When a school goes above & beyond

At the time of writing this, Sproglet is due to start Secondary School in September. Whether he actually starts full time or on a staggered time table is as yet undecided as a result of the current Covid pandemic. That’s probably a whole other post for another time about the pressure of having a child with emotional and learning difficulties attempting to do home learning.

As an adopted child, transitions have always been quite challenging in our home so we always take the time to try and build up and prepare for these large events. We also ready ourselves for allowing him the freedom to express a wide range of emotions that are usually presented as he desperately attempts to manage feeling excited about the new opportunities, worried about whether it will be ok, sad about goodbyes and anxious about how it will all turn out and whether he will like it. Did I mention that most of these emotions can also present themselves in one 5 minute period which means keeping up and trying to help him regulate can become quite exhausting?

After much consideration, we decided that he would not return to school when the Year 6 students had the chance to go back from June as we felt that emotionally he had processed the abrupt ending of school in March, the farewells that came as part of that and would not manage a strange school environment with a second round of farewells after only a short time back at school. We have since invested our time and energy into building some increased independence while he has been at home with us to prepare him for the new start in September.

We had built a really good relationship with the SENDCO at his Primary School who had massively supported him during Year 6 and she had assured us she would pass on all the relevant information to her opposite number at the Secondary School.

Today we got a phone call from the SENDCO at his Secondary School who wanted to introduce herself to us and to offer Sproglet the opportunity to still do a transition day before the end of the school year so he could re-familiarise himself with the layout of his new school. She explained that they are only allowing this opportunity for students who are likely to struggle with the transition. Although he will not be able to tour the whole school they have put together a virtual tour video that new students can also access. They are also attempting to put together a meeting with me so I can share my own experiences of Sproglet and any other additional information we are prepared to share from his story so they can best understand where some of his challenges are.

We have our appointment all fixed and on the day we visit, we will be escorted around the school by her and at the end we will be able to have an in person, appropriately distanced meeting with the Year 7 Head of Year and his new Form Teacher. They are doing all of this for his benefit so that although we can’t remove those first day nerves, he will at least already know (and hopefully remember) the name and face of his new Form Teacher and won’t have to carry quite so many nerves as so many of the other Year 7’s facing their first day in a new school.

I am once again, completely blown away by how supportive this school are being to our son who really wants to succeed but needs help to bring out the very best in him. I am determind and will work hard to ensure that we continue to build on this new relationship and journey with this school but for now I am at least hopeful for his good future here.

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