We’ve got loads of amazing people here at Compass Children’s Homes. They all know how to make a change to children’s lives for the better, and are determined to show every child the love and care that they deserve.
Here you can read Hayley’s story, from how she came to work in a children’s home as just a part-time employee, to now being responsible for two homes! We offer fantastic Residential Support Worker career progression, and she’s a firsthand account of this.
I began my journey working for Compass 14 years ago as a foster carer, which is when I discovered a passion for caring for children and striving to achieve the best outcomes possible for them.
While I was a foster carer, I took on a role at Compass’ first outstanding residential children’s home as a Sessional Worker. I had a gap of time while looking after different foster children, so I took this role as I was curious to see how residential homes compared to foster care. I also wanted to see if the homes were offering anything that I could transfer across in terms of things like skill and knowledge.
I suppose being nosey got the better of me and I fell in love with residential; the atmosphere, ethos and culture drew me in, and this was the start of my career in residential.
Shortly after starting as a Sessional, I quickly progressed on to a full-time role as a Residential Worker and became a keyworker for one of our children for the first time. This is where I came into my own, as I was in my element advocating for children. I was ensuring that our children felt they had someone in their corner backing them – potentially for the first time in their lives.
A significant part of being a keyworker is supporting children to settle in and build positive and healthy attachments and relationships. This initially starts with the child and keyworker building a trusting and secure relationship. Once the child has built this initial positive attachment, they begin to understand that the adults in their home are safe and love and care for them. This helps to build further positive attachments and relationships; with this the child can begin to heal.
I continued to develop in my role within Compass and was promoted to Senior Residential Worker where I helped support and develop another of Compass’s outstanding homes. It was in this home I found my passion for knowledge, ensuring that our children have the best opportunities available to them and supporting my colleagues in their progression and understanding of the role.
It was never my plan to progress to a senior role and this happened quite naturally – supporting my colleagues to support our children was like second nature and I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could in order to be able to support our children to the best of my abilities. I suppose a worry of mine initially was stepping up to senior, and that I would spend less time with our children, however this was not an issue and we still spent lots of time together. I got to plan amazing activities to do together, support with educational tasks, and have a more active part in co-ordinating this. Being a senior naturally comes with more responsibility, however I felt this was the challenge I needed after effectively learning the role of a Residential Support Worker.
I then developed further in my role and went back to the home I started at as Deputy Manager, where I was part of building an outstanding team. Doing this I was ensuring the high expectations and Compass ethos is met and absorbed by colleagues, ensuring outstanding care for the children in the home.
Following on from this, I became a Registered Manager at the home I was previously a senior in and successfully supported a relatively inexperienced team to achieve Outstanding with Ofsted. These adults have helped to form the core team and to continue to achieve amazing outcomes for the children we care for.
I then moved up to Senior Registered Service Manager for two of our homes in the south; although I’ve progressed and my career has developed, those same roots, ethos and culture are just as relevant, and the children are at the centre of everything I do.
If you want to find out how you can make an amazing change to children’s lives like Hayley, take a look at our jobs page. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, so please get in touch and one of our friendly will be ready to talk to you.