Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Thursday, 21 June 2012 13:03 UK

Children and Young People's Committee part one

A committee has been told teachers in Wales need to be made "more aware" when adopted children join a new school.

The Children and Young People Committee was taking evidence on its inquiry into adoption on 21 June 2012.

Educational psychologist Erica Beddoe told AMs a lot of teachers in Wales would not know whether a child has been adopted, and even if they did know they would not have had sufficient training.

Ms Beddoe said it was often down to people like her to make teachers aware and provide the training required.

She explained some of the important principles in integrating an adopted child into a new school: "At the beginning it is about meeting and greeting the child at the start of the day...and not just allowing them to come in amongst the whole group of children.

"What I am suggesting to schools is that they have a key person within the school setting whose role it is to bring the child into the classroom and settle them down."

Ms Beddoe told the committee that the appropriate systems to help an adopted child settle into a new school were "in place", but they were not being applied regularly enough.

Erica Beddoe also added that when children in Wales are placed with their new adopted family, they should be allowed time to settle in before being made to attend a new school.

She said: "Children should settle into their new families before they are exposed to the anxieties of a new school.

"Adopters and social workers become quite anxious about that [children attending school]...but their needs are not always met at that stage in their life by attending school."

The committee went on to hear evidence from the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

BASW-Cymru Committee Member, Jean Letton, told AMs many social workers were "fearful" of proposed changes to the adoption service in Wales.

Ms Letton added that there were also concerns the new national adoption agency for Wales could lead to a talent drain on social workers within local authorities.

She said: "The worry is it will be seen as an elite place to be working...leaving the local authority without as many staff as they should have."

Finally members of the committee heard evidence from Karen Williams, Children's Directorate at Bridgend County Borough Council, and Bev Jones from the Association of Directors of Education Wales.

Bev Jones was asked whether teachers in Wales were sensitive to the needs of adopted children when it came to lessons that focused on a pupil's past and family history.

Ms Jones said that as part of the planning process teachers "would be aware" of difficulties an adopted child might experience in this area.

But she acknowledged sometimes the information of a particular child is not filtered down effectively so that all staff at a school are aware.

Children and Young People Committee membership


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