Holyfuckingmackeral. It’s Statement of Special Educational Needs time again. The annual misery that is reading through some faux authoritative representation of LB and declaration of his ‘educational needs’. All bullshit really.
That’s a tiny bit harsh, I hear you mutter. So let me explain my position on this process.
The Statement (seven page document) is based on a series of reports listed in the Appendix. These reports are referred to throughout. So in the section on ‘learning’, for example, there is a sentence about the “complex nature of his difficulties”. Then the statement; “Details are set out in the Psychological and Educational Advice attached to the original statement”.
Well the eight reports supporting this statement were written in 1998. THIRTEEN years ago. When LB was three years old. Not even school age.
The original Statement of SEN is reviewed each year and if parents/education bods think it needs amending, it is amended. But as the original Statement remains in place, bits are added or taken away in a bodge job and each year, it becomes less and less meaningful.
And it’s all framed in a particular way, using a particular sort of language that enrages me because it is unnecessary.
Take Section 4: Placement;
LB attends xxxxx School, a special school for pupils with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties. The authority confirms that this is an appropriate placement.
Well, I think we’ve certainly got the point that this school is for kids who have some pretty shit-hot serious issues. But to sweeten it all, there is that word ‘special’ in there. Mmm. Back to the dictionary…
- distinguished by some unusual quality
- held in particular esteem
- readily distinguishable from others of the same category
- being other than the usual
- designed for a particular purpose or occasion
Well, I think we can ditch 2 outright, and while there may be a case for 1, I don’t think that’s the meaning that the Education Department attach to it. 3 doesn’t really work, so that leaves 4 and/or 5. So lets run with these definitions. ‘Special’ school means a school specifically for children who are outside of the ‘usual’.
So can we drop the severe, multiple and profound learning difficulties crap then?