School Closures Here we are again. Not chatting in the playground, not waving our teens off as they cycle round the corner then take their helmets off, not walking into school with the proud architect of a solar system made of fruit… Even if you think closing all the schools was the right thing to do, the fact that this is happening again, the accumulation of lost learning and fractured young social lives is grim. Like all children who have experienced trauma, the implications of school closures for adopted children pack an additional emotional punch. As our research from last spring showed (Home Learning During Lockdown), some families reaped positive benefits from the last lockdown, enjoying spending more and calmer time with their children, with resulting improvements in their learning. But for some adopted children lockdown presents severe challenges, resulting in increases in violent and aggressive behaviour, and refusal to engage with any home learning. So it’s really important to remember that in England, if your child is adopted (or if they are placed with you but not yet adopted) they can go into school. For many adopted children, including mine, the benefits of them being in school rather than attempting to help them learn at home, far outweigh the risks of infection. My daughter needs professional support in school. Even if I had the time, skill and patience to be her TA, she wouldn’t let me. Your school might not offer this – either because they don’t know about it or because they’ve got a high number of key worker children coming in. It might not be right for your child. But if it is, your school is obliged to make it possible. Here’s what you need to know. The government website states: Following the PM’s announcement on 4th January 2021, only children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people should attend school or college. The government has a list of who they consider to be vulnerable children, which includes adopted children or children on a special guardianship order, those with an EHCP and those at risk of becoming NEET. It’s likely that lots of adopted children will meet quite a few of the criteria. Check out the full list here: Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) There are different rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here are the links to the latest government information for those countries: School closures – Scotland - mygov.scot (more info here on our Scotland pages) Schools: coronavirus guidance | GOV.WALES (more info here on our Wales pages) Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on schools, colleges and universities | nidirect These are times of unprecedented stress and uncertainty for teachers. They will be much more receptive to your request for a place for your child in school if you acknowledge this and if you’re able to explain clearly and calmly why it’s the right thing for your child. Write yourself a few notes before you make the call/write the email. I know this is all much more easily said than done. If you’re struggling with this or anything else, we’re here for you. Our helpline is open every week-day: 0300 666 0006.