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Reflections of a Registered Manager: Being a Registered Manager

In October 2020, Chelsea Bryan took over the running of The Orchard, our children’s home in Somerset. In this series of blog posts, she reflects on her experiences of being a Registered Manager, both during a pandemic and outside of it, as well as when she became Registered Manager of a new home, reflecting on both the highs and lows and the challenges which a pandemic brings.

In this, the final blog post in the series, she shares her experiences of being a registered manager at The Orchard.

“I can’t describe the feeling, knowing we’re going to change someone’s life, the minute they walk through the door we have the ability to change their life. It’s amazing. Who gets to come to work and do that, and get paid to love people?”

One of the biggest challenges is in times of crisis, but that’s why we’re all here, it’s why we do this job. The hardest part is digging our heels in and fighting for what we know if right, especially when people don’t get it. We advocate for certain placements and packages for the children we care for, which sometimes don’t get listened to – that’s frustrating because we work with our children day in, day out, and know what’s best for them.

At Five Rivers, we offer integrated packages, which although cost more, offer a cost saving in the long term, allowing children to access a higher level of support, which will enable them to successfully step down into fostering, and not experience further placement breakdowns.

The other challenge we face is our current Ofsted grading. The pandemic saw all Ofsted inspections suspended, and that means that our Ofsted grading does not reflect the home we are now which in turn, affects the placements we get, as Local Authorities judge homes based off of their current rating – our last inspection was in 2019.

All I want is for Ofsted to walk through the door, so that we have the opportunity to show them how far we’ve come, and that we’re currently a rating of ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’. In our eyes, every day is an Ofsted day. The Five Rivers’ values are spoken about in every supervision with staff. It’s all about integrity – and we do what we say we’re going to, even when no one is watching.

Some days are really hard, but I’d never do anything else. I never want to lose that feeling of excitement to welcome a new child into a home. It really is the best job in the world.

Find out more about working in residential child care here.

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