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….

Are we really happy about this

It’s still not even midday on this stormy Monday and it already feels like it’s been a long week. Much shaking my head at the areas and topics Hawklad is having to learn. Really how will these facts and skills set him up for the future.

Then he listens to the news. It’s filled with talk of pandemics, nepotism and a country rapidly appearing to be an inwardly looking police state. Women having to protest because they don’t feel safe. A complete and utter Brexit shambles. Ongoing environmental disasters. Lots of waving the flag and saying we are better than anyone else. Look how much we can blame on immigration. Everything has a price. Profit is king. A world where the makeover of the PMs flat is more important than a pay rise for nurses. Leaders talking about bringing Victorian values back into schools.

Hawklad hears this. He talks about this.

Are we really happy that our children are being exposed to this. Being brought up in this type of world. Learning this stuff. Are we happy that the likes of these people are in charge of our child’s education.

Deciding exactly what they learn, how they learn it, where they can source there information from. What part of the economy they can be slotted in to.

Is it really about the children or is just about the economy. If it is really about the children then why don’t we ask them what they want. What interests them. What works for them. What world do they want to grow up in.

I bet it’s not this type of world….

Vigil

Yesterday our Police cracked down on a peaceful candle lit vigil. A vigil where everyone in the crowd was wearing a mask. Cracked down on an outpouring of public grief. A show of solidarity with the basic right of every woman to be safe on our streets. Arrests were forcibly made. The reason – to comply with Government Covid Rules. The demonstration represented a public health risk. Even though it was outside and masked.

In 8 hours schools will be open. Lessons will be inside, in poorly ventilated, cramped rooms and largely unmasked. This apparently does not represent a public health risk. Parents are threatened with legal action from the Government if they fail to send their children into school.

My country has become a dangerously messed up place to live. The priorities of those in charge becoming more warped by the minute. Later this week the Government plans to go further and crack further down on protests. Even single person protests.

The tide has to change before more good people are hurt.

Support

Too wet for a photo today so let’s go back a year.

First true fully open school day. First day with classroom teaching and Hawklad at home. It’s been one of those days….

In the First lesson one brief document was shared by the teaching staff on the online system. That kept Hawklad going for about 10 minutes in a 90 minute lesson. Second lesson absolutely nothing was shared. No communication. Basically complete radio silence. The third lesson was again a complete blank. Nothing. Thankfully the final lesson had some of the teaching materials shared.

On the same day I heard someone representing the Government say that online support should be limited to encourage all children back into the classroom. Well the schools seem to be doing as they are told…..

Whip

The sun almost shines down on a Monday morning. So the schools are now open again.

A real media blitz is underway telling parents just how safe things are and also reminding them of the fines that can be given out for keeping children off school. The Education Secretary is talking about change. Changes he thinks are necessary. Ways to extend the school day so children learn more. Changes to the school year drastically cutting back on school holidays. Finding ways to get pupils to keep studying during weekends and those reduced holidays. Changes he thinks are long overdue.

Strangely no mention of changes to make schools better places to learn and have fun. No mention of changes to the Government’s dogmatic national curriculum. No mention of investment in home schooling. No mention of changes to the funding cuts the Government has made to child mental health services. No mention of more input from pupils, teachers and parents in shaping a better future. The only change required is clearly to make children work longer.

But what do we expect from a politician who is supposed to be in charge or our schooling system and who makes a point of having a horse whip on the front of his desk. Photo from The Guardian

Back this week!

So much space…..

So all the schools are back this week. With some changes. A bit more of an encouragement to wear masks. All pupils to get a couple of rapid Covid tests per week. A test which gives inaccurate results in potentially 1 out of every 5 tests. But let’s not mention the giant elephant in the rather cramped classroom.

Most children and staff will be returning to classrooms in a country with rapidly emerging virus mutations without mandatory masks, in rooms likely to have really poor ventilation, with pupils definitely and staff probably without the security of a vaccination. And here’s the elephant entering the already cramped room. The PM has been doing repeated photo opportunities in classrooms. In carefully selected modern classrooms containing only a handful of children. Lots of space. But that’s not the reality for most schools. Too many are squeezed into small spaces. Nothing has been done to reduce the high classroom numbers. Not one thing. If Hawklad was returning then it would be to a class size which is between 30 to 32 pupils and 2 members of staff. In a building which is well over 50 years old.

Please tell me how this is a good idea.

Britain

Are there any countries out there who would like a new citizen. I don’t take up much space, I’m happy to learn the language, sing the new national anthem and I’m house trained.

I’m sat here quite prepared to renounce my British citizenship. Clearly I don’t fit anymore. I don’t seem to fit in with the expected thinking.

