Adoption Allies

Specialist support for adoptive families and education professionals

Background and evidence

The Promise states we must not exclude care experienced children from education. The Promise speaks briefly of adoptive families, but we feel strongly that these care experienced children and young people often sit between worlds. The use of the term ‘care-experienced’ is a welcome change to the dominant language but this change has yet to be fully integrated into the psyche of those who deal with adopted children.  

Despite positive progress in adoption law and many support agencies providing excellent information and resources the experience of adoptive families is not improving within education in Scotland. The Adoption Barometer (Adoption UK) which aimed to understand the experiences of adoptive families found that information in schools is insufficient, that adopted pupils are more likely to be expelled from Scottish schools and more likely to leave school with no qualifications.  

Families are still reporting difficulties in negotiating the education system, dealing with the same problems and experiencing the same anxieties. Our work with adopters has highlighted that the necessary information is not getting to families when they need it. Or that they have the information but don’t have the confidence or even just the opportunity to share it with their child’s school. We repeatedly hear ‘we have had little support and only because we fought really hard for every little thing’. Parents are experts in their child but need support in navigating the system. 

Education practitioners want the best outcomes for their young people but information is not always available to schools and staff about the experiences of the adopted children in their care. Attachment issues and the impact of trauma can be long lasting and it is crucial that knowledge of this is enhanced. 

Our research on mapping attachment-informed trauma-sensitive practice highlights the necessity of relationship-based approaches to reduce barriers to learning and exclusion. We identified that schools could be supported to understand more about the potential needs of adopted children throughout their education, not simply in response to crisis. We recognised that building strong partnerships with schools and families, supporting and encouraging communication, openness and connection could improve the education experiences of adopted children. 

Pilot with families in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde

To give families an opportunity to find out more about our service, we are holding a series of in-person and on-line, drop-in information sessions to allow us to connect with them and identify where support is needed. These will take place on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 21stMay, 7pm – 8pm online via Zoom (joining link below)
  • Wednesday 22ndMay, 1pm-7pm in-person in the Kibble Community Services, Abbeyfield, 1 Station Rd, Paisley PA1 2SB
  • Thursday 23rdMay, 1pm-6:15pm in-person in the I Youth Zone building, 2-4 Dubbs Road, Port Glasgow PA14 5UD


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 862 7196 4807

Passcode: 499228

We are looking for support from professionals to help us reach families who could benefit from this service. If you work with adoptive families in Renfrewshire or Inverclyde, we would be grateful if you could share this information with them.

Benefits for young people and families

  • Access to an independent professional advocate to support family to work in partnership with education. 
  • Increase access to information and support, including regular community spaces for adoptive families.
  • Improved relationship with school and their children’s learning.
  • Increased confidence in communications with school.
  • Removal of source of stress, improved well-being and relationships.
  • Increased opportunity to access education and thrive as a learner.


Benefits for school and workforce

  • Support the implementation of the rights of adopted children and young people, and develop greater capacity to understand and respond to their needs.
  • Gain greater insight into the needs and behavioural impact of developmental trauma.
  • Increase engagement with families around their child’s learning, enabling children and young people to have full access to educational opportunities.
  • Improved relationships with young people supporting and and improving regulation and engagement, promoting attainment and potentially reducing exclusion.

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