Tag Archives: school

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He has started school, embarking on his own journey through life. Of course his journey started over four years ago, when he first entered this world as a brand new, tiny human being. Back then he was so utterly dependent on me, to do everything for him, from feeding him, washing him, dressing him. I could lie him down somewhere and turn my back for a few seconds, knowing he would stay put, such was his inability to do anything for himself except breathe.

Now four years and four months have passed and he has started school. Proper primary school, with teachers and a uniform and term dates and inset days and homework and god forbid you take him out for a day during the week or else the government will fine you £120 for the pleasure. He cries about going each night and each morning and he drags his feet on the way.

There is writing practise to be done each morning in the classroom. In a class of however many children (25 maybe 30? I don't know) and then their parents and the teachers too. I find it claustrophobic and chaotic and distracting so I am not entirely sure just how much my four-year old gets out of. And if you don't fancy writing what about reading? He can recite the two books back to me but he isn't actually reading, he has memorised them, he doesn't look at the words or the pictures but the distractions in the room. Should I change the book now? Am I doing this right? Am I doing anything right any more and more to the point have I ever got it right until now? Should I tell the teachers that my son isn't getting anything from these 15 minutes each morning, other than delaying the inevitable that I have to leave him behind.

Then he sees his friend and decides that actually it is OK for me to go now, he will be OK now his friend his here. I sense he is still hesitant but take it as my cue to leave.

On picking him up, I question him like he is a terror suspect, asking him all the questions. "Who did you play with?", "What did you play?", "What did you eat at lunch time?" Some times he answers them, other times he doesn't. Every day he asks me why does he have to go to school again tomorrow "because Mummy it's a long time not seeing you and I miss you". It takes everything I have to not let the tears flow. "And I miss you too dude but if you want to be a fireman when you are bigger you have to go to school first".

The husband is working now too. Out of the house from 7 am until 3.30 pm. Leaving me alone to get Harry to school and pick him up, to manage the household, the chores, the shopping, the bills, the appointments, meals and everything else all by myself like a proper grown up for the first time in over two years. And in that two years so much has changed and I think I have forgotten how to run a house and now I have school-aged child and all the school stuff.

So many changes I feel left behind like the world is moving without me. Then a parcel arrives.

Open Uni pic

So I am changing too. Studying and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

All of this change is scary and exciting at the same time and I wonder, can I cope? I thought that now was the time to start studying after years of wanting to and never biting the bullet and now I wonder if I have made the right decision. So overwhelmed am I by my son going off to school and the husband working again and having all this stuff to do and trying to manage my emotions. I wanted to speak to my GP next week about weaning off my medication but all of this change has overwhelmed me and now I wonder if I should? Until two weeks ago I felt ready to have that conversation and I still want to but is that more because I just want to stop taking these tablets and to start feeling or is it because I actually am ready?

Next week sees another appointment with my Neurosurgeon, one that I will have to attend alone because the husband will be working and we can't afford for him to lose a day's wage to hold my hand. I have no idea what, if anything will happen. I am still in pain all day, every day. Some days worse than others but I get flustered and anxious and lose track of what I need to say, only remembering after the appointment and will anything I say make any difference?

Mind in overdrive. Change all around me. I can't keep up and feel lost but I don't want to feel lost. I want to feel normal. For once, I just want to feel normal.

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Just yesterday I wrote about how we felt somewhat let down by Harry's nursery. We were upset that a referral for speech therapy made in March had not yet happened, that the NHS team seemed to be waiting on information from the school and yet the school had told us they were waiting on the NHS team based at the hospital. We were also somewhat annoyed that Harry's report seemed to suggest he is developmentally delayed and we had not been previously informed. All of this lead to me wondering whether we had made the right choice over school since Harry's nursery is attached to the school he will be attending and operates pretty much as a part of the school community.

Having emailed the Head teacher of the school on Tuesday afternoon, I received an apologetic response yesterday morning. The Head apologised for the confusion caused and had spoken to the SENCO who was trying to sort out what had happened with regards to the Speech and Language Therapy referral. She also said that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) manager would speak to us with regards to Harry's report.

I was pleased to hear that my concerns were being taken seriously and there was an immediate attempt to resolve the situation. All we wanted was reassurance and we were pleased we seemed to have it although still concerned whether Harry's needs were being met.

As is normal, the husband took Harry to nursery on Wednesday afternoon, he was late coming back, I assumed that he had gone to the shop to get my lunch. It turned out that the EYFS manager spoke to him at drop off. Which would have been fine, if the husband had understood what she had said. He told me it mostly went over his head but it was warm and humid, she seemed flustered and rushed so he didn't want to clarify the things he hadn't understood. Instead I went to collect to Harry at 3.20 pm.

Harry's report was explained to me. The fact they had highlighted the age group 22-36 months and not 30-50 months merely meant that he had met all the criteria within the 22-36 months, that he is working at the 30-50 months level and, as the comments suggested, they have absolutely no concerns. They feel that to highlight the 30-50 months group would mean that his next teacher may not plan the right support, that perhaps he just needs a little more work to bring him up to that level and they did not want that to be missed in hand over to Reception.

Which all makes perfect sense I guess, once it was explained. It just made me wonder why this was not made clear in the report. The EYFS manager recognised that perhaps in future it may be worth explaining to parents and carers and seemed to understand the confusion we had.

