My daughter has had an increasing number of days out of school recently. The reasons vary from not understanding lessons to physically struggling with outdoor games to becoming overloaded due to the challenges brought on by her aspergers. However with a lot of coaxing and encouragement we have managed to get her into school until last week when the school decided to impose a week of mock SATS (a form of testing) for the year 6’s. This has been the last straw for my daughter. Unable to cope with the ridiculous testing regime her confidence and self esteem have plummeted to new lows and she now refuses to go into school at all.
At all stages we have kept in touch with the school telling them what was happening with our daughter and hoping for some understanding and help in return. However, it has become quite clear that compassion is in short supply. You see this morning I received a phone call from the class teacher who bluntly told me that because my daughter had reached a certain number of absences, this was now a matter for welfare.
Some compassion eh? I was seething inside yet I calmly told him that this was not a welfare matter and neither were my daughter’s absences a result of poor parenting. This was, I said, a matter that related to my daughter’s special educational needs. I reminded them that the school had a duty of care towards my daughter and that they needed to make adaptations to include my daughter. I added that it was quite clear to me and my husband that the school were not doing enough to understand her asperger syndrome and to support her.
I then went on to ask whether my daughter could be withdrawn from these tests and whether a teaching assistant could come to our house and talk to my daughter and reassure her what will happen when she returns to class. You see it’s no good me promising my daughter something that her school cannot or refuse to deliver. If my daughter returns to school only to face constant testing again then her resistance to school is only going to deepen with the likelihood that she could drop out of school altogether. There is also the chance she may develop more serious mental health problems. I don’t want this.
The school need to help me to restore my daughter’s trust in school and to provide a link from home to school. Hopefully by talking with someone she is familiar with from school, my daughter will find the confidence to go back. I cannot do all of this on my own. I need the school on my side, not against me and certainly not blaming me for my daughter’s anxiety. It is only by working together that we can help my daughter.
I must have had an impact because they have now agreed to stop testing my daughter and to send in a teaching assistant to help her back to school. We shall see if it works. In the meantime I’m filling in a request for a statutory assessment.