Well, yesterday was my son’s last day at primary school, and all the Y6 kids got a book in their leavers assembly to record their memories in.  

My son can’t read or write, so depends on his TA for everything.  

The kids all signed the book which was nice, and the family support workers Rachel and Kate wrote a lovely message, but apart from that, the rest of the book speaks volumes.  It shows that my son has no friends.  It also shows that the staff have made no effort to help him make friends.  He has left school with not one phone number or email address.  Not one.  

His teachers, teaching assistants, headteacher, office staff, dinner ladies haven’t written a message. I think this shows what they think of Alfie, but more importantly, it shows that no one has thought, or made the effort to take Alfie round school to get his book signed, which is most upsetting.  He can’t do this by himself.  He can’t do much by himself, and he’s completely dependent on someone else to create opportunities for him.  He’s been denied the opportunity to keep in touch with the kids from primary school, and I know there are some kids there who absolutely loved Alfie, and showed kindness and genuine respect for him.  I’m not going to try to understand why no-one thought to do this.  It’s completely unacceptable, but it goes on, clearly.  

Here are the highlights from my son’s leavers book. 

The most upsetting thing about that book, is this picture and caption on the first page.  Oh the double-whammy-negative-irony.  For kids like Alfie, it’s too easy for them to stand alone and often it’s not because it’s easy for them, it’s easier for the adults who should be doing everything to create opportunities.  I’d really love for my son to be part of a crowd, and decide for himself if he wants to just go with the flow, or be a pain in the arse like his mum, but I doubt he’ll ever be able to make that choice.  

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “Recollections

  1. Completely unsurprising. My son refused to attend his primary in Yr 6. He’d been there since YR. No-one from the school made any effort whatsoever to find out why, to set work, to just pop in and have a chat – not even after the surgery I’d informed them about (and don’t get me started on their duty to inform Social Services if a child has not been seen for a month).

    I managed to get him into a tiny village school some miles away for an hour a day, for the last two terms before high school. He left with an autograph book of everyone’s messages. Definitely a tale of two completely different school attitudes.

    I hope that Alfie’s story is a tale of two halves, that he gets a high school that really cares & nurtures.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks. It really shows how common these issues are and how really, it’s not about funding (the usual excuse/reason for poor practice re kids with SEND). I know there is a school out there which cares enough to support and teach a young person like my son, but I’m reaching the point where I’m frightened to try to find it again. Hope your son’s doing ok now X


      • He’s great, thanks. High school returned him ‘back to normal’ and we’ve not looked back. Hope you find one that’s an equally good fit for your lad.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Caroline Hanman

    This is the sort of evidence about a school’s true approach to inclusion that Ofsted inspectors should see – the truth comes out in the end and I hope this child has better educational access and better teachers at secondary school

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I agree, and I worry they don’t see it when it’s under their noses, either because they don’t know it’s bad, or they think it’s too trivial in the scheme of SATs results.


  3. As a mum also of a child with special needs my heart breaks for you both. I am so sorry 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being different is to be invisible. If you don’t look, then you can’t see. If you don’t think, then you don’t have to do anything. To be alone is solitude, to be lonely you need a crowd

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So so sad and thoughtless. He sounds a lovely lad and will find his niche in time

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My heart is breaking for Alfie, hopefully things will fall into place soon and he will find a supportive network around him xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A disgrace. It is 100pc about the quality of leadership. It really is that simple.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So badly thought out – or not thought at all. Those teachers and staff should hang their heads in shame. So sad to read this. For any teaching staff or TAs reading (though to be fair, if you are, you’re already probably one of the good guys!), PLEASE make the effort to help those who need it more.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I can’t believe this happened. I’m in tears reading this. I just don’t understand how they could be so insensitive to your son’s needs. Do you have any contacts via social media who could help get numbers in the book? Maybe a message on Facebook would reach some of the mums and you could arrange something. This is a worry I have for my son. He doesn’t have the ability to make friends or do this kind of thing for himself either. My heart broke for you and your son when I read this. I hope he gets opportunities at high school that weren’t afforded him at primary!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. One positive about secondary school is that there are more children, and schools normally think long and hard about how to group children in to Year 7 forms to be with children they can get on with.

    Try to make contact with his form tutor early in September, and because s/he will see Alfie every day, you can get updates on how well he is settling in.

    With you as his mum, he is going to do really well. Thank you for reminding us that we have to care for every child.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Outrage to action | It's always been done like this

  12. Ulla Boutwood

    Hey, how about you fill the blank pages in with him? Have you been able as a parent to make connections with other mums and dads like at pick-up and drop-off time and birthday parties, school assemblies there so you could pass it back to at least some of his friends to get it filled in?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi thanks for your suggestions. This post was from last year, but I wanted to share it again to help prevent what happened to my son happening to others. They are good ideas for parents though, thanks!


  13. Inga

    I have son with autism, he is about to start reception this coming September, there is no plan for transition set up, only meeting took place and at the end there were no conclusion on what is going to be happening or put in place for my son. All I have been told from new School SENCO was that she was happy to meet me and that she is looking forward seeing me and my son in September.
    I am humbled, my son is in the nursery with 12.5h SCEP package and this nursery supposed to be Outstanding Oftead. My sons nursery is official provision who deals with kids on the spectrum. My son was referred to panel to see if he could get provision place for reception, but was refused and got given 10h SCEP. This nursery that my son is about to finish doesn’t acknowledge his difficulties he has as he is sociable and looks 2years older as already in 6-7year old clothing (he is 4,5), has good eye contact, but has been Diagnosed with ASD, Speech and Language Delay and Short spam of attention. He also have hyper mobility and poor balance and always hurting himself during the time he is at nursery and at home.
    So he is being forced to go mainstream with 10h SCEP package.
    He has no written skills, poor balance, short attention spam and can’t regulate his tone of voice, can’t hold meaningful conversations apart from telling kids do what he says when playing, as he has great need in controlling his environment.
    Reading stories like this makes me even more anxious about my little boys future.
    I am truly sorry about your and Alfie’s journey, it’s appalling these things keeps happening.
    To be perfectly honest, I haven’t met a single parent that didn’t have to fight and got all the help needed…
    Wishing you two good luck in finding good secondary school x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment.

      You’re right, it’s a constant fight to get what our children have a right to receive.

      Have you requested a needs assessment for your son (to get him an EHCP)? Are you familiar with IPSEA? Lots of good advice


  14. Helen

    This is totally unacceptable and the school should be totally ashamed of themselves for not helping your son complete this. Is there any chance of it being completed even if it is the end if term. Maybe the head could spend some time doing this and reflecting on how this must feel for your son and you as his mother. Helen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Helen – this was a post from last year. Being shared as a reminder to schools what a kick in the teeth it is to receive something as bad as this. We are kind of over it now, although it really hurts to remember it. Good ideas though!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I am so very sorry that Alfie’s experience of Primary school was so lacking in opportunities for real inclusion and the developing of friendships πŸ’”
    Hopefully his move to 2ndary will be much more positive for him and for you as his mum 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is horrible. I’m so sorry this happened to your child.

    I understand this was last year and I wonder whether the school ever got in touch about it? Would love to know what their explanation was!!


  17. I have a Y6 child too. If Alfie would like, we could set up a penpal system. Doesn’t have to be about written letters – we are happy to send photos, stickers etc. He will have a lovely friend in Violet xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have goosebumps. That is such a fab thing to suggest, thank you so much! Alfie has a talking soft toy called Violet, who he loves! How can we set it up? I’ve just stalked and found you on twitter… if we follow each other can DM? Honestly, that has made my day xx

      Liked by 1 person

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