I have never seen myself as a protester or a revolutionary, but I was both yesterday, and not only that, but I was encouraging other school parents to do the same. I have written recently about the CCG’s proposal to remove our school nurses by the end of this year, well , yesterday we held our first meeting of school parents to discuss the impact of this change and to discuss the measures that we could take to object.
Twelve of us met in the school meeting room, where I gave my reasons for objecting to the proposal by recalling Joshua’s time at his first special school where, every time he had a seizure, he was either bundled into an ambulance and taken to A&E or school called me to collect him and keep him off for 48 hours after a dose of his rescue medication. Joshua was very rarely at school and I was very rarely at work and it was a very difficult time in our lives to manage. I insisted that it would be a backward step to return to those dark days and the presence of the nursing team was our main motivation for choosing Joshua’s current school. I heard other similar stories from my fellow parents, about children who were rarely in school and about the reassurance that a nurse’s presence brings to our parents.
We agreed how we planned to object on an individual basis , through writing letters of objection to school leadership, to the CCG, to our health professionals and even to our MPs. But we also talked about collective action as a group of parents, alongside the other special school in the city that is under the same threat. We joked about chaining , or gluing, ourselves to the school gates in protest or picketing the offices of the CCG, but it may come to that, further down the line. We discussed involving local media to draw attention to the cause too. I was delighted that there was no lack of ideas and the energy just needed harnessing and directing into a plan of attack, and we need more parental support as the parent voice will be strong and loud on this topic.
Nobody was able to see any benefit from the proposed change at all, and so at least we were all objecting with a united voice. I was keen for our stories to be personalised: the powers that be should know the names and faces of the children who will be impacted by this move and should hear some of the horror stories, as this sounds like a Board room decision, without any real sense of the nurse’s typical school day and the range of activities that she gets involved in. These are medical decisions and procedures that she has trained for years to be able to perform, these cannot simply be taken on by unqualified teachers and teaching assistants. I would urge the managers who have made this decision to spend just one day in our special school to see how integral the nurse’s role is, how varied the calls on her time are and to see the range of health issues that our children are coping with in order to access their education, which is their right as children.
So we agreed, bring it on…..