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In Care, In School consists of 10 brief (1-2 minute) everyday scenarios, 5 primary and 5 secondary, which happen at school to children and young people in care. They are based on the experiences of In Care Council members in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and show a range of different interactions between pupils, with teachers and other staff, in and outside the classroom.

The films were written and developed by the In Care Council, working with a film company, professional and child actors. Lesson plans and follow up materials covering both the scenarios and the background to being in care have been produced for teachers. The project has been jointly funded by Bath Spa University and B&NES Council with considerable additional support from the national PSHE association, The Who Cares Trust, ASDAN, VisionWorks and the NUT.

The project began when the Head of the B&NES Virtual School, Mike Gorman, asked the In Care Council what was the biggest barrier they faced at school. The Council told him it was a lack of understanding of their needs, both from teachers and from other pupils. They wanted to be able to tell others how they really felt. At the same time there was a more general professional concern that teachers – especially those in secondary schools -did not have a full appreciation or understanding of attachment and other theories, and how these impacted on those in care.

We were clear from the outset that the In Care Council should agree and determine the pace and direction of the project, that it must inform and involve young people in care, avoid sensationalism and be rooted in young people’s everyday experience of school. We needed to make sure that we had age- specific materials which could be used in both primary and secondary schools, and which would hold pupils’ interest. We should also involve the next generation of those working with children and young people – Education Studies, PGCE and other students - while at the same time validating and accrediting the contribution of individual In Care Council members.

Council members created the scenarios, interviewed a number of film companies, worked with a professional script writer, and helped direct the filming. The classroom materials were piloted by experienced teachers and by nearly 60 PGCE students, and evaluated jointly by the university and the In Care Council before being made available for teachers on a national basis. The films are already being used in a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Bath Spa University, often involving Council members, and four further films have now been produced, involving young people in care from Bath and North East Somerset, and Bath spa University, covering their school experience, post 16 and leaving care issues, as well as the background to the scenarios themselves.