I Genuinely wanted to write this blog post last week. In all honesty I am so angry that it has taken me this amount of time to put in to some sort of words how i feel. But I do not feel that words do this situation enough justice. Words cannot convey the utter heartbreak I felt when Jordan opened his GCSE results last Thursday.
Let me rewind to when Jordan was diagnosed with Autism. Before he did his GCSE exams!
After a lengthy, messy custody battle with Trish’s Ex husband Jordan finally after 2 years in his care, came back to live with us with no contact with the Ex (not his dad). Before you jump to conclusions, he did not have custody because we were bad parents. The long and short of it was he played his hand better than ours, he had more money. The homophobic judge and his barrister had a personal relationship and he is the sort of person who could talk himself out of a murder charge, that was until he was caught leaving the children alone at home (age 4 and 8) for extended periods of time.
During the period Jordan was with him (roughly 2 years), we had highlighted Jordan’s abnormal behaviour to the school, and also the doctors.
Referrals had been made prior to this when Jordan was a toddler, mainly for ADHD due to his challenging behaviours but no conclusion for was drawn except for 1 line of text which was missing from the bottom of the parents copy of his assessment which read “would recommend referral for Autism testing as displays clear markers”.
Jordan was never taken to any of the appointments which we had arranged and due to the court order restrictions we weren’t able to force his attendance.
Within 2 weeks of us having custody jordan was moved to a school closer to us, and the school called us in to talk about his “abnormal behaviours”. We agreed for a referral and eventually, unfortunately for jordan the diagnosis came around a week or so before he had finished Year 6 and began the transition to secondary school.
Because of the timing we asked the health professionals in charge or jordans diagnosis to recommend a school for him that could cater for children with similar behaviours. They recommended “The Marlowe Academy” in ramsgate. We arranged a meeting and staggered integration into the school and asked for the SEN team to arrange a meeting and work out an action plan for him moving over.
All went relatively well in the first year with minimum incidents except an incident of bullying which was dealt with completely inappropriately. Jordan was “Happy slapped” and the video was circulated throughout the school, his uniform was torn and to deal with the incident he was suspended pending investigation. Bare in mind that this child would not have said boo to a goose, the attack on him was completely unprovoked.
This was the beginning of a torrent of abuse towards him from the older children in the school. Calling him Dr Who, and telling him to get on his reTARDIS (tho that was a clever pun for an apish thug). Jordan was always questioned as to why these boys were doing this or what he had done to provoke them. The school were effectively blaming the victim instead of punishing the bullies. Their “boys will be boys” attitude meant the a once academic parallel student was now suffering not only abuse for his peers but the staff were no longer supporting him.
Our efforts to support him within school we in vein, the school would promise things to us and then as soon as we had left did the opposite.
When Jordan started at the school we asked for him to have an Statement of special educational needs completed. We were told that they would add him to the list and that he was already receiving what they had deemed satisfactory support in his lessons, even though his grades were on the rapid decline.
To add insult to injury teachers were not made aware that Jordan had special needs so he was often sent out for being disruptive.
I have to pause here and commend his support staff. Their hands were fully tied by the bureaucracy in the school, these people were afraid to lose their jobs.
Low and behold after the first year job cuts happened and Jordans support structure, and his safe haven fell apart.
The second year passed without major incident. We carried on pushing for a statement to be told that he was on list but his grades were satisfactory enough to not warrant any additional support. The bullying and abuse from students counted and staff continued to blame him for his own tormentors.
When Jordan moved into the third year in secondary school is where things went from bad to worse. ALL support staff were replaced.
The school had a major shake up and due to not having a statement his support was reduced to him relying on a TA who was in certain lessons to support all students, this was despite the school reassuring us that he would be getting 1-2-1 support in the lessons he was struggling in. They had LIED to us, on numerous occasions.
Do not think for a minute we are the type of people who would let them get away with this. I wrote complaint after complaint, i was refused access to the head teachers, they had had 4 since he was in year 7, heads of year wouldn’t take my calls, he had a different support member every week. It felt like we were going around in circles and so i tool to turning up and demanding i saw the head or head of year. I would sit in the reception for hours until they came for me.
Then the inevitable happened. A group of year 10 & 11 Boys set about him. They pinned him to the ground and drew on his face, the wiped mould yoghurt on him, on his face and clothes. He managed to struggle away. He ran and was cornered in the tennis courts, he tried to climb the fence which is around 12ft high, he got to the top and as he was climbing over the kicked the fence so hard that he fell, head first, to the concrete. His blazer sleeve snagged on the top and slowed his fall down but it was a great enough fall to do some damage. He managed to get away from them enough to call me and i intercepted him in reception (i don’t think i have ever driven that fast in my life, it took me 3 minutes to get there). He was distraught, he had become so upset he could not speak and the school SUSPENDED HIM as the boys who assaulted him were in the middle of completing their exams.
