What is the point of my going into school expressly to discuss an upcoming event that M is going to really struggle with, think it’s all been sorted and then find out that my views and wishes were ignored and they were planning to take her anyway? Yes, really, this is what happened.
I’ll explain. The usually very good primary school have f***ed up. Bad enough that M is hanging onto coping with all the end of term changes and “excitement” by the skin of her teeth, but the proposal was that today all the school would be transported into the local town to do some carol singing at a supermarket. M had told me, in a quiet moment, that she really was not going to go, and when I questioned her further, she couldn’t give me any reasons, but repeated again and again that she wasn’t going. So, I went into school and spoke about my concerns. They know that she is only just dealing with the ludicrous amount of changes to her daily routine AND that she doesn’t do well in crowds, but for some reason the teacher was keen that she came along. She suggested that she could “go for a walk” if she didn’t want to join in. I stated quite clearly that as I was one of the drivers (all legal up here, we have a volunteer force of parents for the local trips and guess who gets asked first due to car size?) it would be a futile exercise to take her, as she would run away from her 1 to 1 and insist on being with me the whole time, making a mockery of her learning to rely on the staff during school hours.
I left thinking this was all resolved and she would not be going. Until I saw her timetable for today which clearly stated “carol singing”. Of course, this prompted massive upset and in a slightly rash moment I actually promised her that she would not be going regardless of what the timetable said. Into school I went.
It turns out that no-one thought to mention to me the very important fact that the 1 to 1 is not allowed by law to stay with M without a teacher around. Now, whether I agree with this or not is moot as it is law, and I respect that, but they had “thought around” the problem by deciding she’d be going anyway. I got a bit shirty then. I was very polite but I stated that I was not prepared to put M through the trauma of the crowds and then being kept away from me, and neither was I prepared for her or the rest of us to be caught up in any post-school meltdowns. There was a short stand-off. Fair play to the teacher, she came up with a workable solution. Due to class contact hours (some other rules) she wasn’t going with the children this morning and would in fact be through in the nursery. M could stay with her there. So, in the end, the 1 to 1 went through to help with transport and numbers and M stayed back in the (relative) quiet of the nursery.
I stayed for the carol singing. The children from two schools were crammed into the draughty foyer of the supermarket and there was barely room for the customers to get in and out of the store. The children were all bunched up tightly together. I actually felt uncomfortable watching them and I know it was the right decision for me to push for M not to go. She could easily have bolted straight out of the store and into the car park. The weather was sleety and visibility wasn’t the best. I can only conclude that no risk assessment was done for this outing.
There is another “outing” tomorrow. The children from M’s school will be taken to the sister school for the end of term assembly. Again, there is no provision for M to stay behind (although I had originally been told she was going to be able to stay and help with last minute tidying etc – which she would have liked). Instead, they are going to take all her things with her, and “if she can’t cope she can go to the library”. Having spoken to M this afternoon she doesn’t want to try the assembly – too many people she doesn’t know – so I will be writing in her contact book that both M and both her parents request that she is taken straight to the library for the duration of the assembly.
And I shall be having words at the next review meeting. Regarding Christmas preparations, “school must do better.”