Cracks

How easy is it to slip through the cracks.

It took too many years to get any support and help for Hawklad. A lot of important time during his key development years were missed. He was labelled with the following tags and descriptions…

A loner

Below average attainment

Having issues

Poor concentration

Under performer

Some discipline issues

Can’t sit still

Clumsy

Accident prone

Messy eater

Untidy

Behind national targets

Easily distracted

Needs to work on the basics

Does he need better discipline at home

Then it all changed when a group of Doctors and education experts finally issued a medical letter confirming

Aspergers

ADHD

Dyslexia

Dyspraxia

To get there was a nightmare. Yes it felt like a never ending slog. An ordeal. Constantly fighting the system. You end up doubting yourself. Are we just being pushy parents. Should we just fall back into line.

In the end our son was one of the lucky ones. Too many great kids don’t get the chance to shine. Wrote off. Misunderstood. They never get the support they need because they fell through the cracks in the system. A system which still has such poor levels of awareness, too many stereotypes, too few resources in specialised services.

It shouldn’t be like this.

Power

Power….

So the member of the Government in charge of the NHS, Matt Hancock owns 15% of the shares in a company just awarded supplier status to the NHS. Apparently he doesn’t take an active role in the companies affairs. Apparently he leaves that to his sister who owns more shares and is a Director of the company.

Apparently that is perfectly above board.

Ok…..

But surely it’s no worse that our NHS awarding a contract to the former neighbour and personal friend of Hancock. A neighbour awarded a £30M contract to supply Protective Face Masks even though his friends company had no Medical experience and produced plastic cups. Apparently that was ok as Hancock denied being friends with his friend and never socialised with him and most definitely never drunk with him. In an unrelated matter, thanks to the Guardian Newspaper he is a photo of Hancock not at all socialising with a man who is definitely not his friend and most definitely not drinking. Maybe they are having a chance meeting and are celebrating a £30M contract award….

Power….

If I had done that when I worked for the NHS I would have been sacked and ended up in court for Procurement Fraud.

Power….

Walk

So each night Hawklad tries to walk a few more yards. To extend is external walk. To slowly start to build bridges again. Last night he bailed out early as he saw people in the distance. But it is progress. It’s a start. At some stage he will be ready to even face people again. But in his own time. Whether that happens before he leaves school, who knows.

I do worry that too many countries are just thinking vaccines. No other permanent changes required. The vaccine will beat the pandemic and return us to that wonderful former world….

But surely with a mutating virus which is still spreading and still so endemic, all a vaccine does is buy us time. It gives us a chance to make changes. To find ways to live safely. To get support out to the people who need it. To increasingly try to make it harder for the virus to spread and thus mutate.

But here’s the thing. The vaccine doesn’t really help with the growing tide of mental health issues facing our society. Speaking with the team trying to support Hawklad. They are being swamped by rising child mental health problems (and the identified problems are just scratching the surface of the real volume of problems out there). Plus was the old world that perfect. Even before a pandemic there was a mental health crisis.

Society and Governments need to quickly wake up to this. There are somethings a vaccine can’t fix for them…..

Middle ground

Sometimes the middle ground is vacated…..

I think lack of sleep does something to my psyche. Normally I’m pretty much good at compromising. Finding the middle ground. NOT TODAY.

School has a weekly extra 90 minutes of schooling. As our beloved and apparently never corrupt Government imposes it’s esteemed will on schools, headteachers have very limited scope to vary the teaching. To add new stuff. So our school brought in a longer school day once a week. This would allow for dedicated non-curriculum learning. Pupils get to choose from a range of options. It’s all about learning different skills, building confidence, developing interests. Completely behind the principle here. Especially when the options are varied enough to allow each child to find something that interests them.

Although Hawklad is not in school at present school want him to take part in the scheme. Which he has done so far. So it’s time to pick this terms option. The pupils got to pick options in the classroom, then a couple of weeks later Hawklad was approached for his selection. Sometimes (and understandably) he is forgotten about in a process. So the best options have filled up and are fully booked. So what’s left?

Dance

Everyone can create music

Everyone can create video

Everyone can create drawing….

Just NO Dad. I would rather do French than those. I’d rather wash your car than do those. The animal management course would have been ace. As would Astronomy. As would the archeological dig option. Those last 4 options are still not fully booked for a good reason…..”

I phoned school to see if we could find another option. Could he be fitted into one of the full options. NO….. THOSE ARE THE ONLY AVAILABLE OPTIONS.

