We Are Family


New Term, Same Old Story

New Term, Same Old Story - Nicole Honeywill E3 I2Zjw Gud M Unsplash

Every new school year since the eldest started, we have had a meeting with a new SENCo. The new SENCo always tells us that they have no information about the children. They didn’t know they were adopted. They weren’t aware that there was any funding attached to them. They didn’t know anything of their back story, despite me providing annually updated ‘passports’ of key information to their new teachers.

I’m grinding my teeth as I write this.

We asked this year’s SENCo, wasn’t she supposed to be privy to that sort of information, about the most vulnerable students? She agreed that it would be helpful, but that the safeguarding leads were reticent about sharing it.

She listened really well to us, this new SENCo, and gave the appearance of both understanding and agreeing with our concerns about the kids’ needs being largely ignored by the school. She made notes about actions, unlike most of her predecessors. But WILL she act? Or will she give us the sympathetic face at meetings and do absolutely nothing in the times between?

Maybe, as has repeatedly happened, she will put key activities and supportive adults in place and then cancel them without telling us. For example, both our kids were disclosing to the TA running some of their interventions last year. We found out today that that lady had left in June and nothing had been put in place afterwards. The school did not think we needed to be told.

This school, striving for an Outstanding rating, is doing really well with its SATs results. It has also made its nurture room into a cloakroom, got rid of its counsellor, refused free trauma training, locked up the records of its vulnerable children so that the SENCo can’t see them, spent money on astroturf instead of a dedicated TA for a class… the list goes on.

While we’ve been there, we’ve had to rely upon the hardworking teachers; individuals valiantly covering or making up for their leaders’ lack of care. You don’t get a great teacher every year though, do you?

So why not leave? Well, transitions aren’t our favourite thing. But if the school doesn’t sort itself out this year, I think we really should go.

Fingers are crossed for the latest SENCo and, this term, we’ve finally managed to get CAMHS to give us some back up. Someone there is chasing the Virtual Head who SHOULD, in turn, investigate whether my children are getting their due. That is all we want – to know that they’re getting the things they are entitled to. Why is that so hard for the school to understand?




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