We then moved on to the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) referral. I was reassured that the school had believed that they have done what they should but that SENCO was working with the hospital to try to establish what went wrong, where there had been a failure of communication. As a result, the school have been promised a SLT therapist twice a week from September and Harry is to be prioritised. I was asked when our private speech therapy, assessment which I booked after getting frustrated at the lack of progress with Harry's assessment and after reading Rachel of Confessions of a SAHM post, was booked for and whether it was possible to cancel it. As it was booked for this morning, with less than 24 hours notice we would still have had to pay. The husband and I also decided that knowing where we stand and how we can help Harry was a huge priority to us. More on that another day.

It is safe to say that both the husband and I feel satisfied that the school are meeting Harry's needs. Yes, it is frustrating that there has been a loss of communication somewhere but I am happy that this has been (or at least is being) resolved. I am not often one who will speak up but I have discovered that where my son's education is concerned, I bounce into Mamma Bear mode, determined that he will get the best possible.

I have been impressed with how promptly the school addressed our concerns, particularly at what must be a busy time of year for them and feel confident over our choice of school once more. I also have no doubt that this will not be the last time I will need to discuss something that we are unhappy with but at least now I am confident that I can do it!

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Like every other parent of a three or four-year old due to start primary school this September, we waited in anticipation last Wednesday morning to find out if Harry got a place at one of our chosen schools, despite the fact I'm not ready for school. Surely my little boy is too little?!

Whilst we could select up to three schools in order of preference, we I decided to only opt for two choices. Rightly or wrongly, my mobility was the main factor in school choice for us. The husband would like to return to work at some point in the near future and, with that in mind, it would mean that in all likelihood I would be the person doing the school runs each day. Since I do not drive, our choice was limited to two schools; the one attached to the nursery he currently attends and another school which is roughly the same distance.

We were fairly confident that we would get our first choice.

Then I read on-line reports last Wednesday morning stating that Bristol had the highest number of children not receiving their first choice, or indeed any place after London. Cue more nerves. I am not sure that my e-mail inbox and spam have been refreshed and checked so much in such a short period of time.

On checking my social media channels, I found many people had been notified already and it felt like Bristol was the only area yet to find out where our children would be spending the next seven years, although of course we weren't.

It felt like 10 am was a very long time away indeed.

Then the email landed. Early. At 8.30 am. And I cried.

Tears of relief just streamed from my eyes as I realised we had got our first choice.

It may not be the best school in the area statistically but it is the most convenient for us, a distance that I can manage to walk, even slowly on my worst days. It means we will not have to move Harry yet again.

Harry returned to nursery yesterday and the husband took him in as he does every morning. I did ask him to find out if his best friends had got a place at the same school but of course he didn't. So I did the pick up despite not really feeling up to it and was relieved to find out most, if not all, of his friends will be moving up to the school with him.

There has been a sense of realisation in that my little boy is growing up before my very eyes and in a few short months will start formal education. I have had so much fun with him over the Easter holidays, even though it has been physically and mentally draining I have cherished the time. After all, in little over four months time, he will be at school full-time. And that is a very scary prospect indeed, even if he is ready I am not sure I am!

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Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I read something this morning that made me angry.

But first a history lesson.  In 2008 the HPV vaccine was rolled out for girls aged 12-13 (school Year 8) followed by a catch up programme for girls aged up to 16.  Some strains of the HPV infection can cause changes to cells in the cervix, which may eventually lead to pre-cancerous cells or even cervical cancer.  You can read more about the HPV and links to Cervical Cancer here if you wish.  I was too old when this started but, thankfully, both of my sisters had the vaccine.

Back in 2004, at the age of 21 I read an article in a magazine in which one reader had shared her story.  Like me, she was just 21.  She had gone for a smear test after her GP advised following a visit for a different matter and after more tests it was discovered she had cervical cancer.  She was fine, she got treated but it shocked me so, since I hadn't yet had a letter asking me to make an appointment, I spoke to my GP about my concerns (I was sexually active, I was a smoker, I was on the pill, all of which were thought to increase your risk) and he advised me to book in for a smear, more for peace of mind than anything else.

Two weeks later and I received a letter saying I had CIN3 cells and to make an appointment for a colposcopy.   Following that there was some area of concern in that they were worried there was the possibility that these cells could turn cancerous and as such I had some minor treatment.

I now have to have annual smear tests and the wait for the results doesn't get any easier, although I do believe that I only have two more annual ones to have then, *touch wood*, I should be able to go onto the usual programme, although I have no idea what that is!

I just wanted to give you a little background, wondering if maybe it might help understand my anger at reading that there are schools across the country that have refused to take part in the vaccination programme.  What angered me even more than the refusal of these schools is that just a handful of those not taking part had informed parents and guardians where to get their girls vaccinated!

It would seem the main reasons given were along religious grounds.

I was brought up as a Christian.  I was baptised at my own choice in my teens.  I helped to run the youth group which included biblical teachings on Sundays during the main service.  And despite that, at the age of 20, stopped going to Church.  I sort of lost my way.  I started having sexual relationships outside of marriage.  And basically went a bit off the rails.  In any case, the fact that one attends a faith school, or Church/Synagogue/Temple/Mosque/Gurdwara/wherever does not mean that person is actively adhering to the demands of their faith, or even practising with their heart.

I realise that the vaccine doesn't protect against all strains of the virus and that it isn't 100% but surely some protection is better than none?

Vaccinations are always going to be a hot topic of debate, especially where children are concerned but at least, in the main as parents we have the chance to weigh up the pros and cons.  What this boils down to in my opinion is some of these parents aren't even being advised that they can take their daughters elsewhere for a vaccine that potentially could save a lot of heartache in the future.

What gives these schools the right to refuse the parents and guardians that option for their children?  And even worse to not give information on where the vaccine can be given?  Do these schools think that by taking part in the vaccine programme that they are somehow advocating under age sex?  Are these schools effectively trying to play God?