Ok normally I would try to work with school to find some middle ground. Today NO. Just told school that he isn’t doing any of those, so TOUGH…You will just have to mark him absent for that part of the day.

I think he is much happier with the new range of home based options. Xbox, football in the garden, table tennis, watching The Simpsons…..

Summer

Cold, cold, cold but sunny.

Can’t believe the break from school is almost over. As Hawklad isn’t ready to go back we go again on the school at home project. Wait for it. Using my fingers to count past 10 I think Monday will be the 212th home at school teaching day. Does that make me a proper teacher now…..

I must admit there feels like there is quite a lot of schooling fatigue on both the pupil and the parent now. If this was true homeschooling then now would be the time for changing things up. But it isn’t so lessons start again at 840am on Monday. The weekend will be spent trying to complete holiday homework.

It might just be about limping through until the summer break. This summer feels like it’s the crucial time. Can’t see him returning to school before then. So summer is when we either fully commit to homeschooling or we try to move closer to a return to the classroom.

The process will be tough enough….

The last thing we need is a self righteous horse whip clown determined to use children as a way to become PM. To appear the hard man. Wanting to take schools back to Victorian values. A clown who is trying to now push through changes to extend the school day, reduce school holidays, increase homework and drive through increased discipline.

If I’m honest I’m not looking forward to the next few months.

Warning

Warning. In some countries the self absorbed, moronic idiots are still in charge.

Photo from The Guardian

Remember this PRAT. He is in Secretary of State for Education. Yes the idiot with a horse whip on his desk. A bloke who has been recently described by a respected former member of the Government as a ‘venomous, self seeking little s**t’.

Well the Prat has spoken again. Apparently ‘a generation of children have lacked discipline and order during the pandemic’. So he will be launching a crackdown on behaviour in schools……

Is he going to bother revealing his evidence for his claim. Or as usual is he just getting his views from the a couple of extreme right wing political lobbying groups that he follows.

It’s odd as every teacher and parent I have heard have been praising just how good school children have been, how well they have reacted to the pandemic. They have been brilliant. An unprecedented time of disruption. Schools open and closed. Exams on and off. Exam results messed up by the actions of this prat. Not being able to meet with friends. Holidays cancelled. Sports and leisure activities curtailed. Living through such awful times. AND TOO many going hungry as families struggle.

But this prat thinks they need discipline. Has he forgotten that he was sacked by the last PM when he was the Defence Secretary for leaking official secrets. He broke the Official Secrets Act, behaviour that ends up in prison for mere mortals. Clearly someone with high personal behaviour standards.

How did my country go so wrong. So wrong that someone like him ends up running our schools. Now people will vote for him, it’s currently still a free country. They might agree with him. Fine but if that is how they view our younger generation then I have the same contempt for them as I do for this prat. The children aren’t the problem, it’s the people who think the way this prat thinks who are the real problem. The children are the future, the hope, the solution to this corrupt mess.

Mix messages

So two days after my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and alright. Didn’t feel much on Friday apart from a little prick but hey what’s new… Yesterday I felt a bit achy. Had a two hour spell where I felt really hot (that’s so not me….). As if I was going down with something but that ebbed away. So currently it’s been ok.

What’s not ok is the mixed messages. The medics are telling me that until I get the second vaccine then any protection may be limited. Even after the second shot I will still pose a risk to others. I can still carry and spread Covid. The vaccines may only provide up to 50% protection against spreading it to others. So it’s vital I stick to social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future. YET this morning I heard a government minister say that when you get the shot you are covered. As soon as lockdown eases get out to pubs, to the cinema, to the stadiums and most importantly to the office. By June the minister said we would be back to normal.

Then our really hard working PM. A fine man, who is honest, much admired, never corrupt, never racist, never sexist and most certainly never a self absorbed git…. Most definitely never a someone who has an affair with someone and then gives his lover £126000 of public money. Anyway that pillock was unbelievably working at the weekend and talking. Apparently now was the time to stop home working and get back into the office. Office’s and public transport are completely safe. “Time to stop the DAYS OFF…….” I heard someone in the Government use the term HOLIDAYS….

Do they know 126,000 people have died so far from this pandemic. Days Off and Holidays are the most distasteful terminology to use but it just sums them up. Staggeringly people are still prepared to back them. So what do I know….

Anyway again it’s mixed messages. The Government are telling people offices and schools are perfectly safe. We are soon going to be back to normal. No need to change anything. YET their very own scientific advisers are warning that we are in this for the long run. The vaccine programme is only a part of what is needed. They are warning of the need for long term social distancing. They are calling for places like schools, offices and trains to be fundamentally improved. To make them safer and better placed to work safely during a pandemic (and after). Better ventilation and more space have to be built into them urgently.

