By Anonymous, The Guardian, December 9, 2019
I work in schools, supporting children who are struggling including looked-after children, who are not being cared for by their birth parents. Some are with other family members. Others are with foster carers, and some may be in children’s homes.
They make up 1% of the population and are the most vulnerable children in education. They achieve much lower grades and are 10 times more likely to go to prison than university. My role is to try and help them. It can be rewarding or impossibly frustrating.
My week begins with a mentoring session with nine-year-old Bobbie, who is upset because her mother got drunk again last night. She is worried about what will happen if she turns up drunk to collect her at the end of the day. I’ve been working with Bobbie for a while; she used to get in fights with other students, but now comes to talk to me or a teaching assistant when she feels stressed. Her mother is in debt because of her ex-partner’s gambling problems. Some days there is no electricity at home, but there’s always money for alcohol even though Bobbie pleads with her mother not to drink. I’ve explained the situation to her teachers who used to get angry with her and they are now more compassionate.