I wrote to the LA complaining about the way my daughter’s tuition had been abruptly ended. I argued that it was unfair that no thought had been given to her disability and the need for transition. A few days later I received a response saying that because my daughter had not been declared medically unfit that she was not entitled to home tuition. It is worth noting that CAMHS refused to see my daughter even though we suspected she was suffering from depression and/or anxiety when she first dropped out of school. To make matters worse, we were also warned that the LA had the power to take me and my husband to court for my daughter’s non attendance at school.
How doubly cruel it is that not only have the NHS failed her but now the education system has the power to punish me and my husband for our daughter’s non attendance. And yet it is the education system that has created this nightmare situation by not providing the appropriate support to our daughter in the first place. Instead she has been exposed to a harsh educational regime that has resulted in her becoming unwell and disengaged. Her barriers to learning are even bigger now so much so that it will take many more resources to get her back on track, if at all. If anyone is at fault it is the state, not me or my husband.
To say I was upset with such a threatening letter was an understatement. I couldn’t understand how I ended up in such an acrimonious situation. All I ever wanted was an honest discussion with the LA about what was the most appropriate form of education for my daughter. But frankly, throughout this whole sham of a #SEN process, I have never been treated as an equal partner and my views have been regularly disregarded. The authority may tick the boxes that indicate they listen and involve us but at the end of the day it means nothing.
As a result of my experiences I have come to the conclusion that as a parent I have absolutely no respect from those who run our council or indeed those who run the country. It seems to me that there is a huge contempt for parents that flows through the system and which becomes evident when I attempt to work with those at the coalface. As a result it becomes obvious that I am not expected to understand much about my children or to question those who deliver our services and that when you attempt to do any of these things you end up pissing people off, as I have done. I am not going to apologise for pissing people off because that’s their problem for not listening and valuing what I have to say. In the end of the day I am my child’s only advocate and I will do all I can to ensure she has a good quality of life and if it means falling out with people then so be it.
However I’m not stupid enough not to realise that I have to work the system and with a heavy heart I’m now in the process of talking to the named school in the statement. I will do all I can to work with them because it may be that they can offer the appropriate support for my daughter. Nevertheless its hard to cooperate with the enemy when you’re seething with anger underneath. The sense of injustice at how my children have been treated by the ‘system’ and the ‘professionals’ that uphold that system has affected me so much that I find it increasingly difficult to trust the education system. As a result I often find myself looking forward to the day their formal education ends but of course it doesn’t end at 16 anymore does it? There is now a compulsion for post 16 year olds to continue with some form of education or training which will no doubt produce another set of challenges for my family to deal with. My heart sinks at the prospect.