Joshua returns to school today after around six weeks holiday and I have been warning him for days now that it was about to happen. Yesterday morning, as I left home for work, our conversation went like this :
” Joshua I am going to work now”
” Bye Bye” with a big grin
” You will be going back to school tomorrow..this is the last day of your holidays!”
” No way!!!!” with another giggle
I wonder if he knew how appropriate his words were, if he meant them or if they just fitted accidentally. I like to think that he meant every word.
Pupils of Special Schools are transported by the Local Authority to their school, as they are unlikely to be on their doorstep like a mainstream school would be. Joshua travels around 30 minutes to his special school and he is fortunate enough to be the only pupil from our area and so he travels solo in a taxi, rather than a mini bus, which would involve several pick ups and so, an earlier start potentially. Now that he is in 6th form, we have to make a contribution towards transport costs of £540 for the year, which began last year, which is a significant contribution and I am not really sure why it arises in 6th form only, now that education until 19 is compulsory, whereas it used to be voluntary.
So this is a service that he is entitled to and that we pay a substantial amount of money for, so you would hope that it was organised professionally. As of this Monday, I had heard nothing about who would be transporting our son to school. I chased it with an email, to ask what the arrangements for this academic year might be? I heard back, on the same day at least, to say that there was no change from last year and that the contract was due to begin today.
So I texted last year’s driver and escort to check that they had had a good summer and to confirm that I would see them this morning. The escort replied immediately to say that while she was being maintained, we had in fact got a new female driver starting. I was reassured that, despite the last minute information to absorb, at least Joshua had some consistency in his passenger assistant. Yesterday, the day before the service is due to start, she texted again to warn me that the driver had changed already and that it would now be a new man. Now Joshus is not someone who is upset by change, but plenty of his peers are, and this last minute update could be enough to set them off badly for their return to school and I do not think that the Local Authority properly ever take this into account, as they are so blase about changes.
So wish us luck with the return to school, there will be a lot of nerves around today, amongst both pupils, parents and staff I suspect and a period of adjustment will be necessary. I personally am not anxious about Joshua settling back into school routine and I doubt that he is concerned either : he has been on such good form over the summer, that I think he is ready to go back to school and give the staff some grief, he is ready for some attention from a range of teaching assistants and staff and I am confident that he will soon get into his stride with both a new driver and a new teacher. I wish everyone good luck though, heres to another year!