National Thank a Teacher Day 

A national day to celebrate teachers is taking place on Wednesday 20 May and Brighter Futures for Children (BFfCis encouraging as many people as possible to join in. 

Teachers have been going above and beyond the call of duty throughout the coronavirus outbreak and deserve recognition for their hard work. 

The closure of schools to most pupils due to Covid-19 has certainly not allowed teachers to take a break. 

BFfC has been swamped with stories of amazing ways teachers have been keeping their pupils and families engaged during lockdown and helping the community imany amazing ways. 

Prof Dr Kate Reynolds, Director of Education at BFfC, said: The coronavirus crisis has been a challenging time for teachers, pupils and families as they have had to quickly adapt to learning in a completely different way. 

“As well as providing education for children of key workers and vulnerable children, teachers have been supporting their pupils and parents with home learning in a variety of creative and innovative ways. Many staff also gave up their Easter break and volunteered to go into school so critical workers could continue their vital jobs. 

“There are further challenges ahead with the planned opening of schools to more pupils so now is an ideal time to show our appreciation for the teaching profession. 

“On behalf of BFfC, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all teaching staff in Reading who have stepped up and done a remarkable job when their children and families have needed them most.” 

Among the many fabulous examples of good news stories coming from schools in Reading are: 

  • Staff making life-saving protective equipment for NHS workers 
  • Daily live interacive story telling sessions for young pupils on Facebook  
  • A virtual phonics lesson with the teacher utilising her dishwasher as a blackboard 
  • Staff raising hundreds of pounds to buy gifts for nurses at the Royal Berkshire Hospital 
  • A school team providing food, clothing, toys etc for struggling families in the community 
  • Teachers and children creating colourful pictures to decorate the ICU at the RBH 
  • Children and teachers making banners and posters outside their schools to thank the NHS 
  • Lottie the school dog recording a video message for pupils at home 
  • School staff creating collages to send messages to their pupils 
  • Teachers featuring in music videos to keep spirits high among children and parents 

All of this on top of the support they have been giving to parents and children learning at home. 

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, said:  “Wednesday is national Thank a Teacher day, where I hope we can all take a moment to appreciate the work of our hard-working education professionals. 

“The last few months have been incredibly tough for young people with great upheaval, change and uncertainty. But throughout all of this, their teachers have been there to support them, the mediums may have changed but the care and dedication has never waned. 

“I have been humbled by how teachers have adapted to this new world and risen to the challenge. There have been so many wonderfully creative ways that teachers have engaged with their students both in and out of schools. I've seen vegetable gardens, Top Trumps for pets, plays acted out, alien profiling and baking competitions amongst many, many other fantastic activities to keep students learning but more importantly, ensuring that they still feel part of their school’s family.  

“Above all else this is what our teachers do, they provide reassurance, safety and care for our young people, and for this I am very, very grateful. So, thank you teachers, today and every day.”  

National Thank a Teacher Day is a great opportunity for children, parents and carers to show their appreciation for their teachers. 

Children are being encouraged to send their message of thanks on Wednesday 20 May by recording a short video clip, singing a song, drawing a picture or through any other medium they wish. There are plenty of ideas on the national website at: https://thankateacher.co.uk/thank-a-teacher-day/. 

If you are using social media, remember to use @UKThankaTeacher on twitter and ThankaTeacherUK on Facebook. 

You can also share you message with us at @BFfC_Child on twitter and at @BFfCChild on Facebook. 


During Foster Care Fortnight, picture life as a foster family in Reading 

A campaign to keep Reading’s children in care in Reading is being stepped up during Foster Care Fortnight (11-24 May). 

There are more than 270 children and young people in care in Reading, but many have to be placed outside their home areas due to a shortage of local carers.

Brighter Futures for Children's (BFfC) Independent Fostering Agency is embarking on a big push to increase the number of foster carers in Reading to keep children near their friends and family.

Foster Care Fortnight is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of fostering and to celebrate the work foster carers do to transform the lives of children and young people.

Antony Kildare, Managing Director of Brighter Futures for Children, said: 

"Foster carers do an amazing job and I would like to thank them for making such a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in Reading. 

"I would urge anyone in Reading who has ever considered being a foster carer to get in contact with us because we need more people to look after our children locally.  

"People’s circumstances may have changed in recent weeks due to the current situation and now might be the right time to think of a change in direction - fostering is a wonderful opportunity. 

"As well as being a rewarding role, our foster carers receive a great package of training and support and become part of a fantastic network of fellow carers. 

Children and young people should ideally be looked after close to their home, where it is safe to do so, as this allows them to be close to their friends and have contact with their family. This instils a sense of belonging, minimises disruption to their lives and helps them to feel rooted in Reading.

Biri Yaya, BFfC’s Independent Fostering Agency’s Service Manager, said: 

"At the moment, we have no choice but to place a lot of children outside of Reading as we do not have a big enough pool of fostecarers locally. 

"This means we are having to move our children away from their friends, their schools and everything they know. 

"That is why, throughout the fortnight, Brighter Futures for Children IFA will be asking people to ‘Picture This’ and imagine life as a foster family. As the general public are currently following government guidelines and socially distancing, we are spreading the word virtually as wide as we can across Reading.  

virtual information evening is being held on Microsoft Teams between 6-7pm on Thursday 14 May and anyone who is interested can email  foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org to be sent details. 

There is also a Facebook Live Q&A on Friday 22 May, from 11.30am, where visitors can chat to the fostering team on the Brighter Futures for Children Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BFfCChild/). You can also follow us on social media to hear stories from our foster carers, children in care, foster siblings, care leavers and more. 

A fresh new fostering website has just been launched with lots of information, stories and FAQs at www.readingfostering.co.uk. You can also call (0118) 469 3020 or email foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org to find out more about fostering in Reading.

NOTES TO EDITORS: 

Brighter Futures for Children owns the IFA, which operates in the same independent, not-for-profit way as Brighter Futures for Children does in relation to its owner, Reading Borough Council. 

Brighter Futures for Children took over responsibility for the delivery of children’s services, including children’s social care, early help and education services (including SEND) in December 2018 and the fostering service from March 2019. 

Brighter Futures for Children IFA was rated ‘Requires Improvement to be Good’ by Ofsted in March 2020. 

CASE STUDY  

Marion’s Story 

Marion had long harboured a dream of being a foster carer and the single mum decided to go for it when she was satisfied her two daughters were ready. 

She said: “I had to wait until the right time. That point was reached when I felt that my two daughters were old enough to have a proper say in the decision, fully able to understand what was involved, and ready to share their home – and to share me. 

“When I did ask them, they were all for it… and it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done - for them as well as myself.” 

Marion’s fostering career began eight years ago, when her children were 13 and 19, and she has never looked back. 

She would encourage anyone else thinking of becoming a foster carer to do so. 

Marion said: “You may have some concerns about certain aspects and perhaps around how you will cope, but Reading provides lots of training courses to give you the tools you need to deal with the situations that crop up. You can reach out to your Supervising Social Worker, and there is a very good network of foster carers there to give you their advice too. 

“It has been one of the best things I’ve ever done – my own daughters have been hugely supportive all the way through, it’s given them a sense of achievement… and I know that they are more understanding people as a result. 

“On top of that you know you are making a huge difference to a young child’s life and helping to equip them for what lies ahead.”