Zak did return to School today, with an opening sentence to send chills down any spine, “I drank coffee for the first time today!” He’d been to visit his Secondary School, which in typical Zak-style was bigger and better than anything at his current School. This was questionable as there are only 27 pupils there, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He also suggested I get a job there, which was odd, as he spends most of his time trying to escape from me. Maybe he meant I work there as a janitor.
It was difficult to avoid reminiscing about how far Zak had come today. We were all sat back together for his Annual Review, Caroline the Head Teacher, Roisin, Kate, his parents and I. With a translator in tow this time, the truth and nothing but the truth was given to Zak’s Mum and Dad. It was all for their benefit, as we each took it in turns to talk about his difficulties and improvements. Zak and I are covering percentages at the moment in Numeracy and I’d say it was a 90/10 split.
It was inevitably an uncomfortable experience for all concerned, although I doubt we said anything the parents weren’t expecting. No-show’s from representatives from his new School, a psychologist and a member of SCAN were evidence of why the system fails some kids. This would have been a perfect opportunity for all concerned to hear each other.
As temperatures soared, Zak and I looked for ladybirds in the School garden. “My mum asked me to apologise” was his only concession to the recent exclusion. “Was your childhood light or dark?” he asked me, while playing with the ladybird he’d christened Kevin. “Bit of both” I said. We could have continued to develop this, but were interrupted by a six-year-old boy singing ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ by LL Cool J.
Signs of the times were in evidence today. Firstly, the children performed ‘Yousuf and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’. I saw a mock marriage ceremony between two boys at playtime and when asked by one of the teachers how the King and Queen were chosen, one girl suggested “by audition?”