Well we’ve made a huge decision, we’ve decided to move the girls to a different school.
The girls go to a big school, one of the biggest in the area, it has the capacity to educate over 500 children. It has an excellent reputation.
Moving them is a decision we’ve been considering for over a year now and not one we’ve taken lightly. We first considered moving them in 2011, but then Ofsted put our school in to ‘special measures’ and most people ‘jumped ship’, so we decided to stay and actually thought the smaller classrooms and additional training the staff would receive would benefit the girls. But the new head master is just too good, he’s turned the school around and ofsted re-assessed several months later as ‘good’.
So the other parents are happy, elated in fact. Me however, I’m worried. The school is once again the best in the area. With the capacity to take over 100 more children and I’m sure those places will be filled quickly.
So what is my worry, you may be wondering, well I have many. There are many things that I’ve been disappointed with over the last 3 years. Out of date IEP’s, CAF meetings cancelled over and over, lack of understanding of the girls needs, not enough time to speak with me about my concerns, messages that never get passed on to teachers, confidential paper work that gets ‘lost’, the day they all managed to excuse themselves from class, issues with dinner time staff the list goes on, but the most important thing is that significant behaviours go unnoticed, and the girls know they go unnoticed, and subsequently don’t feel safe.
Its a big school, there’s a lot of children and like every school teachers have so much to fit in to each day that it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.
Baby girl is currently in a year group with many difficult children, many of them present the teacher with all manor of difficult behaviours every day. Baby girl is by far no where near the most difficult child in her class, or even her year group, but I won’t deny she is difficult, however, she is the most traumatised and this goes unnoticed.
Middle girl spends every day being helpful, smiling and being generally compliant. Her teacher is obviously grateful of her seemingly good behaviour, but I know its driven by fear, and that needs to be acknowledged.
Big girl is actually having a great year for the first time since arriving, she seems settled. So why move her, you may wonder. Well I feel her ASD diagnosis has played a big part in this as its a ‘title’ teachers know, and its largely followed by actually having teachers that ‘understand’ her and appreciate her struggles and make her feel safe. But what happens next year and the year after, she’s had 1 good year out of 3, her security shouldn’t depend on a lottery of teachers.
So now is the best time to move them, big girl has 2 years to settle and make some friends before she starts high school. Baby girl has 5 years left, and middle girl has 4 years left at primary school, that’s time for them to feel noticed, feel safe and make some ‘real’ friendships.
So we’ve chosen a tiny school, its a church school that is less than a 3rd of the size. The class sizes are smaller, there are less teachers, less rooms, less space, less noise! Its calmer and has a more therapeutic feel. They currently have an autistic child and a looked after child on their register and I’m confident their approach with the girls will be better suited.
Am I confident that this is the right decision, no I’m not. Am I confident that a smaller school is definitely what they need, no I’m not. But what I do know is that the current school the girls attend, isn’t the right school for them.