My son broke up from school last week and we’ve had so much to celebrate – his 12th birthday, his end of term school events (play, reports handed out, certificates awarded, prize giving), my daughters’ achievements (including coming third in the 100 metre race at school), my nieces 21st birthday and my friends daughters Bat mitzvah.
Although I’m still recovering from my seven-year battle to get my son’s educational needs met, I still have the energy to celebrate the good things in my life. My biggest achievement ever and the highlight of the last academic year = my son is so much happier at school. Amazing that his school has managed to turn things around in one academic year, improving his self-esteem, confidence and future aspirations.
After one year:
• He loves school (not once has he said he does not want to go);
• His educational levels have improved in almost every subject;
• On the last day of term, he was in tears, saying he will miss his teachers and friends. He came home with several certificates (Swimming Award Scheme, Water Skills and Excellent Progress Award);
• On prize giving day, he was awarded an End of Year Commendation from the Head Teacher for “Contribution to the Base”.
The questions I keep asking myself are:
• How did his school manage to turn my school-phobic, anxiety-riddled child into a confidant and happy young adult almost overnight?
• Why don’t educators listen to and learn from the experiences of so many other parents like myself? Why does it feel like we don’t have ‘a voice’?
The provision at my son’s school enables pupils to “flourish rather than survive”. It provides:
• Specialist trained teaching staff and in-house therapists
• A curriculum that is adapted to suit each pupils’ needs – individually tailored strategies to support a child’s learning needs and development
• A strong focus on developing social and life skills – preparing for life after school not just exams.
After reading other parents comments, I realise that so many children with special needs are not even surviving at school, let alone flourishing. It’s time the Authorities adopted a longer-term approach to educating our children and acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that if a child’s needs are not met at school, this could have serious repercussions in the long term.