It is a photo of the conference, with people sat at round tables in a large room setting.
The Virtual School Conference at the MKM Stadium.

Council conference brings Hull teaching workforce together to better understand the experiences of children in care

Hull Virtual School hosted a local conference to all education providers in Hull and the surrounding areas, with a focus on how a child’s experiences through care may impact their journey in education.

The conference on Wednesday 26 June took place at the MKM Stadium, with over 100 people in attendance.

It featured two powerful keynote speakers both with a vast experience in attachment and trauma, as well as a variety of workshops, stands and exhibits for all professionals to access and network.

The Virtual School is made up of a Virtual Head and a team of staff who advocate for the educational wellbeing and progress of all children in care, children formerly in care and children with a social worker. They provide advice and support, facilitate meetings, and offer training to teachers, social workers, foster carers and a variety of other professionals to help better understand the needs of children.

There are around 3,400 vulnerable children and young people in Hull and the Virtual School is one of the services that supports these children.

The conference is one of the ways that the Virtual School aim to increase understanding of the needs of these children, empowering more professionals to have empathy and think of different methods of approach when young people display complex behaviours.

The event was attended by the Director for Children’s Services Pauline Turner, the Lord Mayor, as well as the Virtual School’s governing board and delegates in every educational setting in Hull and beyond.

The conference aimed to raise the awareness of a trauma-informed approach and advocate for the experiences that vulnerable young people face every day, and how this may have an impact on their education. It looked at the behaviours and characteristics of all children in order to provide a better understanding, avoid school suspensions, in-year transfers and permanent exclusions.

The workshops revolved around brain development and considerations to how attachment and trauma have affected children and young people, and what barriers this creates to their development.

Marie Gentles was the featured guest speaker at the conference. She is a celebrated author and featured in her own BBC documentary ‘Helping Our Teams’. Marie has a rich background in education and strives to promote the perceptions on behaviour as a language of communication.

Luke Rodgers was the second speaker. He is an expert in turning stories into strategies as he spent his youth in the care system. He has since founded the Care Leaders project which strives to ensure that social care changes are driven by the people that have experienced it.

Pauline Turner, the Director for Children’s Services at Hull City Council said: “The conference provided an important opportunity for all of us to learn how we can better support the city’s vulnerable children and meet their educational needs.”

Find out more about the Virtual School by visiting the Hull City Council website.

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