them. (Insulin dependent boarders)

On a school day, the boys go over to the playgrounds, ready for school at 8.45. The only exception to this, is when it is wet, very windy or snowy. In these situations, they are allowed to remain on unit, until the bell sounds at 9am. Staff will then escort pupils over to school.

 Staff remain on unit, until 11am and complete their paperwork and take kids to hospital appointments, dental appointments and other appointments.

Late Shifts begin at 2pm and as normal, start with a handover. Over in the main school, there is a pigeon hole for each of the units. Teaching Staff can use this to pass on information about a pupil, where appropriate. This is then used at Handover.

We fetch the kids from school at 3.15 and supervise activities, before and after tea. On a Tuesday, I also hold a “House Meeting”, which all boarders on my unit, are welcome to attend. (I am the Unit Leader for Jets, but am more commonly known as the House Parent In Charge. I work part time in this role)  House meetings are a platform for discussing issues around the unit and for me to update boarders on unit \ school news. Later in the evening, I may be tasked to  supervise bathing \ showers and assist as needed. I don’t always do this, it depends on staffing and if it is my turn on the rota. I do this  a couple of times a week.

If I am on a late, I finish at 10pm. However, we do a handover at the end of my shift.

When I am on a “Waking Night shift, I start at 9pm. This will start with a handover. Usually, some of the kids have gone to bed by the end of handover, while some will be watching a film on DVD or playing pool. Btw, there are always  a couple of members of staff around during handover, keeping an eye on the kids and answering buzzers.  At 9.45, the lid goes on the pool table and the TV goes off.

Once the kids are in bed, I usually go to the Unit Leader’s Office and do paperwork for the shift. I also go every half a hour, to check the kids who I am looking after, (Normally I have 3 kids to keep an eye on) By then, I am probably through my 2nd cup of coffee.

Later on, I will take our unit laundry down to the laundry room. This is also in J Block. (The residential block.) Usually, this is the kids school clothes, towels and tabbards. (used on kids who make a mess when eating) Each Unit blue tacks a Unit Label to the machine, so that staff know which unit is using which machine. I will pop down a couple more times, to transfer clothes to the dryers and to then to press them.

By now it is 5am, so I usually finish paperwork, answer the odd buzzer call and lay the tables for breakfast. (I also answer buzzer calls through the night)

Finally, at 7am, I have handover with the AM staff, have breakfast with the kids and then at 8.30, go home and go to bed! (I  do 1 sleep in shit and 2 Waking Night shifts each week.)

So now you know what shifts I do and what they entail. Care work is knackering but rewarding and I enjoy every day of it.

Happy Valentines Day!

First, the good news is that we have stood down from the Major Incident, declared earlier this week. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who helped out, while Storm Ceira battered our school. Thankfully, we only suffered minor damage to the school buildings.

Tonight has been the Valentines Disco, which Sam put on. The boys were able to invite their “sweethearts” to the disco and of course me and Sam had a dance too! Earlier on, we also put on a dinner for the the valentines couples, before the disco and it was nice to see the boys dressed up for the occasion.

Earlier today, Sam gave me my valentines presents. It started with a bunch of red roses, then at lunchtime, he arrived in a horse and cart, which took us to a restaurant for a romantic dinner. (Shame we were both working and could not have any wine! I had coke and Sam had J20.)  I got Sam a gold chain, which I had engraved, and I bought him David Beckham smellies.

This afternoon, I did a “refresher” on my AED Training. (Automated Electric Defibrillator) so I am now refreshed on operating a defibrillator. (I have only ever had to use one once!)

I am on sleep in tonight at work and then working an early shift tomorrow. I will write a post on this before I go to bed, explaining this.

Night all, sleep well! x

Working Through The Storm

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Still at work, sat in the Jets Houseparent’s Office. I am Houseparent on Jets part time. 

Storm Ciara has certainly caused severe disruption across the UK, as well as here at school.  We’ve been on emergency power since Saturday, which is supplied by the 2 emergency generators on the roof of J Block. (Keeping the lights, sockets, lifts and other systems online.)  The main School is also on emergency power and has it’s own generators. However, due to the weather, school is currently closed and will remain so. During this severe weather.  Sam has 2 of the 4 main school generators running, keeping the “life support systems”, such as the CCTV, Pacs System, Fire Alarm System, Fridges and Freezers  and the school network running.

In the meantime, the village is still a mess. We have power lines down, telephone lines down and roads blocked. Back home, we have a generator from the electricity board keeping the house powered, due to Toby and his disabilities and how he needs the hoists and the lift working.

