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Liz McAuley, IRO Manager, Bracknell Forest – SE Region, March 28th, 2015
I am an IRO manager in Bracknell Forest in Berkshire. In February half term I attended a ‘Do you know’ training session led by young people in who are care experienced. The IROs in the team had all done the training and I wanted to find out more.
The aim of the training is for social workers, foster carers, IROs and other adults know how Children and young people in care feel. ‘Do you know’ is bespoke to Bracknell Forest and was developed following a project with a consultant from Reconstruct who had been involved in the ‘In our shoes training’. The consultant helped the young people to develop the training activities, produce logos and a name for the training. The young people are the trainers and they lead the whole session. There were 3 trainers and one trainee trainer.
The session was attended by 2 social workers, a social work student, a foster carer, a family support worker, 2 LAC health nurses, a family group conference coordinator, the participation and development officer and me, an IRO manager.
The ‘Do you know’ session started with ground rules and we were told that we had to come prepared to participate and have fun! The young people provided refreshments and we had an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback. Some of the games and activities were extremely thought provoking and covered themes such as participation and exclusion and thinking about how young people find out about the un-said house rules in different placements. I was really struck by an exercise where we had to lie on the floor and it ended with one person on the floor with others whispering around them – it was designed to make us think about the experience of young people who are being talked about in meetings such as LAC reviews and PEP meetings. At the end, we wrote a letter to ourselves noting down what we would take away and do as a result of the training.
What the “Do you know?” trainers say about it
‘I think I have gained more confidence in working with people I don’t know so well and also talking in front of a big group of people’.
‘It’s a good chance to see how much people that we train understand about being in our situation and good to change their views on it and make them understand’.
‘It really is good training to do. It gets people to feel how we feel. Also it’s not normal training it gets people up on their feet. I like doing it; I like to see the reaction on their face and their comments of what they thought’.
What participants said about it
‘You should be really proud of yourselves, a brilliant training session and very powerful. It really made me think about my job as a social worker how I spend time with children / speak with young people and how I can involve you all (young people) more in your future’.
‘It is really powerful to be trained by young people who know about being in care – it is really good that you are training others so that it can continue- thank you’