Realising the potential of Children in Care

VSK Conference: Good Emotional Health Equals Good Learning

Posted on by Judy Molyneux

The VSK Conference Good Emotional Health Equals Good Learning took place at Ashford International Hotel on 7th June 2016, attended by over 140 Designated Teachers and senior leaders from schools across Kent and Medway as well as managers from KCC Fostering, Social Services and Adoption services.

Objectives of the Day

  • Understand the correlation between early trauma and children’s learning and behaviour in school.

  • Understand why children that are emotionally involved in learning will be more successful.

  • Explore alternative solutions to behaviour management of children who have had a difficult start in life.

The Speakers

The conference was opened by Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform

Dr Andrew Curran, a practicing paediatric neurologist followed with a presentation on the correlation between early trauma and children’s learning and behaviour in school.

Short Autism Screening Test

Unfortunately we are not able to share Andrew’s presentation.

Dr Mark Kerr, a Lecturer in social policy then explored why children that are emotionally involved in learning will be more successful, the impact of adverse childhood experiences and the value of a resilience approach when working with children in care.

Mark’s Presentation

Dr Margot Sunderland, Senior Associate of the Royal College of Medicine and Child Psychotherapist gave us inspiring alternative solutions to behaviour management of children who have had a difficult start in life.

Presentation Notes: Challenging Behaviour and Creative Interventions

The Brain

Key Relational Needs for Secure Attachment

Unfortunately we are not able to share Margot’s presentation.

Naintara Khosla, Assistant Director Corporate Parenting closed the conference saying how important it is for us to all work together “to develop our understanding so we remain committed to achieving and developing together world class services and education to Kent’s children in care.”

Naintara’s Presentation

The Marketplace

Beanstalk - a national charity that places trained reading helpers mainly in primary, but also some secondary and special schools. Our trained reading helpers support children to read through conversation and reading tapping into the children’s talents and interests, they engage children in learning in a fun and meaningful way, achieving a positive impact on confidence, self-esteem and often behaviour. Beanstalk has a long standing relationship with VSK supporting children in care in the school setting. If you are interested in finding out more about their services please contact Sarah Smith on 01622 662026.

Booktrust - the Letterbox Club aims to provide fun, educational support for children who are looked after, aged 5 to 13 years. Story Hunters is an exciting new programme for year 4 children designed to help struggling or reluctant readers. For more information please visit their website.

Kent Children’s University aims to promote exciting learning opportunities and experiences outside normal school hours for children aged 7 to 14 (and 5 and 6 year olds with their families). At the heart of its work is the ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning so that young people can make the most of their abilities and interests. For more information please read their flyer or email:

Eden Counselling and Training offers counselling, play therapy, training, workshops, consultations and supervision. With over 16 years’ experience working in schools they specialise in the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. For more information please read their brochure or email:

Fresh Start in Education specialises in engaging the most challenging, disengaged and hard-to-reach students. Provisions for any age of student, from pre-school to post16 and beyond offering courses and programmes that help vulnerable students to build confidence, enable change, and raise self-esteem. Taking a holistic approach that works with families and professionals, supporting them to effect real and lasting change in students’ lives. Their objective is to reintegrate students into a sustainable form of education and training. They are currently working with over 40 Local Authorities and have successfully engaged and reintegrated over 300 students nationally, a success rate of over 95%. They are happy to offer references and always welcome the opportunity to discuss any current needs by meeting with you. For more information please read their brochure.

Impact Wellbeing - using a range of tools and techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Positive Psychology the programme successfully improves resilience and aspiration for vulnerable children at both primary and secondary. Please read their flyer for more information.

Dandelion Time works with the child and the wider family, believing that family relationships and bonds are vital in helping a child overcome their difficulties and are often a key factor in their issues. Bringing together members of the family (and on occasion professionals and others important to the child) allows family relationships to be fostered and, with the guidance and encouragement of supportive and skilled therapeutic staff helps to build self-respect, empathy and positive communication.

Emporium Plus is an educational resource loan service that provides quality play and learning resources to support high quality, stimulating learning environments in settings and at home. They deliver and collect in Kent at no additional cost.

Kent Wildlife Trust Forest School offers an exciting outdoor programme of woodland adventure with a focus on achievable tasks. Students develop a range of skills, abilities and experiences through self-learning, exploration and discovery in a wild setting, increasing their knowledge and understanding of the world and encouraging an appreciation and respect for the environment. The programme is designed to increase personal, social and emotional skills and can be linked to the curriculum.

Hinton Publishers publish practical, quality books and resources written by professionals for teachers and others working in the fields of education and special needs.

Learnit! - an online resource that gives users access to a library of interactive learning resources that can be accessed at any time, and are designed to develop skills and build confidence in school subjects.