I am breaking. I don’t know if I can fight anymore. I am tired. So tired I am struggling to function properly. My memory is going and I feel emotionally numb.
I was given some news today, and I should have felt enraged. I wanted to, I really did. But being angry takes energy and that is in very short supply.
We have been waiting to hear about Tink’s school place for September. Our first choice school rejected her without, I feel, even giving her a chance. Our second choice was sent the consultation paperwork at the start of April. I was told they’d have 15 days to respond. I heard nothing for a while, but the Easter holidays happened, so I believed I’d hear after that.
I was wrong. I found out, via Tink’s current head teacher, that the 15 days only began on the first day back after the holidays. April 24th. And that’s 15 working school days, so three weeks.
Those three weeks should have ended at the start of this week. Still no word from the Local Authority. Tink’s fabulous head, henceforth known as FH, called the department every single day in an attempt to speak to someone to find out what’s happening. The new lady, who took over Tink’s case on 24th April when she started her new job, was off, sick. Today, FH discovered that she is on annual leave next week. So, they’ve employed someone to fill a desperately urgent vacancy and, so far, she appears to have done… Zilch.
Our school SENCo invited us to a meeting this week. She wanted to send the LA a letter, asking, basically, what the hell they think they’re playing at, and wanted our input as to how it’s affecting our family. I cried. Less than I usually do at these meetings, but see above about the tiredness/lack of energy.
Amazingly, just 10 minutes after emailing them this letter of indignation, she had a phone call to say it had been received and would be actioned.
Of course, that was that for a day or two, until FH managed to speak to someone this afternoon. When I arrived to collect Tink, she was waiting for me.
“What do you know?” she asked me.
“Naff all,” I replied. Her face fell.
“Oh. So I get to be the bearer of bad news again?” she said, rolling her eyes.
And then told me that whilst we were happy in the knowledge that the 15 day consultation period had ended and a decision imminent, someone, somewhere had f***ed up (and I know where I’m placing my bets) and the paperwork hadn’t even been received by the school.
This was the bit when I know I should have felt really angry, and I did, somewhere deep inside, but I’m just so exhausted that I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to crumple in a heap and sob, but the tears just wouldn’t come, which is unusual for me.
Square one. Square f***ing one. We’re no further on than we were before Christmas when we first set these wheels in motion. All the stress, worry, sleepless nights spent anxiously thinking it all through in my head, and we’re still not moving anywhere.
I’m being told we need to fight this, and I know we do, but I can’t do it. I’m too broken right now. I don’t know what to do or where to begin. This is so wrong. It shouldn’t be this hard to get your child a shot at a decent education! How can other people’s ineptitude have such an effect on our lives? On Tink’s life. They seem to be forgetting (despite FH reminding them every day, seriously) that this child is at the centre of this and she is being failed.
I am so close to telling them to forget it, and that I’ll home school her. But I know that isn’t the best thing for Tink. Or me. So I must fight. I must drag myself back up, find some energy from somewhere and give them a battle.
FH called me again, later on, to say she’d spoken with the head of our second choice school, despite that not being proper protocol. She said she sounded lovely and, when she heard the story of what is happening, said that she would ignore paperwork for now and come out to see Tink in Nursery next week. She said she can’t make a proper judgment just by reading paperwork (take note, first choice school!) and she’ll be in a better position to decide after she’s seen Tink in action.
Obviously, it’s not a guarantee – she has several applications to look at and needs to ensure her school is right for the children and they are right for the school. However, it’s a tiny chink of light at the end of a very bleak tunnel, and I’ll take it.