MIXED MESSAGES.

Delightful

Red sky at night Shepherds delight.

I’m taking Boris Johnson so I guess I might be getting some of those delightful fan mail messages again.

Watching the news and again shaking my head. Just maybe the UK could vote for a leader next time who could be bothered to comb his hair or dress in front of a mirror. So our esteemed PM has been talking again. Amazing considering he has just got others to pay for a £200000 makeover on his flat.

Apparently 120000 deaths is in fact a sign of a job well done. Something to be proud of. It’s silly to compare us with other countries with much lower death levels as comparisons are meaningless. Soon things will be apparently back to normal with most of the restrictions lifted. Crowds will be back. Football grounds, restaurants and pubs will be full again. Life will be good within months. Which is bizarre as he then mentioned that (entirely down to Europe and absolutely nothing to do with lifting restrictions) a third wave will likely hit the UK real soon.

Ok….. Didn’t we already go through our really bad third wave after Christmas when the PM lifted restrictions against the advice of his medical experts. If a FOURTH wave hits then it’s not down to Europe. The threats sources are clear. From vaccine resistant mutations spreading far more rapidly due to premature restriction easing. The threat comes from still not having any meaningful Covid screening checks at many airports and ports. It comes from a bizarre refusal to address overcrowding, design failings and poor ventilation in our schools, offices and public places. It comes from using schools as a way of promoting a discredited ‘herd’ strategy. It comes from pinning all our hopes on a ‘vaccinate out of this mess strategy’ and close our eyes to other long overdue changes. It comes from still not having an effective track and trace system. It comes from a wonderful health service which has been cut back over far too many years and is now utterly exhausted. It comes from mixed messages from the top which is resulting in some people following social distancing and others thinking the pandemic is over.

Moan over….

That sky was delightful.

Homework

Let’s be honest I’m not the biggest fan of school homework. Not a fan all those years ago when I suffered it as a child and certainly not now as a parent. Occasionally the homework I’ve encountered has had some learning merits. On a few rarer occasions it’s been interesting even wait for it – FUN. Sadly in the vast majority of cases it’s unremittingly dull, of little value to the child and no better than parrot learning dross. A desperate attempt to tick off parts of the government curriculum. I’ve lost count of the times Hawklad has put so much effort into a piece of homework and then gets zero feedback. Too often it’s probably not even marked.

What is the point….

Hawklad has a number of such seemingly meaningless pieces of homework to complete this week. Let’s just look at one of those. How about Religious Education. To paraphrase

Look at your last classroom assessment. Examine your answers and look at the comments. Make corrections to your answers in green pen (must be in green) so that all the teacher comments have been clearly considered. Now fully re-answer two of the assessment questions in your book ensuring all teacher comments are addressed. Homework must be submitted before the start of the next lesson.

That’s RE…. I might be missing something but is that really how you teach this subject. How you teach any subject. How is that approach doing anything positive. Talk about draining the FUN and ENJOYMENT out of school. And guess what.

Dad can I drop this subject….”.

Homework – don’t you just love it…. Well the Government does as it fits in with their schooling vision….How depressing is that.

Rainbow LOST

First rainbow of the year here. Sadly I failed to find that pot of gold. If I had found that pot then I could have happily binned this application form in front of me.

Having carefully followed the IKEA flat pack like instructions that came with the application pack I was officially LOST. Don’t you just love filling out Government Forms. Especially the ones which are designed to stop you claiming any money from them. You know your in trouble when your lost on the FIRST page with another 30 to go. Only thing left was for me to contact the dreaded customer care line. 🤯🙈

Having showed them the tattoo on my left buttock as proof of who I am and confirmed that I was a UK citizen… the main event started. I carefully explained my personal circumstances

“How can I help you Sir.”

Box 4. I’m not sure which option to tick in terms of circumstances.

Well sir you are not classed as a widow. You also don’t meet the definition of single, divorced, separated or married. So you would tick the box marked OTHER.”

Ok there is a problem being OTHER. That option then directs me to the final page. I get a paragraph to fill out with any other information and that’s it. I don’t get the chance to fill out the other 28 pages of questions. I’m guessing they are kind of important to the overall claim…

Unfortunately those are the current protocol rules. You do get that box on the final page to set out you circumstances and information relating to your claim.

Is there anything else I can help you with….

Would you mind answering a few prerecorded customer care questions…..”

*****

So I’m not entirely convinced that my claim will go that well. More chance of finding that pot of gold….