Due to the roads blocked and the lack of power, many staff cannot get into work. So, we are using the Day Unit for staff to sleep, so staff who are able to stay on, can do so and rest. I’ve not been home since Friday, due to the weather and am on Sleep In, at present. The staff who have stayed on, have shown real dedication, along with the volunteers who have come in and helped us stay afloat, by cleaning, helping with catering etc. Also I must thank our Head Karen and our Deputy Head Judy, who are coming in to help with care, even though school is closed. I make sure to Facetime Sam every evening, so the kids at home, can have a natter with me and can see I am OK. I miss the kids,  but I know they know why I am still at school.

We have declared  “Major Incident” Status and Karen, Sam, Judy and I are meeting every morning and having a progress meeting.

We’ll soldier on through and hopefully next week, Storm Dennis will pass and school can get back to normal. We’ve had a couple of trees down in the school grounds and a couple of broken windows, but we’re managing!

Batten Down The Hatches – Storm Kiera

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We’re preparing for Storm Kiera, which already has hit the UK. With a severe weather warning issued for wind and rain, we’re taking safety precautions. to protect our home, the kids and our school, after Sam, our Head (Karen) and I have had a meeting regarding the storm:

At school, Sam has:

  • Moved the benches that are not anchored to the concrete playground, into the bin store
  • Removed all the bins and bought them into B Block
  • Performed an emergency generator test
  • instructed staff to park in the main car park and not the J Block car park (as there are trees)
  • Instructed staff to use the link bridge to J Block, if boarders are taking part in activities in the Gym, Swimming Pool or the main school.
  • Instructed the Caterers to use the lift to the 1st floor of B Block and use the link bridge to access J Block.

I have also cancelled all off site activities this weekend, due to the strong winds.

At home, Jenny and I have been battening down the hatches:

  • We’ve removed the swing from the garden and put it in the garage
  • We removed the patio furniture and put that into the garage
  • Removed the garden gnomes and bought them in
  • Covered the climbing frame with Tarp and pinned it down with pegs
  • I have got all the torches on charge
  • I have tested the emergency lights

Please take extra care this weekend, as Storm Kera is going to cause mega disruption. Please only travel if you need top and keep an eye on the Met Office website to keep up to date with the latest storm info. www.metoffice.gov.uk 

Meanwhile, I’d like to introduce a new member of our family. This is Peppy, our Bengal Cat. We were asked to take hr in by a work colleague, who could not keep her. The kids and even Sox really love her! She was very nervous for the 1st couple of days we had her. However, last night, she curled up with Sox on the end of Kyrlo’s bed. She purrs and purrs when being stroked, but she isn’t too keen to be picked up. (But we are working on that!

Peppy

Right now though, it’s movie night and we are watching Pan, which is the back story of Peter Pan and before Captain Hook was a pirate. (He was just known as Hook and still had both his hands.) In the film, it shows Peter Pan, (Levi Miller)  in a orphanage, run by the evil Mother Barnabas,  (Played by Kathy Burke) and his escape to “Never-land”. This is where he meets James Hook, (Garrett Hedlund) who is trapped in the mines, under the control of Black Beard. (Hugh Jackman) With the help of Tinkerbell,  they defeat Blackbeard and rescue the other kids from Mother Barnabas.

Working Late

I am working late again tonight, thankfully I am at home. Today, I had to chaperone one of the kids, while had day surgery today. Everything went OK for the child involved and he is being looked after in Sick Bay. This meant that most of today, was spent sitting around in the Children’s Ward at the Hospital, but I didn’t mind.

Once I got back to work, I took our poorly pupil to Sick Bay, I went on my rounds. I do a rounds of all the units, at least twice a day. It’s a chance for me to interact with the kids and also to deal with any issues staff have.  When I got home, some of our kids were in bed, so I went up to check on them and had a quick game of pool with Josh and then hit the paperwork.

I also sent an email to all parents re: the Norovirus, as follows:

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you may be aware, we have a minor outbreak of the Norovirus. Please be assured, that only a few children are infected and we are currently keeping them isolated on their unit. Because of this, the Squirrels Unit is currently closed to all visitors, unless there is a urgent reason for visiting. This must be agreed in advance. so please contact the Unit and speak to the Unit Leader, before visiting.  Isolating the few pupils with the virus, will help us to prevent the virus spread to other pupils \ staff and visitors.

Please be re-assured: Your son’s welfare is high priority and we are working hard to contain the virus and stop it from infecting other children. If your son does have the virus, they will be assessed and treated accordingly. Dr. Robinson and Dr. Daryk are providing support to staff as needed and your son will be given medication; to stop  the symptoms of diarrhoea and medication to stop your son being sick.

