Friday, 26 August 2016

The Highs and Lows Of Parenting Part Two!

There is no other way to describe today other than a nightmare I want to wake up from!
It should have been a straightforward morning with a celebratory afternoon for Teen Two.
For two years plus I have researched, planned, attended countless meetings and prepared Teen Two for his move up to college.
We were encouraged onto a course, which frankly I didn't think was going to be useful in the real world ( Creative Media) but went along with as he, like most Teens enjoys computer gaming etc.
We were assured the grades didn't matter and they were very used to SEN students in this group.
It was always a given he would need to take Maths and English again, being very unlikely to achieve the required C grade.
He has attended privately arranged taster days, we have been to meetings with the college SEN, had dialogue just last week, been in consultation with the Local Authority, the college is named on the EHCP...and yet today....part way through enrolment it was apparent from a distance there was a problem.
So I joined myself to the little huddle of college staff and introduced myself as the parent and asked if there was a problem.
Well...yes...there was a problem...would we come to the Deputy's office.
We were told very matter of factly he could not get on the Creative Media course ( cue inner panic from Teen Two and that "scared" look only a mother can see)
Not only that....there were NO courses on offer as he did not meet the required entry grades.
(Cue inner panic from mum, trying desperately not to show that "scared" look only a son can see!)
Hang on....haven't we been in conversation with the SEN dept
Isn't the college named on the EHCP
Didn't that man over there ( pointing to him as he conveniently walked passed) tell me it wouldn't matter what grades he had, with the Statement  (now EHCP) they could find a suitable course for him
I could not convey strongly enough to the rather stunned deputy (in the gentlest of manners of course) that this could not be happening and we did not have a Plan B!
Teen Two by now was close to tears and I felt it unfair to carry on the conversation with him present so suggested he wait outside...which must have been awful for him.
I was at least able to speak openly that way and I think the Deputy realised that someone somewhere along the line...and it may be him...has made a big mistake!
He spoke with Teen Two afterwards in a very kind way and is going to see what can be worked out.
Without the SEN team available he was really unable to comment, he could only go by the black and white rules he has to work with.
It was not the morning we were expecting and to say I feel let down, not for the first time by the "System" is an understatement.
How can so many years of planning, go so wrong.
I now have a long wait until after the weekend to see what the SEN lady has to say.
A meeting has been arranged for the first week in Sept but I have asked for email dialogue before that, it wont be fair to have an open conversation with Teen Two there, we need to come up with a plan and then present it to him in the most positive way we can.
I hope the wifi in our cottage is reliable!
Having left the college and talked at length to Teen Two, explaining there had been some kind of mix up and he may not get on the course, he is fine with that, so is quite positive again, I have not of course explained that his actual place at that college is now in the balance...I have that burden to carry myself until the bank holiday is over and the emails are picked up.
So, with Teen Two feeling more settled, we carried on with the promised treats
Firstly it was  a light sushi lunch...his favourite....
...then it was off to the cinema to see "Pete's Dragon"
what a great film...but so emotional...or was it just my current state of mind!
Then after cleaning at church, there was just enough time to go to Wildwood Restaurant and be in time for their £10 meal deal.
I had Florentina pizza...egg on pizza sounded strange...but it was delicious...
...but it was way too big for me to I brought almost half of it home..and this was after Teen Two and Hubby had a slice!
We ended the evening with a lovely stroll round the Marina, bagging myself some bargain sandalls in Pavers...50% off followed by an additional 20% off!
Since coming home I have spent the evening checking through emails and paperwork making sure I could back up what I had said at the meeting today and checking there was never any proviso on Teen Two's place....and it would appear I have not got it all wrong...either the left hand does not know what the right hand is talking about, or someone at college has made a massive error, and we now have to pick up the pieces somehow.
It really has been a "low" day with very little "high" involved.
I have gone through the motions to keep up the spirits of Teen Two, he really did not deserve all that stress this morning and I am sorry he had to be present, in all honesty it should not have happened that way.
Friday August 26, 2016
Today's Proverb:
   A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.


  1. I just don't have any words that would make sense of this. It is an appalling situation which is very difficult to understand!! As far as I understand things, teen two has to be in education at least until he is 18. so what are they suggesting? I do hope there is some communication between all parties concerned very very soon. Xxxxxxx

  2. Firstly what do you have in writing and where do they say what their entry criteria is for each course? What level is the Creative Media course and is there a lower level that Teen two can do? Around here it is becoming usual for a Level 3 course to require grade B's at GCSE but I am not aware what entry criteria there is for Level 1 and 2 courses. Unless it is some form of A level college, I cannot believe that they do not run any courses suitable for Teen 2's entry grades! My gut feeling is that the course is over subscribed so they are trying to cherry pick their students. Legally I thought that the statement overrode this sort of situation and I would kick up a real stink. I would also see what else is out there to have a back up plan - if you had qualms about the course in the first place then, two years down the line, is it still the right one and will teen 2's experience taint this for them? Get all your ducks lined up in a row and go in to battle - someone, somewhere has made a big mistake - perhaps the paper (or threat of going publically at least) might like to know!

    1. Thanks for the advice. Nothing in writing about the entry requirement being able to be worked around...they were conversations with the admissions officer on TWO occasions and the teacher of the course...who has now left! The deputy told me they had recently made the decision to not offer any level one courses! Well Teen Two's predictions are clear...he was never going to get C's so English and Maths was always going to be re sat.
      They no longer to level one on the creative media and its not a problem him not doing it, with him or us. We only went along with the idea( planted by school!) knowing the EHCP means he can be in education till he is 25, so we figured get that out of his system then concentrate on something more practical. So its not a problem, just an initial disappointment. The college is named on the EHCP so that must count for something. What I cant get over is, aside from the verbal assurances the grades would not matter, no one ever said, if you don't get the grades these are your options.....a b or c...but nothing has been said, its all been building up to going here and the support that will be put in place ( not even an LSA to start with but we pushed for one and got a "discrete LSA" on the EHCP. Have checked some courses at other colleges and all vocational ones are saying E's. The special needs courses are for students from the severe end of the wont be suitable for Teen Two. It looks at the moment like we are falling into a big black hole in the education system! I just cant believe after all this planning and the conversations and consultations that it has seemingly gone so wrong!
      Am eager for Tuesday to come and the emails to start flying!

    2. were the LA involved in the EHCP and can they get involved? Are there other practical courses on offer in your area? I was talking yesterday to someone who's brother works for a gaming company and they said that they don't worry about qualifications - they want people whose attention is so detailed that they can spot something being a few mm off - they suggested a gaming artist course if such a thing exists in your area - our local college runs one. Where do young people go in your area to resist Level 1 courses if they don't get the grades? Would Teen 2's school have him back for a year - perhaps part time, to sit a few courses and get up to the Grade E required? Just a few thoughts.

  3. Is it Portsmouth College? Looking at the entry criteria the sticking point would seem to be a Grade E in English - they don't want a grade in Maths and say that a gcse in art would be preferable. Couldn't Teen 2 do an English resit - alongside the Level 2 BTEC course?