Mayhem and Stardust

We are the proud parents of, amongst others, Jig, who has a handsome collection of diagnoses (ADHD, AD, FASD) which probably mean nothing and a generous smattering of fairy dust which probably counts for everything. School was a huge challenge and so we decided, probably rashly, to move to the country and home educate him. No medication, no 'support', chickens, space, a farm on the doorstep and a beach nearby. What could possibly go wrong?

Archive for the tag “IEP”

Responding to disidealist.wordpress.com this morning: Mediocre Failures

disidealist.wordpress.com this morning: Mediocre Failures on the impact of testing children in schools.  Actually she was particularly engaged by the notion of re-sitting SATS which seems to me to be fiddling while Rome burns.  SATS are the issue but only then the tip of the iceberg.  What we need is properly individual education with autonomous schools.

This is what I think…

I have children with similar profiles and experiences to the author of this article. There are, in fact, many thousands of families like us and we are not new. We are certainly not new to this government. We have seen governments come and go, political promises made on the back of a personal power programme of all hues and labels. I have recently become more attractive (no, sadly, not surgery) due to the introduction of the pupil premium, which gives my local school an extra £5,700 pa because we are there. Yes, it helps. Generally speaking we are overlooked because we don’t fit any particular cohort of voters and are as such of no particular use to any party. General education policies rarely apply to us, health provision does not understand us and we have little use for the rant and rage of party politics, having more than enough of our own. However, what I and many others including the author of this article have in common is that we have always had intelligent and personalised support from our schools for whom we are individuals. I have found that I am listened to and I think it is because the vast majority of teachers and head teachers would like to be able to do a good job for us. We have had really dedicated in-school support both full time one to one and more hands off, kept one child back a year (against policy) travelled (against policy) flexischooled (against policy) home educated all, some or none of our band of happy learners and we have achieved, through it all, some sort of progress towards ordinary. That, to us, is our goal. After the trauma our children have been through and the battles we have had it would be the work of a moment for us to choose not to resit a SAT (that we don’t care about and never have, ever since their introduction in the olden days when our older (marginally more easily educated) children were in school) It is just one more choice that we will need to make and not even one that we need to amass any new energy for.

I do not believe that there is any space in my life for party politicising (aka flight-feathering any politicians’ career wings) My wish would be to be left in the hands of the teachers who know their job and for them to be given the freedom to make choices on behalf of my children that may or may not suit the prescriptive homogeneity of any party policy. I would like to be trusted to know what is right or not and I do not believe that any party out there will actually back me. I will therefore vote for the one that will continue to leave me alone.

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Jumping off the path

I write here about Jiggy.  Of my six children he is the one that I have been so totally responsible for and he is the one who is now so entirely under the radar that I feel the need to speak publicly about him, to hold our stories out as proof that we are doing what we can and that we are being careful with him.  I don’t want the sort of ‘support’ that leaves us feeling smaller and weaker, less able to raise him, less able to understand him the way we do.  However, being off grid is a scary place.  It is quite isolated out here. I occasionally consider pointing out to the local authority that they really should be keeping an eye on us but then I picture hordes of grey suits bearing down on our colourful and chaotic little world and shudder.

That said, Jiggy isn’t the only one who would benefit from some time in this bubble of ours.  Moo has had nearly four years of education and still can’t do simple number bonds to 5. She has been on School Action for some time and the academic gap between her and her peers does nothing but widen. Many children exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero need to go over and over a thing before it sticks and school just don’t have the time. I think I probably spend about thirty hours for each hour that school has to bank simple basic building blocks such as money, time, number bonds and times tables. She loves school though and gets much more socially out of it than Jig ever could, or did. So, with her blessing, I am considering suggesting a flexi school arrangement for her, to scoop her out of the race she is so clearly losing, to move the goal posts and to make a new Moo shaped space for her in this quirky world that is our day.

It is IEP week this week, perfect timing.

 

April 29th

IEPs are all about writing a to do list that doesn’t actually impact anyone nor does it require any actual resources or input from anyone that is out of the ordinary run of things. I am happy to play those silly games when I need to – which is when I am letting my children settle, giving them time, waiting to see what will happen.  However, those times end.  I don’t expect anyone to know that I have changed my tack, or that I am now going to start requiring actual action rather than virtual action and it may be unfair of me, now, to be demanding that learning deficits be addressed by the application of some sort of actual teaching when I didn’t before.  But then life isn’t fair and they have had a good ride thus far.  If the SENCO doesn’t have a plan for me by Wednesday 3.30 then Moo will be home with us one day a week on a maths workshop day pending their further communication to me regarding a real individual education plan – with actual teaching.  No doubt I am not as good as the teachers, no doubt they could do a much better job, no doubt there have been umpteen training days and policy wallah meetings about how best to teach her but, in the end, no one seems to be actually doing it.  Better me than no-one. Flexi schooling has never been a first choice and, if I were a different, braver, calmer woman I would have had her at home full time anyway but I’m not.  This may well be a good enough compromise.

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