Winston Churchill Fellowship
Schools Making a Difference to Children Affected by Imprisonment
Sarah Roberts, formerly working as a Principal Teacher Support for Pupils in Edinburgh, has recently returned from an eight-week Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to North America and Australasia. By visiting projects abroad whose models could work in the UK, the aim of her Fellowship has been to explore a potential structure within the UK public sector which could link parents in prison with the teachers of their children.
During her Fellowship, Sarah encountered a many school-based initiatives seeking to reduce the trauma and stigma children experience and which help parents in prison maintain meaningful family ties through engagement with their children’s education. “There’s so much that schools can do”, Sarah says, “from individual and group support for pupils to using Skype for parent / teacher meetings.”
The Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence notes active involvement of parents is a key factor in keeping children engaged in school and is especially important where parents may themselves have had a bad experience, as is often the case with those in custody.
Now back in Edinburgh, Sarah is working with Families Outside to develop her work and will present to the Cross-Party Group on Children & Families Affected by Imprisonment at the Scottish Parliament in September. Sarah’s research is crucial for identifying ways forward for children and families affected by imprisonment in Scotland and throughout the UK.