Coronavirus: We are Still Here!

Hi folks, sorry for the lack of updates recently. As you know, the Coronavirus Lock down is still in place and at the moment, I am living on site, providing leadership to the Residential Staff. Because We’re also a Children’s Home, it means that our Boarders have had to remain on site and alot of changes to the day to day running of our Boarding Units.

  • Boarders on Units are kept segregated at the moment. This means that the boys are unable to socialise with others outside their unit, as the social distancing rules state.
  • It is impossible to keep Boarders 2 metres apart at all times, so this is why we have bought these guidelines in.
  • Higher risk activities, such as swimming are cancelled and using outdoor space, is also segregated, so that only one group is outside at the same time. All offsite activities are currently cancelled.
  • We have a separate area in Sick Bay, prepared for if we have a Boarder with Covid 19 and at all times, staff are wearing PPE.
  • Staff are cooking meals for Boarders at the moment. We have put fridge freezers in the Staff Rooms on each unit and we using the freezers in the main kitchens, to keep these fridge freezers on each unit, stocked up.
  • Once a week, the shop round the corner also brings us teabags, coffee, milk, bread  and cereal for each unit and are on a weekly supply.
  • Staff at risk or those shielding are not allowed to work at present.
  • We are keeping a very close eye on staff and pupils and are watching for the signs of Covid 19; which we are ready to handle if needed. (We have no cases at present!)
  • Some staff are living on site and the Unit Lounges are being used for staff. (I am in the Jets Sleep In Room)
  • I am on call 24 \ 7 if needed. My office phone is diverted to my mobile, so all staff need to do is dial KYLE on the phone.
  • We are keeping Parents informed and Parents are welcome to phone to check on their sons.
  • Cleaning has been ramped up and all areas and we have extra domestic staff coming in to for-fill that.
  • Sam is working from home and is only dealing with emergency call outs at the moment.

I am keeping in touch with home, via my laptop and Skype and I also phone to check on our boys and Sam, several times a day. I do miss home and I miss cuddling up to Sam in bed. (Sam, the kids, Linda and Jenny are all well and have no symptoms, which is good. )

However, I know this lockdown will not last forever and even though things do look bleak at the moment; there is still that light at the end of the tunnel. It may seem far away, but we have to keep holding on, keep locked down and keep safe.

On a final note, the boys at work stand on the fire escapes and at windows every Thursday and clap, bang pots and pans, blow whistles cheer and shout for the heros on the Front Line, Carers, Doctors, Nurses and other Health and Social Care Staff. They are what keeps this country going at the moment and I hope this Thursday, you will join us in the weekly clap for Carers and The NHS!

Finally, from all the staff here at School, from myself and Sam, from our kids and the kids I look after at work, I am sending all our love to you, our followers and ask you to stay safe, keep up the social distancing, follow the rules and help protect the NHS.

Kyle x

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

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.

Silver_Sonic
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!!!!!)

 

GiantMech
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.

robotnick
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 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!

Cleaning Colour Coding

In a school or professional environment, it is important that we use the correct colour coded equipment when cleaning. This helps to stop cross contamination of germs and pathogens from getting to other surfaces in other parts of the building. This isn’t currently law, but is common practice in most workplaces.

So roll on the many colours:

Red Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Red coloured equipment must only be used in bathrooms, (Including bathtubs,  taps, shower fixtures, Shower curtains, taps, sinks plugholes, pipes, mirrors, tiles, window sills, window frames, door handles, locks, and floor)  toilets, (Including the inside and outside of the bowl, cistern, chain, pipes, seats, basins, window frames, window sills, sink, taps and pipework, mirrors, tiles and the floor. Also red mops can be used in changing rooms too. )

Yellow Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Yellow coloured equipment must be only used in areas of isolation. We only use those in single rooms in Sick Bay or in the event that Sick Bay has a Nova Virus outbreak. (This doesn’t happen often.

Green Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Green coloured equipment must be only used in a kitchen on all surfaces.

