There are some things that will never fail to kick me in the teeth.
It’s school report time. As lovely as the comments about Evie are, it still hurts to read certain things.
Her attendance stands at 79.34% including one unauthorised absence. The school average is 97.1%.
OOH LOOK!! We bring down the average of the school, sorry about that.
An attendance of below 89% deems a referral to the Educational Welfare Officer for monitoring or intervention.
Now I know that there will be no EWO referral, I know Evie will be exempt from that.
I also know that the one unauthorised absence refers to one late mark. A mark given because I struggled at the start of the term to get her into school, when her thyroid function was beginning to fall and her anxiety levels were through the roof. Ever seen an anxious 7-year-old with learning difficulties and sensory processing issues? Ever tried to make them do something that they don’t want to do? No – try it. It’s awful for them and for their parents. Draining, upsetting, heart breaking. Personally the fact that I managed to get her into school at all that day requires some type of award!
Then the medical issues…Evie has a low immune system, plus her thyroid when under active causes her a number of issues – lethargy, anxiety, skin conditions. Add into the mix her sleep issues and you have real corker to deal with some days. 3 of those authorised absences were caused by medical appointments – many more through ill-health.
Evie’s class this year have done their SAT tests. Evie hasn’t and rightly so.
Her school quite properly, have still sent us the information about the SATS and results. I know that we have to have this, all of this information.
But the phraseology on these documents is such that it does hurt. It really and truly does.
“BLW” – is awarded if the pupil is below the standard of the tests
Cheers, thanks for that.
Whilst undoubtedly true that Evie isn’t at that level, why is all the phraseology so negative? Why on earth haven’t our government or whoever designed these codes thought about this a little more? Why not put SEN or “not tested”? All children are worth more than a code or a mark. They are all amazing, each and every one of them.
Now I know that I should pretend that none of this bothers us.
BUT IT DOES.
I know that there are valid reasons behind each and every absence.
I shouldn’t feel this way.
But it still hurts.
Just like every time I have to complete a form which demands a character assassination of my own child. I have to list her weaknesses to get her the support that she needs.
Evie gives so much to this world. Much more than she takes. I don’t blame her school in any way for sending me the information. Yet there surely is a better way. All of this preoccupation with best at this, needs to work on that, test this and fail that… it’s no way to live.
I say all of this as a geek who loved tests and exams, who still loves to read and research. I know that not everyone is like me. I also see that the monitoring by the government is a way of trying to encourage and assist with learning (if not more than a little misguided!). But if you don’t love to read or research, how will telling you aged 7 that you need to try harder help? Let’s just give that child a complex and make them feel worth less than their contemporaries.
Evie doesn’t understand any of this and for that I am grateful. But on her behalf and those of all of her peers, I am incensed. They are children for God’s sake. We learn better when we are happy. When learning is fun and natural. But instead let’s add more pressure to the teachers upon whom the results will also reflect. Let’s just add to their workload. Instead of allowing them to guide our children gently and with encouragement, let’s make their job even harder. What a waste of time, energy, emotion and money.
Evie is a valued member of her class. She is described as “bubbly and energetic”. She has progressed so well of late, particularly with reading, her favourite thing to do. Receiving negative content, no matter how well intended obviously has a negative impact. Yes, we’ll brush it aside and carry on regardless, but it’s still there and next report, we’ll brace ourselves to read it once again.
Our children have so much to give, Evie is never going to be a rocket scientist but then how many of us are?
Evie can sense when I’m sad, she knows when and how to make us laugh. I was recently told by one of her school friend’s mums that her child had said that “Evie is the only one who checks on them when they fall”. A teacher told me that she runs around after another child and mothers her, fetches and carries for her…too much sometimes. Her giggle is magnificent and contagious.
They are the skills that I want her to have.
They are true gifts. You can’t teach them or buy them. They are inherent within her. She is a true gem.
A rare find in this topsy turvy world of ours.