It’s kind of hard to believe that this time next year Edith will be at school. Being born in February is actually a great advantage for her as it means she will almost be five when she starts school, this gives her a little extra time to develop before she starts full time education.
Before Edith got really poorly in April I had considered a nursery placement at both a special needs school and a mainstream school in addition to her Springboard placement. In order for Edith to attend the specialist nursery we needed to put in place what’s known as an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and although I hadn’t decided on which type of setting she would be attending yet, I started the process. The EHCP outlines Edith’s needs and helps a setting understand exactly what is needed for Edith to be able to have access to an education. The document is legal and if the school accepts Edith, they have to adhere to it. This is a more useful tool for when she starts school but I was advised that there was no harm in having one in place anyway. After visiting both settings, I felt the mainstream nursery was the right choice for Edith and put her name down. Edith fell ill in the April after being offered a place at the mainstream nursery. This was a real set back for her health wise, and as you know that visit led to Edith having to be tube fed. After seeing Edith in such a bad way because of a cold, I took the decision to withdraw her name for the mainstream nursery. We had missed the boat for the specialist nursery, so it was decided that Edith would stay another year just at Springboard. As the last weeks of the term went by, it became evident that a lot of the children that Edith attended Springboard with were moving on and doing split placements in September; I felt sorry for Edith and wondered if there was something more I could have done. The last day of term arrived and I felt incredibly sad, like everyone but Edith had moved forward and had exciting things ahead. It’s not that I felt disappointed that she was heading back to Springboard, just that it was the only place she was heading. Needless to say I had a little tear that day.
New term, new feelings.
As September 2017 arrived I felt nervous for what the next ‘school’ year would hold. Who would be in the playroom with Edith and would that overwhelming feeling of being lost, still be there. It wasn’t. It soon became apparent that it was the same people, the same routine and the same familiar Springboard faces – It felt comfortable, it felt good.
As the October half term approached I spotted a notice in the Springboard foyer, inviting parents to a ‘Moving onto School’ workshop. It was my understanding that even though we want Edith to attend a specialist school, we still must choose 3 mainstream settings as a place is not 100% guaranteed. The thought of this filled me with dread so I put our names down for the workshop in a hope it may give us a bit more insight as to what we need to do. We attended the workshop which was excellent and gave us all the information we needed. We do have to choose 3 schools and in addition to that we need to put the specialist school on the notes of our application and also on the EHCP. We have been advised to look around the schools with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordiantor). The school needs to be aware of exactly what Edith’s needs are and we intend to be as honest and frank as we can be to make sure the school can actually provide the expectation. I contacted a number of schools the next day and have arranged to have a look around two so far and in addition to this we are going to have another look around the specialist school. Hopefully I will manage to get in contact with a few more after the half term and will keep you posted on the decision we get next year!
When I was pregnant with Edith, one of my biggest visions was walking her to the school gates on that first day of term. In my dreams her hair is in pigtails and she is wearing shiny shoes and a pinafore dress. I would stand in the playground with the other mums waiting to pick her up, and she would run out and throw her arms around my legs. On the walk home we would talk about all the lovely things she did that day. You never expect to have to forgo these ‘normal’ things and some days they are all that I can think about. If Edith gets into our desired school she will be picked up and dropped off by a minibus. Obviously this won’t be the walk to the school gates I have always dreamed of but my little girl will be off to school none-the-less and that first day of school will be like her, unique!