PAC-UK is the UK representative in an international project called ‘BRIGHTER FUTURE’ which is funded through Erasmus+. This 30-month project aims to directly improve the educational experience of children in care and adopted children, through innovative training for some of the most important people in their lives – their teachers.

The project meets periodically in-person, with each partner hosting an event in their city at different stages of the project. Having attended previous project days in Barcelona and Verona, on 4 October 2021 it was PAC-UK’s turn to welcome our European partners to our Leeds office for the next stage of the project!

The impact of being together and in person was so exciting and after months of changes and planning then re-planning due to the pandemic, our European partners finally got to spend some time in the beautiful city of Leeds (see photo gallery at the end of this article).

Within minutes of sitting down, we were bursting at the seams with ideas. The buzz and excitement of coming back together saw us continue to learn so much from each other, how our countries work and the common thread that we all share, which is to affect change based on our passion to improve the lives and experiences of adopted and children in alternative care.

In between the workshops and seminars we put on for our partners during their week-long stay with us, we made sure they experienced the best of Leeds and organised a few fun trips. As luck would have it, Temple Newsam (which is a 10 minute walk from our Leeds office) was hosting a tea festival all week, so we booked in for a tour of the stunning Jacobean home followed by a serving of afternoon tea. This was an incredible treat and fantastic to be able to share this with our colleagues from Europe, who were presented with a little box of Yorkshire Tea at the end of our visit, rounding off the trip perfectly – thank you so much Temple Newsam!

Our final day together saw us planning for our International School in Groningen, which takes place in May 2022. We worked together to think about what teachers in training need to support them, as they start their teaching role. Understanding the impact of attachment and trauma is crucial for teachers and educators and this project aims to ensure that going forward, those teachers are in receipt of the knowledge, understanding and practical strategies that will support them when teaching children and young people who are impacted by adoption and alternative care.

Next stop: Groningen!

In June 2021 we launched our first handbook From protection to inclusion: A handbook for teachers on children in alternative care and adoption which gives practical tips and strategies to support schools to create welcoming environments for all children regardless of their family’s experiences or expected life’s trajectories.