A Mountain to Climb

The lovely and very readable @nancygedge posted a blog today about not giving up and not walking away; this was so much in tune with my thoughts over the last 24 hours I felt I had to blog too.

The children in my pru have a lot of obstacles to overcome….home issues, SEN, SEMH, medical issues, combined with poor behaviour and exclusion. Those of you who read my blogs know that they suffer extreme anxiety and become very attached to us whilst seemingly pushing us away with swearing, violence and the destruction of property. These are children who exist in the shadows on the fringes of society but they come to our small nurturing provision and learn to trust and to smile and to succeed. We are the sunlight sending rays into their darkness and they feel safe and valued.

Our Year 6 are a particularly vulnerable group; they came to us from their mainstream schools, often after having managed moves which broke down, and always labelled as challenging and out of control. They were angry and sullen and withdrawn; one boy was an elective mute. The shutters were down. Fast forward to happier times and more settled children. It’s not perfect but they are talking and confiding and opening up with their hopes and fears. Above all they are starting to flourish. And now it is transition time and the old anxieties are back and the behaviours are back. And we are trying to do our very best to allay their worries and take them on visits to their new schools and keep them calm. We sat in our staff meeting last night planning lovely end of term events, just like mainstream….Euros, Olympics, football tournaments, barbecues, walks, cinema trips…and our leavers’ assembly.This is very funny and based on ‘I’m a celebrity’ with best moments from school interspersed with eating jellied snakes! It makes us laugh and cry….and their families laugh and cry too.

And the staff went home ….and I went on my computer…and found the email!!

Now the current situation is that we are full of perm exes but sadly the schools keep on excluding so children are being home tutored. Understandably, parents aren’t happy and there is pressure to find other provision. But we are a small pru. And we can’t take any more kids….The email said we have to send our Y6 back to a new mainstream primary FOR THE LAST HALF TERM before they move to high school . So that we can take in the others. Only one boy has an EHCP so he is safe.. .the others came to us with nothing….no evidence….no graduated response….no EP involvement….nada….zilch. I am doing my best but it is too late….so they are going to mainstream high….I am trying to put in support….but they need to be here with us!

And can you imagine being thrust, unwanted, into a new primary at a time when there are post SATS celebrations and trips and leavers’ assemblies WHICH MEAN NOTHING TO YOU….and which you probably won’t get to join because you are angry and scared and you throw a chair and you are 1/1 in a room somewhere with someone who doesn’t know you or care about you? And you are still anxious about transition….and there is no one to turn to…and the shutters come down and you are silent or you erupt in rage and then you sit at home with a tutor. Back in the pru the new kids sit in your places and enjoy your activities but the leavers’ service is cancelled….forever.

Now we have been told to follow orders, don’t ask questions but after shedding a few tears we are climbing up the mountain to rescue our kids determined it is NOT happening and today we have hopefully found another way….we WILL succeed and we will bring our kids safely home.

We are not giving up and we are not walking away.


3 thoughts on “A Mountain to Climb

  1. Julia says:

    I ran a similar PRU. We were closed as a cost cutting exercise and because of being too successful. Our students felt safe and secure, were happy, were learning and had ambition some time to go to back. Without exception every student who returned to mainstream fell again. Some are now in secure accommodation and one sadly committed suicide. I feel guilty everyday for not having fought harder. When l am told there was nothing else l could have done l feel guilty for giving these children hope, showing them a different type of life and then being just another adult who let’s them down. Institutional abuse!

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