Well, it's been a while since I met the Head teacher at my daughter's school following her entering Year 5....life has been busy! Sorry!
I was/am also still in a bit of shock after the meeting, and was kind of waiting for the bubble to burst! So far, it hasn't....
My husband and I both attended the meeting; I was fully expecting a 'no' to the flexi-schooling option as I had had an email from the specialist teacher at KCC after I wrote asking what her opinions were regarding continuing to flexi-school my daughter. I was both shocked & disappointed with the response, she stated;
'I think that **** can cope and that she benefits from school socially and with the broader curriculum. I am not sure about flexi-schooling; it is very uncommon. Moving schools, educating at home or seeking private education...these are the usual routes. I can see the logic for what you have done...keeping the social input but also providing intensive support, but KCC won't have had many instances of this ccurring. There is no doubt that your intensive support has boosted **** confidence and enhanced her basic literacy and numeracy skills........I cannot tell you what to do and have no intention of doing so but the skills that **** has learnt on a one to one basis need now to be applied across a range of tasks and situations for the benefits really to be seen. Where and how...that's your call. But I do know that she likes school. Given her range of difficulties, learning is never going to be quick, easy and without much effort. However, ***** has resilience and if you work with the school, sharing targets and objectives, giving **** time, not pressure, and above all, encouragement, then I am sure that there will be a happy resolution.
- not sure about flexi-schooling because it is 'uncommon'?!?!?!? So?!?!?! It has worked amazingly well, is the fact it is 'uncommon' a good reason not to do it?
- 'learning is never going to be quick, easy and without much effort' - quite frankly - what a crock! She learns easily, quickly and with the same amount of effort as anyone else when she is taught in a way she can learn.
- she will be okay as she is 'risilient'?!?!?! Risilient to what? Potentially - not being able to access education, being teased by other children for her purple glasses and not being able to spell? Being consistently told to 'try harder' by teachers when her poor little brain is trying at least 3x harder than the other 'clever' kids? Being put in front of tests and exams she can never achieve? Why should she be bloody risilient?
and the worst bit? 'time not pressure, and above all encouragement' is the key...Excuse me? Isn't this basically saying 'back off pushy parent,' well I am not pushy. I don't want my daughter to go to Grammar School, acheive A* grades or be in the 'top' sets. I am quite happy with her the way she is thank you, but I do want her to be able to have basic literacy/numeracy skills that are essential for living in our society! So sue me!
Needless to say, I was a bit miffed (to say the least) at this response. I responded saying so and indicated that I hoped Kent would soon catch up with London, Devon & Leicestershire and embrace flexi-schooling.....then we went to meet the Head...and I realised that maybe I had been a bit hasty to critisise the KCC Ed Specialist who may have just been giving me an alternative point of view, whilst still supporting me in ways that she could whilst remaining 'impartial' ....Why do I say this?
Well....the Head was amazing! She had the timetable ready to discuss which afternoon we would flex-school my daughter. She said she would be given extra time in exams. She said her teacher would communicate with me regarding her learning regularly. She even talked about potentially getting her a Statement. She even said she 'wished more parents were as supportive as we were.' [was I dreaming? I have asked my husband several times since & he has confirmed it was said!]
So, there was no fight, my daughter (after 3 years of meetings, letter writing and tears) is being recognised as having dyslexia, scotopic light sensitivity, auditory processing issues, hypermobility and dyscalcula. She is also being recognised as having amazing confidence, leadership skills, amazing depth perception, original thought and a lovely personality...she even bought home a Headteachers Award this Friday that said, 'for always putting in maximum effort at all times.' My daughter was so pleased - I was over the moon!
So for all those parents out there who are struggling with the school system - keep at it, you will get there...I don't quite know what has happened, has the Head finally realised we were right? Has KCC put pressure on? Has time, experience & the fact that 'this mother wasn't going away' paid dividends? I don't think I will ever know, but my daughter is loving school, my daughter is loving her flexi-school which teaches her 'her way' and her mother is loving feeling that it has all worked out.
Long may it last - so this Blog can get back to giving hints & tips to help others teach these amazing children.