White Dish Cloths with a Red Trim: x These cloths must only be used for washing up in a kitchen environment.

Yellow Dusters with a Red Trim: Dusters can be used universally, but must not be used in a kitchen \ bathroom \ toilet or isolation areas.

We also use colored Tabards too:

Red: Toilets \ Bathrooms

Blue: General Purpose

Yellow: Sick Bay Ward Areas \ Isolation Areas

Green: Kitchens

These guidelines are not law, (Apart from the use of green equipment being used in kitchens. ) but are recommended by the British Institute of Cleaning Science. These guidelines apply to cleaning cloths, mops, buckets, brushes, gloves (unless the gloves are disposable) and sponges. You will also need to change your PPE, (Personal Protective equipment) every time you switch areas. (IE: if you go from a bathroom to a general low risk area, such as a office.) This helps to reduce cross contamination.

So that’s Sam’s guide to cleaning colour coding for cleaning. 🙂

Dealing with Body Fluids

I have just come back from dealing with someone on Sick Bay, who had vomited all over the floor. Our school policy is to bleep Domestic Services during the day (7am – 3pm every day) or page me out of hours on a body fluid spill. So being that it was 11pm that this happened, I got paged to come to Sick Bay  to clear it up.  (I only live round the corner from school.)

So, I attended and needed the following kit:

  • Body Fluids Kit (We have one on each unit, including Sick Bay)
  • Blue Mop Bucket and a Blue Mop
  • 2 Bleach Tablets dissolved in 5L of water
  • Blue Paper Roll
  • Disposable Apron
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Wet Floor Sign

Once, I had everything I needed and I had the correct PPE; (Personal Protective Equipment) I put up a yellow “Wet Floor Sign and  sprinkled the absorbent powder onto the vomit. Using the paper roll, I slowly  scooped it up. and then used the spills kit hazardous waste bag to dump the blue roll and the vomit. Then using a socket mop and bucket, I washed the area of floor with diluted bleach solution, leaving the wet floor sign in place; until the floor has dried. The mop head went into the red infected laundry bag in the sluice room and will be taken down to the laundry, by the Unit Housekeeper in the morning.

Remember: When dealing with any body fluid, (regardless if it is urine, vomit, blood, faces or semen) you must wear PPE. It is safety first. – Wear disposable \ thick rubber gloves, an  apron and goggles. (when working with chemicals) You must also remember to stick to the correct colour coding of equipment. Please read this post, to find our  more information about colour coding when cleaning.

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! 🙂

Trouble At The Beginning Of Term

So, term is back in swing and the new boarders have arrived and are into their 1st week at school. However, this evening, 2 boys have landed themselves in big trouble for breaking school rules and vandalism.

It started on Monday, when I was on the Jets Unit, which I am House Parent for. On the 1st afternoon of the school year, I do a getting to know you session, where I go through the rules of the units, who the staff are, the structure etc. On one of these items I go through is smoking and that it is not allowed on school premises. We offer pupils help for pupils to stop smoking and we can give out patches as needed. We also ask that if pupils have smoking materials, that they are handed into staff.

However, a pair of 13 year old lads on the Adolescent Unit , decided the rules do not apply to them and this evening, forced the window in their bedroom window open, breaking the safety catches and then went out on the flat roof for a cigarette. From what I can gather, the pair had done this a couple of times, before being caught by a member of staff walking past their room and smelling smoke. (I am surprised domestics did not notice the broken catch, when they hoovered their room.)

The boys were soon sent to me. Of course I have a zero tolerance view about this. (I know, I smoke I am bias in some ways, but in school I have to enforce the rules. Also I smoke off site) The pair got a right telling off, as well as being grounded for the whole weekend. Their cigarettes and lighters were confiscated and destroyed and the pair will have pocket money docked, to pay for the window safety latches to be repaired. In the meantime, Sam has boarded up the window, for safety until the latch is fixed. 

What a crap start to the week!