In writing this post I’m hoping that some politicians will see it and take heed of it. Please, please remember that we are dealing with real children and real lives.
On Wednesday 12th February we lost one of our dearly loved pupils very unexpectedly. All our children are special to us and cherished by us, of course they are! This boy had been with us since 1999 and had been taught or cared for by every member of staff in school.
He was profoundly poorly, incredibly delicate and had many medical interventions. His life was full of hope and promise and smiles for the time he was with us.
The point I want to make for any politician who happens to read this is that we had to set targets for this boy. For years we had to watch him strive to reach them. Were they relevant to him? Did they enhance his life? I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that we designed his education to suit him and his personal needs first, then we moulded the targets to suit the education department. We made sure we gave him the best education possible. Against all the odds our boy always came up with the goods and with a cheeky smile on his face.
Yesterday morning there was a collective outpouring of grief as our HT announced the sad news. Staff were white faced, shocked and in tears. But we did what we always do, we rallied for the sake of the children. The ‘family’ ethos that surrounds my school kicked in to action. The staff were there for each other, the children and the parents. Our staff were, as always professional and caring in equal measures. Our HT expressed how proud she was of everyone at the end of the day.
As SLT we had a harrowing day with the critical incident team. They were truly outstanding and guided us through the expectations of a sudden death. We’ve been through it many times before but you never ever get used to the death of a child.
In my humble opinion this political climate in which we are living right now has worsened this situation. Teachers are encouraged to think in terms of targets and data and now linked to PRP. This is wrong! Are we losing sight of the children in our efforts to appease Ofsted? Are we still keeping the children at the centre of everything we do?
Please everyone, remember we are here for the children and what is best for them. We are not here for Michael Gove and Michael Wilshaw and what’s best for them. My Head teacher and I were chatting last night about the new levels and assessment and we came to the realisation that for some, assessment is less than important.
Wednesday was a stark reminder of the reality and fragility of life.