Approval for the Government is at an all time high. On the back of a vaccination programme which was one of the few things they decided to leave entirely up to the public sector experts to sort out and deliver. Just don’t mention the fiasco of the privatised Track and Trace system which has now custom £37B. A country where many people turn a blind eye to the daily top level corruption which the Government don’t even bother hiding now. Where you are expected to ignore the court rulings that have found the Government is acting illegally. Shrug off the criminal negligence that has been our response to the pandemic costing thousands and thousands their life’s. Smiling at the empty food shelves and rising costs from the Brexit car crash. Preferring to moan about a bit of royal fall out rather than focus on the Government spending over £300k of tax payers money to pay off a bullying allegation against the Home Secretary. Seemingly ok with giving the wonderful NHS staff a miserly 1% pay increase while it hands out billions in dodgy contracts to party backers and personal friends. Believing that we are all in this together while the PM seeks rich charity funds to pay for a £200000 makeover of his flat.

As I’m not OK with this maybe it is time for me to pack my bags. The question is where do I go. Before Brexit I had the option of moving to any country in the EU. But now that right has been removed as clearly a loss of personal freedoms is seen as progress….

So where are the countries that I should move to. The ones that still have a moral compass. The ones you can be proud of. Sadly that is not Britain.

The future

The National Autistic Society has carried out research on the reality of adults living with autism spectrum disorders. It’s a sobering read.

I just want to highlight some specific lines in the report.

49% of adults with autism or Asperger syndrome are still living at home with their parents. 65% of these adults have had no community care assess- ments and are therefore unlikely to be known to the statutory agencies who should be supporting them.

31% of adults at the lower end of the autism spectrum are still being cared for at home, despite their high level needs. 45% of parents believed their son or daughter required 24-hour care, and only 15% thought they could live in sheltered or shared accommodation.

Only 3% of adults at the higher end of the autism spectrum are living fully independently, and a further 8% are living independently with some regular professional or family support.

As the report points out Families are picking up the care responsibilities in the UK associated with autism. Repeated Government’s have buried their heads in the sand. The current government unbelievably has probably set the bar even lower.

Like many families around the UK (and worldwide) my thoughts are increasingly focusing on the future. What will happen to Hawklad as an adult in our society which is so badly setup for those on the spectrum. Let’s just say that its currently not an entirely reassuring feeling I have. Yes I’m worried.

Frustrating

The sun goes down on another school at home day. It was one of those days where it feels like for every step forward we took two giant steps back. Such hard work.the really frustrating thing is that it wasn’t the actual learning which was the issue today. No the frustrations came from repeated system crashes, missing content, confusing instructions, formatting disasters and online tests that will only work with exactly the right spelling and format.

We can make home schooling so much easier for the pupils than this…

So with the frustrations still ringing in my head another school communication arrived. All about the required Covid testing to support the schools reopening next week. Each family will be required to self test families using the rapid result kits TWICE a week. On top of that all pupils will be tested with the same kits once a week in school.

My one question is that if our schools are completely safe and not hubs for virus transfer (according to our PM) – why is this level of testing required…..

The school letter also apologised to parents for the confusing over masks in the classroom. A few days ago the PM told schools that masks had to be worn in the classroom. Our school wrote to parents to inform them of the new rule. Unfortunately the rule has now changed again. The PM has now said they are only recommended and school can’t enforce them.

More frustrations……

Weather

It’s horrid weather today so let’s go back a few weeks. That’s better.

I heard someone from the Government brush off a parent talking about her daughters genuine fears and phobias about returning to school. Her daughter doesn’t think her classroom and school is safe enough. From the sound of it her daughter is in a similar place to Hawklad. Really struggling. The interviewer cut off the parent saying that she was in the minority and the vast majority would see things much more positively. The message from the Government followed instantly. People and kids who had concerns and fears needed to listen to the majority. Schools are completely safe, just get on with it. Parents have an obligation to send their children into schools when they open.

Meanwhile back here the NHS Psychologist is just at the early stages of a treatment programme to try and help with Hawklad’s deep seated anxieties. No guarantee that the programme will ever work. This week’s task is for Hawklad to try and stand in the front garden for 1 minute. The message is don’t worry if you can’t do that. Even a few seconds will be a massive leap of faith. And if he can’t do it at all then we can try another week. Pushing people with significant fears and ingrained anxieties can do so much harm to their long term mental health.

The Government and the ‘Majority’ are not trained mental health practitioners. They have absolutely no idea what some people are going through. On this issue they can stand out in the rain and whistle for all I care.