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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Secondary school allocations day

Obviously, this photo is not Sasha right now. It was taken during an amazing holiday a couple of years ago.
Sash half buried in sand

I thought I’d make a change from all the snowy snaps filling my timelines, and reminisce in an attempt to make myself feel a bit sunnier and warmer. Much better than posting the sad faces round here which would reflect our moods today... 

Sasha drew me in to her bedroom with a loud wail this morning. She had been very upset last night at bed time, real tears, which are pretty rare for her. This morning we were supposed to be going to her new school, so that she could spend half an hour with the teacher in her new classroom, getting to know her new classmates. We were offered this opportunity when we went into school on Monday to check out the canteen at lunchtime, and she’s been super excited ever since. 

Last night though, she could sense the opportunity slipping away from her as she looked at the snow falling outside. I tried to calm her, pointing out that there was no point being upset if it turned out that we were still able to go today. Sadly, after I left her room, I came down to discover that the school had made the decision to close for the next two days because of the snow 😭 

She’s heartbroken. I’ve never known a child so desperate to get to school! It’s been a long eight months that she’s been out though, and we haven’t been able to confirm what would happen for her for most of them. Now she knows, she wants to get on with it! 

Age wise, Sasha is officially in Year 6. Today I’m thinking of all her peers who are due to find out what secondary school they will be allocated for Year 7. I remember vividly how surprised I was 2 years ago when I got emotional as we received news of a place at the school we really wanted for our eldest. I’m still relieved about that; she’s getting on very well there. 

Under the sibling rule, but also because we now live closer to the school than any other child (that wasn’t the case when we applied for the school for our eldest), Sasha would definitely be entitled to a place there. So I wouldn’t have had the same nerves or interest in the decisions coming out today. I still went through the online process even though I was fairly sure that Sasha would never cope at any mainstream school; we had at that point set wheels in motion for her application to a specialist school. But the other school was by no means guaranteed so I felt it was important to ensure that she had some sort of place in education. In fact, I believe that Sasha would still be legally entitled to that place in mainstream if we chose that path for her. There are many people who believe that inclusion in mainstream is what should happen for all children. For Sasha’s sake we are not choosing that path right now; never say never though. 

So it’s another time in life where I feel different. No nerves or excitement about the impending release of allocation places today. Relief that a place has been found for Sasha - although at this point, I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed that she does make it there eventually! 

I’ll admit to being somewhat surprised when I received an email this week telling me that as Sasha has an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), her application for mainstream secondary had been cancelled. I’m not sure why it mattered to me exactly, given that it’s not our first choice, but it did somehow feel like a kick in the teeth. 

It’s a day of mixed emotions; some will be given places they desperately wanted, others will be allocated a school they desperately didn’t want. Fingers crossed for everyone that they do get what they want!

Sasha by trampoline with Pokemon
This was yesterday, when the snow wasn't thick enough to dampen spirits...

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