I am a campaigner!

It feels strange to say it, however, I have campaigned for my children and children like them for quite a while now. I am driven by the thought that they and others may be treated unfairly or misunderstood for something that is not their fault.

I find strength and energy I never knew I had, to face people in authority, approach people I would never normally approach and make every effort possible to shout from the rooftops about injustice to children.

I guess it depends what you classify as campaigning, when you feel like a lone voice in a sea of helplessness, when the world keeps turning and you feel isolated and angry. Where do you start when the council, the school, people you know, don’t understand? (and I can’t blame them for not understanding as ‘before’ I did not understand either.)

I think you need an outlet, a way to reclaim some power, and I think people find a variety of ways to do that. I found blogging helpful, sharing my blogs on social media and on email. Even if no-one was reading it, even if it went unopened, just writing about how I felt helped. It was a way to vent some frustration and try and reach a few people.

It comes in fits and starts, usually when I am feeling frustrated. What I find is that because I am focused on that issue and have the intention of getting the message out there, someone usually engages with what I say.

My campaign has evolved from trying to create awareness of parenting issues relating to adoption, trauma and attachment to teen issues, school issues and now mental health and education.

I see people campaigning all the time, people setting up charities and community interest companies relating to something they are passionate about, often related to issues they or their family/friends have experienced, people fundraising in amazing ways to help others.

I am inspired by their stories and the lengths people go to, to help others.

It has struck me for quite a while that our education system isn’t fit for purpose, there are tremendous people involved in education, but the system lets us all down. There are pockets of excellence, however, the education system seems stuck in the dark ages.

  • Are uniforms still useful?
  • Are detentions and isolations still serving a purpose?
  • Is being stuck in a classroom behind a desk really conducive to learning?
  • Is homework contributing to learning?
  • Are bells still necessary?

All questions I have considered and I haven’t totally made my mind up about a lot of them.

What I want people in education to do is be reflective, read as much as you can, ask for training and ask questions. All schools need an element of system and structure in order to operate, I get that, however, we not only have to think outside the box, we need to chuck the box out!

You may think this comes from a place of sitting behind a keyboard or an idealistic standpoint, however, I taught in secondary schools for 10 years, was a counsellor for 6 six years and supported two adopted children and all the subsequent learning that brought. So I feel I come at it from a place of knowledge and understanding.

What do you campaign about? I would love to know.

Have a great week.
Juliet x

Campaign Begins: Understanding Attachment, Trauma and Mental Health in Schools

I’ve set my intention (I did it on Facebook a few days ago) for a campaign.

“Some of you may know that I feel strongly about how children are cared for in school. I want schools to have a better understanding of attachment, how to work with looked after & adopted children, children with anxiety, trauma etc. I want schools to be more knowledgeable about behaviour and what it means, to be much more positive and less punitive. Of course there are some schools who are much better at this than others. I have written the occasional blog (and rant) about some of these issues and plan to do more. There has to be a better way than the often dished out detentions, negative comments in school planners, isolation etc. First thing to do is be more consistent and measured with my blogs and see what comes from that.”

I am tired of schools and other institutions being largely ignorant about matters relating to adopted and look after children (and adults). I am tired of banging my head against a brick wall trying to explain the impact of trauma, anxiety and mental health issues on children. Many staff in education do not have the first clue about attachment, which would benefit them greatly in their dealings with children (and most adults), long forgotten are the cursory hour or 2 spent  studying John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory.

This is not about school or teacher bashing, this is not about adding workload to teaching and support staff. This is about making things easier for everyone. It is an area where a little knowledge goes a long way. This is about understanding behaviour and interpreting it for the good of everyone. This is about being curious about behaviour and psychology.

Where do I start?

Well I have started, by writing this blog. I intend to continue writing blogs and getting the blogs under the right noses (eventually). I will look for opportunities to speak and contribute to training in and out of schools and generally rattle a few cages and see what happens.

Who is Juliet Powell?

It’s not easy telling my story and perhaps it is largely irrelevant. However, the relevant bits are that I am an ex-secondary school teacher, I taught for 10 years in 4 schools (urban and rural) and have knowledge of what happens in schools (albeit a few years ago). I have 2 adopted children in secondary school. We were refused school entry in year 7: through lack of understanding and compassion. I am a counsellor (specialising in working with parents). I create Health & Wellness events to bring therapies and support to all. I have undertaken a wide variety of therapies for both my children and I. I have run parent support groups in variety of guises, all with an underlying theme of support no matter what your circumstances. I have been featured in the local newspaper (The Press), The Daily Mail and Prima Magazine (talking about school transition) and featured on Sine FM and Vale radio talking about children and mental health.

I do hope this means I speak from a place of knowledge and understanding.

What happens next?

To be honest, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that I am putting it ‘out there’. I am reading more, I am writing more, I am on the look out for others who feel the same.

Looking for support, understanding and somewhere to be heard? Come along to our next Parent Support Group:

Date: Thursday 4 May

Time: 1pm – 2:30pm

Place: Lidgett Grove Methodist Church (Meeting Room), Wheatlands Grove, Acomb, York, YO26 5NH

Tickets: £5

See you there

Juliet

Event Link