Thursday, 24 May 2007

Every Child does Matter



The government flagship on education is that "every child matters" yes they do.

This week I returned to my favourite pre-school. Like many other mums, during my own children's pre-school years I struggled to find the right balance for my children whilst I was working. 7 out of 10 mums now work, possibly more.

After many false starts I finally found the right formula for my family. A community run, open door, affordable, fun, playing and learning environment that kept my children in their local community. The staff are hugely experienced and largely parents themselves. This pre-school also allowed me totally flexible 9-5 childcare by its links to the local out of school club. I became the chairman of the governing body and have seen how this pre-school allows parents to re-engage their professional skills in the workforce whilst having utter stability in their child's care.

Every year we have been brought children with "special needs". These were often children who, even aged 2-3 had already found other childcare environments had failed them. For example, Charlie who had two older siblings - both autistic. When he came to us he couldn't look another child in they eye, let alone play or interact - he was set on a dangerous rail track for his entire education. A year later Charlie was playing happily, chatting with friends. I have learnt that extra help at this age can redirect a child and set them up for life. I also learnt that every child can be educated at their own level - but not if one only relies on government funding,

I have also learnt that without amazing volunteers and staff these charities would fold. We've been fundraising for four years to build the children their own outside play space and garden.

We tick all the right boxes. Special needs, extended schools etc etc but everytime we are promised government money the goal posts move. The volunteers feel like giving up. We've built the garden but the funds promised for equipment and plants have not turned up. This week I cut the ribbon on an empty garden it could be so much better. We owe our children more than this. Come on!

3 comments:

MOTHER OF MANY said...

A fundraising idea, get your people to write to local businesses, councillors, organisations ,famous people and ask them if they want to off set their CO2 emmissions by giving you money for trees and plants. On your letter send them a photo of your garden and a link to a CO2 emissions calculator on the web.http://www.carbonneutral.com//calculators/index_shop_calculator.asp
Having a child in a special needs school I know how difficult it is to get funding for anything.

Vicky Ford said...

Excellent idea... Thank you. Though I'm not so sure that the carbon offsetting doesnt allow people an easy cop out from actually trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

I know that funding for on going costs (revenue) is even more difficult than funding for capital projects

Rachel Joyce said...

Good work Vicky. I found that the local nursery school with "wrap around" care was the best in the end for both of my children - one SEN, one not. They live on national lottery grants for subsidy so are always on a knife edge of funding.