Capstone Foster Care News

Capstone South West held a party recently to celebrate the end of the Head, Heart and Hands project we have been involved in over the last three years.

Over 40 carers, children and young people attended the party. One of our foster carers from Somerset, Mandie, organised craft activities and so everybody could create a Santa out of rice and decorate flower pots and fill them full of sweets. This was a very popular activity on the day!

We also had a face painter and a dress up photo booth so we could all let our imaginations go wild and this made for some great photos and great memories.

Head Heart Hands silent disco

The Silent Disco was a great hit, and led to some funny sights of adults and children alike bopping around to tunes only they could hear through their headphones and not necessarily the same tune as the person next to them!

Overall it was a fun packed afternoon with lots of yummy food, to celebrate the hard work and commitment that has gone into the Head Heart and Hands project.

When Holly came to us she was always a bit worried when our two birth kids would clear off on their scooters or bikes and wait for us to catch up. The anxiety was real for her. The distance could mean calamity. They might fall, lose sight or somehow become unsafe and in her mind it would take too long to make them safe. This similarly happened with another of our foster kids. For her it was actually far more pronounced and involved her staying very close to us for ages during walks and excursions.

We explained to Holly that it was ok that the kids were a few hundred feet in front of us. We told her that we knew that they would stay on the well ridden track we had walked so many times. We reassured and said that they would always come back if they needed us and that actually they would only go as far as they felt safe from us. She assessed this explanation and accepted it. She rode within twenty feet the first few times and little by little she expanded the gap.

On Christmas day she was presented with a brand new bike from us. It was lovely and fitted her a dream. On boxing day we got some exercise before gorging ourselves again and went down the cycle track which we frequent. This time all the children whipped off as soon as we got on the straight and before we knew it Holly was a speck in the distance. That distance felt so allegorical of how kids we look after feel safe. The more time she has spent with us she safer she feels. The safer she feels the greater the orbit of adventure she has.

I can remember leaving home when I was 20. I packed up my car in London and headed for the west country. I had never lived anywhere else but I wasn’t too worried. Why? Because I knew I could come home. It was the greatest distance of adventure I had ever done but I felt safe doing it because I knew my mum and dad were there.

Maybe this is a helpful image for you. How far do the kids you care for orbit? Can they play in the street or go out feeling safe? Are you even their point of safety yet? I remember being taught that children who are traumatised can need literally one to one structured close activity with their carer during the early stages of placement. Such is their ‘distance of safety’. Maybe this is your story too? My hope is that you will notice their field of trust and adventure widening as they feel safe with you and that one day you will have the joy of hearing about their adventures when they return back to you as they explore the world knowing that you are there.


At Capstone we take the educational achievement of our children and young people seriously. We know that a happy and stable school experience can impact on the stability of care placements, and we also know that educational achievement leads to wider opportunities in adult life and that poor educational outcomes limit future life choices. That’s why we employ an Education Coordinator who supports carers and young people to make the most of the opportunities available and to provide advice and support if there are difficulties.

We currently have 117 children and young people in school years 1-11 (age 5-16) and a further 11 young people in years 11 and 13 mainly in colleges or apprenticeships (age 17-18). Of these nearly half have a special educational need, and 1 in 5 have a statement or Education and Health Care Plan. All children in care are entitled to a PEP (Personal Education Plan) and we support our carers when attending these eetings, and to make sure that our young people are receiving appropriate support and the resources they are entitled to.

The young people in our care usually make progress at school at a faster rate once they are settled with our carers. This year 6 children took the national year 6 SATs tests. In English (reading and writing) 4 of the children gained or exceeded the national expectation of level 4,with one child gaining level 5s, and in mathematics 3 gained level 4 or above.

At GCSE level, we had 14 young people who took public exams of GCSE or equivalent qualifications this year. 5 young people attained 5 A*- C grades including English and maths, with several achieving more than this, 11 achieved 5 A*- G grades, and all our young people attained at least one qualification. This is considerably higher than the attainment of young people in care across the country, and it is a reflection of the support and dedication that is provided to these young people by Capstone carers. All of the young people who attained 5 A*-C including English and maths have been with Capstone for at least 4 years, and experienced the stability of supportive care for a sustained period. These results will increase the opportunities open to these young people in the future, and they are now continuing their studies in schools and colleges.

We monitor whether all our young people are making good progress at school, and last year 84% were reported to be making good progress in English, and 76% in maths. Our young people can sometimes find school difficult for a number of reasons, so this is very positive.

To do well at school, young people have to attend, and our young people have a record of high rates of attendance. Last year 26 or our young people had attendance records of 100%. Most schools work hard to support young people in care, and we are pleased that last year no young person was permanently excluded from school.


Ros Browning

Education Coordinator, Capstone South WestRB-profile-pic-for-web


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