We started off as a family of 5. Two of them school aged and a baby. As my eldest struggled (then aged 5) through Reception class despite an IEP in place, I was happy on the road to a diagnosis in the hope of further help for him. He got his diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder as suspected from 18 months old. I then found that the school we attended didn’t know how to cater for children on the spectrum. The knowledge wasn’t there and none of the staff wanted to come with us on an educational course designed to better the understanding of Autism. I was left with a child with a diagnosed condition and a school that could either offer him speech and language support or fine motor skills. He was entitled to both but that’s not what the school wanted to offer.
I had enough. I couldn’t get him into school with his anxiety and meltdowns, his attendance plummeted. I put in for a transfer of schools to one with a higher Ofsted report. The wait wasn’t long, a place became available, we thought this was going to be “A class care” with a better school. During his time at school I debated home educating. I knew friends that home ed but always felt it was an extreme measure to take.
He started the new school, I moved both kids at the same time. This was the school systems last chance. There would be no other choice of school after this. If this didn’t work out, home education was our next step. The school had all sorts in place, we were very happy. As my eldest’s speech came along and he was able to describe his feelings better to us we soon discovered his triggers and this was something that no school could help with. This was my sons feelings and his reality. His understanding of social situations were a battle for him and he cried all the time about situations no one could help. I knew then that a school system would fail a child like mine. A child that doesn’t fit into an achieving box. A child who will always be behind, always chose last, always the slowest to pick things up. The schools job is to meet targets and to control vast amounts of children in one space. If you are not one to control or you are not in the target box you are swimming against the tide. I’d kept a close eye on my second eldest in a school environment too as she works very different to my eldest. Sure enough I saw the pressure on my then 5 year old daughter and knew the system was failing even your average kids.
Our home life philosophy is Attached parenting so having school as this negative influence really went against everything I stand for as a parent. We walked out of school the gates one day, watching a teacher intimidating a young lad. I’ll never forget the tone of voice. He spoke patronising and the boys mother backing the teacher. My son watching on, feeling uncomfortable at this adult / child stand off of shame. It was at that moment, holding their hands, I told my son in his ear that we were not returning to any school and we would learn at home.