I had a full day in school yesterday, being the Parent Governor on the interviewing panel of internal candidates, which I always enjoy doing. As the others on the panel were staff, they had a different perspective to me: I was looking at candidates to see if I would want them to be middle management if Joshua had a crisis in school and I was also thinking whether or not I would want to work with them. We interviewed seven in total and it took all day, with no lunch break even, as we used that break time to catch up when we overran in the morning.
Every candidate gave us a presentation and was asked the same questions and we each scored their responses, then we discussed our thoughts after each one left the meeting room. There was consistency in our scores, although the staff members on the panel had additional expectations, from knowing how they perform in school already. Whereas my concern was their attitude towards the children first and foremost, then their approach towards parents secondly. In a special school, with non-verbal pupils, gaining information from parents is paramount to understanding the child and so it is important for me to glean how much value they place on foster good relations with home. Good teachers, in my opinion, work in partnership with families, and that approach benefits everyone involved.
We hardly left the meeting room all day and so we were totally focussed on the interviewing process. However around lunchtime, between candidates, I checked my mobile and I had two missed calls from school. So I walked up to the office to see who wanted me and it had been Joshua’s teacher, who had forgotten where I was. She was concerned that Joshua had been getting flushed on and off all morning. It was a very sticky, airless day and so I had advised them to cool him down by removing his boots and helmet, by soaking his feet in cool water and taking him outside for fresh air. The summer term is always difficult for him as heat is one of his main triggers for seizures. I reminded them where I was and went back to the meeting room, telling his teacher to interrupt if Joshua should continue to overheat or develop seizures, but I heard no more through the afternoon. But he did not peaky when I collected him at 3.30 and he dozed on the journey home and had a lie down when we got back. I think that did the trick in his cool den, as the threatening seizure activity thankfully never materialised.
It was an intense but rewarding day in school and one that helps me to feel involved in the future direction of the school. I do not only review candidates in terms of their fit with Joshua, but with other pupils that I am aware of who present in very different ways to him. But for today, it is back to my day job.