In my class there are: 33 children, one of whom is being ‘educated offsite’, 3 autistic children, 1 child with a hearing impairment, 1 child with a vision impairment, 1 child with microcephaly, 1 child with diabetes, 2 children with epilepsy, 1 child with a muscle wasting disease, 1 child with executive functioning difficulties and 1 child with Down’s Syndrome.
In my class there is a child currently managing their parents separating, a child with a younger sibling having cancer treatment, a child with a parent with alcoholism, a child with a parent with a long term illness and a child managing a difficult step brother.
In my class 1 child gets additional support. And the level of support that child requires means that there is no grouping children, there is no sharing of that support at all.
I need to be with one of the autistic children in my class for them to be able to focus to complete their work. If I ask one of my autistic children to complete any kind of imaginary work, they look at me with terror in their eyes. One of my autistic children panics whenever a bell rings.
The child in my class with diabetes needs support managing their condition. The child in my class with the muscle wasting disease cannot use the stairs. My classroom is upstairs. I have to remember to take medication with me whenever we go out of the classroom. I have to remember to photocopy things to A3 for my child with a vision impairment, I have to remember to give specific instructions to three of my children.
In my class (of 9 and 10 year olds) there are three children with a reading age of 6 years. One of my class can complete mental calculations quicker than me, three of my class are not confident with number bonds to 10.
Through all this, the Scottish Government expect 85% of children to be meeting age related expectations. And I really don’t know how I can do this.
I (and thousands of others) work really hard to ensure that every child in every class makes progress but it feels like education is on a precipice. We’re at a point where children are not meeting their potential because the support isn’t there. I cannot split myself in as many different ways as I need to split myself just to get some of my children to put pencil to paper, never mind achieve as much as they can.
It makes no sense to me not investing in education. It baffles me that governments cannot see the future harm they are doing to our country.
My class are wonderful and make me laugh every day. They make me notes that say ‘best teacher’ and they draw wonderful pictures for my wall displays. They support each other incredibly and (most of the time) work as hard as they can. They are interesting and enthusiastic and kind. My class, like all classes, are fab. And they deserve support.