We were blocked from contacting any agencies and lulled into a false sense of comfort after speaking to the school. The boys were never reprimanded and nobody was pushed for their behaviours.
The next school year Jordan did what any sensible person would do and aligned himself with the people who he thought could protect him. The bully boys of his year group. He is responsible enough to not join in or condone these behaviours.
This didn’t have its own set of problems. I have had a few occasions where he has left the school grounds (and come home) and they school haven’t even realised the had left. I have had calls to tell me Jordan had detention for adverse behaviour, he wasn’t even on school grounds when the incidents had happened.
When he aligned himself with this group of people he was then left to his own devices, no statement, no support. Then his grades dramatically fell. School did not contact me about this. I contacted them when i noticed he wasn’t doing things his peers were, like writing CV’s or wanted to read. Jordan used to love to read, he read at age 15 when he was 10. He completed a complete set of Andy McNabb books by the time he had finished year 8. But now he was struggling.
School said they would put stuff in place but it emerged that when his behaviour became challenging the teachers didn’t adapt, they just sent him out.
The Variation and number of subjects were an issue and i suggested a reduced timetable which they refused.
Jump forward a year and Jordan was allowed to drop his option subjects, however he was made to pick up a language. The boy struggles to write a sentence in english let alone speak one in french!
A new head teacher took over at the beginning of the academic year and through jumping up and down enough a secured a meeting with him. I can honestly say that he was appalled by the schools previous behaviours and offered to get Jordan the support he needed by christmas. This didn’t happen and so i kicked off again. In term 6, after a long consultation with his teachers, the head, and head of supper school met with myself and we worked out a plan for Jordan.
They had admitted fault and i felt they were honestly trying to push Jordan forward so he wasn’t left behind. I was invited in to help jordan complete his BTEC Level 2 Sports coursework as the subject teachers had a gap in knowledge regarding one of the most common sports – Football. something that if you read my blog regularly enough you would know that i am qualified but he FA to coach and teach football. once his was complete i was then asked to return to aid the rest of this year group.
We agreed that despite his best efforts he wouldn’t obtain any passable grades in his core GCSE’s. But Jordan had been told on good authority that he had been entered into the HIGHER paper for Maths. Based on this we agreed to allow him to progress onto the level 3 sports, and i would work closely with him to provide the specialised support that he needs to retake his Core GCSE’s.
When he opened his GCSE results on Thursday they read:
English Literature U
English Language E
Sports BTEC L2P (PASS).
Because he got an E in maths the school have rescinded his offer to progress onto level 3 until he had a C in maths and english.
Personally, we have been preparing him to go back to a place which holds so much bad blood for him to complete his education, because they have left him with no options.
When we arrived at the school to get his results Trish and i waited in the foyer and let Jordan go and get his results alone. He had been having small meltdowns all morning and it was only fair that he was the first to see them. When he opened them he was GUTTED. to say the least.
Not only was he gutted but when we went to speak to the head of 6th from he sat there and chipped away at what hope Jordan had left.
I had been strong the whole time and i couldn’t cope any more, i cried. not in front of Jordan who had to walk away to avoid showing his emotion but in front of all of his key staff who had let him down. I walked away and left Trish dealing with it, despite me having the alpha role with the schools. I felt that despite my effort, i had let him down. I sat in the car and cried. I am not an outwards emotional person. I cry when people I know die, in private, I mourn alone.
I went to my car and i mourned for my son.
Because his life has now been marred forever because these people, the people who have been responsible for him have let him down. Because the people who were supposed to support him couldn’t be bothered. I mourn knowing that if they put as much effort in as i did, for the entirety of the time he spent at the school his future would be different. he would not be isolated, or lock himself away because he thinks he is dumb. He would be able to grow up and move out, become self sufficient. Had they have put in HALF THE EFFORT i had they would not have let him down.
So Next week he has to go to school and do a course that he doesn’t want to do, with staff who do not want him there. He has to go in and face adults who told him he was not good enough.
I wish i was as strong as him. I know he will walk in there with his head held high and try, he will try for me because I try for him.
I have asked the head that i have a permanent base within the school, so that i can provide the support he needs until such time that they can provide it for him (although i am not holding my breath).