Please feel free to ring the Unit to speak to your child on: (number omitted)  You may also use this number to speak to staff, if you have any concerns. You can also contact Sick Bay on: (number omitted,) where one of the nursing staff is available to answer any questions you may have.

If you or your child have had symptoms of the Norovirus, please do not send your child to school and keep your child at home for at least 48 hours after the the sickness and diarrhoea stops. This is to prevent re-infection of the virus and to stop it spreading around school.  

At the entrance to the main school building, the entrance to J Block and at the entrance to each unit; there are sanitizer points, which you can use on your hands. Please sanitize your hands on entry and exit of the buildings, to help contain the virus.

We are hoping that we will be able to re-open the Squirrels Unit to visitors on Tuesday and another email will be sent out regarding this, in due course.

If you have any worries or concerns, please feel free to give me a ring on: (number omitted) and I will be happy to answer any questions, worries or concerns you may have.

Kindest regards,

Kyle McLaughlin,
Head of Care


I still got quite a bit of paperwork to do and I know I will be at it for a hour or 2. The good news is, I am on a waking night shift tomorrow, as I was covering on another unit and that means that I didn’t do my waking night shift on the Jets Unit on Friday night.

Told you I am a busy bee!

J Block Immortalized On The Sims

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I have been meaning to post this alot sooner, but I am on Sleep In and haven’t been to bed yet. (due to dealing with an emergency) I promised one of the boys, it would go on our Blog as I love it! One of the boys on Jets, is building J Block on The Sims, but it is not finished yet. Thanks to Sam, I was able to photocopy plans of the building for him to design a realistic version of the building.

I can’t wait to see the finished product and I hope he makes Care Staff to work on his version of Junior House, along with a few boarders!

However, I am off to bed now…. I should of been in bed by 11 and I’m shattered. So goodnight from me and from our school!

We Are Rated Outstanding AGAIN!

BAN_SCH001Our Boarding Provision has been rated outstanding for the FIFTH YEAR RUNNING!! The inspectors were very impressed with our Boarding Provison and said that the boarding pupils have positive experiences. They are thriving and developing valuable life skills as a direct result of their attendance at this school. Th They all identified that their relationships with the boarding staff, and with each other, are ‘one of the best things’.

The Care Staff, known as House Parents, were inspected as genuinely caring and nurturing, which has a significant impact on the boarders. This offers them stability and emotional security. The boarders had told the inspectors that nothing was too much trouble and staff would always make time to listen and support young people in our care.

The inspectors found that we provide extensive pastoral support ensures that the boarders have several options where they can seek guidance and advice. This includes counselling, interdependent visitors, access to mental health support etc. The inspectors also said that primary health and well-being needs of boarders are met. They visited Sick Bay and spoke to patients and staff. Care in Sick Bay was found to be more than adequate, with  provision for inpatient care and also the day unit for pupils who cannot learn in a traditional classroom, due to health problems \ disabilities.

The Kids told the inspectors that they feel safe. They are confident that they would tell  a member of staff if they were worried about any issues. All the boarding staff have received level 1 safeguarding training, and the Head of Care (Kyle) is a designated safeguarding lead. The boarders re very respectful of the boarding staff and each other. The school educates all the pupils about the risks that they may encounter, and how to get help. This empowers the boarders to be aware and self-reliant. reduce the likelihood of behavioral issues or unwanted behavior. On top of this, the school has self defnce classes, taught by Sam. This is not to teach them to fight, but to use self defense, (Aikido) in the situation where they are in danger and have no choice but to defend themselves. As a school, we teach our kids to run from danger and to find an adult for help. This could be  in a nearby shop, a library or a public building. They are also taught the best weapon to use is their voice and to use it, by continuously  shouting HELP! loudly.

The inspectors were very impressed with the activities provided. One inspector really enjoyed the PAT Session. (Pets as Therapies, when Sox visits.) The inspectors said that the structured sessions and free time, allows the kids to have time for free play, as well as joining in on several planned activities every day.

Environmental health and safety and fire safety was inspected as very good. The school ensures that regular health and safety checks are carried out and that all utilities are regularly checked and serviced. The boarders also know what to do in an emergency, should they not be able to find a member of staff. Staff recruitment is thorough, which protects the boarders students from having access to unsuitable adults. Each Unit has enough staff to cover each shift, meaning that adequate supervision is provided.

I got to thank the kids and the staff, we would not of been rated outstanding if it wasn’t for them! I am proud of the kids and staff, together we work together to provide a safe and happy home for the boys we care for! 🙂