21 Apr

Welcome back. I hope you all had a restful and peaceful Easter break.

Back to school has proved as hectic as ever. It came as no surprise that we received the news that the Prime Minister was intending to call a snap general election. There have been rumours for quite a period of time.

Last weekend you may have seen the press coverage of the main teachers’ union annual conferences. Many of the headlines included grammar schools, school budgets, teacher retention and staff morale. Interestingly, there was very little media coverage of young people with additional needs and how the mainstream system is struggling to cope with their individual needs. Clearly grammar schools are much more of a hot topic than our children!

The number of children who require more of a personalised offer appears to be growing across the country. I am becoming increasingly concerned that mainstream schools, who have so many demands of their own, do not have the staff and resources to meet the needs of young people who may present as being ‘different’. I go into many Oldham mainstream schools and see amazing practice where children of all abilities and needs are truly included. I also visit some schools and units nationally, however, where I see isolated and unhappy children. It was interesting to read Matthew’s views earlier this month.

This week I worked with a mainstream school who have seen a considerable increase in the number of children who have just arrived from overseas. These children rarely speak any English and clearly some had experienced a very traumatic few months and in some cases, years. I was astonished to hear that these children, with limited or no language skills and burdened with dreadful early experiences, receive no more financial support than any of the other children in the school. The school then told me that they try to stretch their financial resources to offer the provision that these new children arriving from overseas require.

The complexity of need that all our children bring into our classrooms doesn’t appear to be reflected in the funding that we all as schools now receive. It will be interesting to see which political party, if any, tries to offer a more sustained solution to this significant challenge. Moreover, let’s see if any of these monies actually get into the classrooms to support our children!! It promises to be an interesting few weeks.

Next week sees the launch of our New Bridge Group lotto, a great way to support all our young people with the added bonus of the chance to win a guaranteed weekly prize of £25,000! Please click here to find out more and sign up – best of luck!

Have a great weekend,