Today is Hannah's last day at IST although she has got the chicken pox so has not been at school since Monday. I filled in the parent feedback form today that came with the school report and decided that I would blog my response and so here it is.
Overall I believe that Hannah has had a positive year at IST. She is working well in the classroom with the TA, has enjoyed going on school trips, was in the team that came second on sports day, has preformed beautifully in the Christmas and summer shows and has socially integrated successfully. In the summer term since she has been working with the new TA she has been meeting her work expectations from the NZ correspondence school and I have been able to post work back to regularly to NZ.
The things that have held Hannah back from further achievement are the unrealistic expectations of Hannah to be working at a year 5 level as well as the refusal for Hannah to be able to stay at School at lunchtime. There seems to be a lack of empathy and understanding for Hannah and her disability that I can not understand. Hannah has been treated differently from her peers and yet no allowances for her disability have been made. The TA has shown that with realistic expectations and a positive attitude then Hannah can be fully included and progress. The classroom teacher has worked well with Hannah this term and Hannah enjoys being part of the class, although I believe that managerial restrictions placed on Hannah and the teacher have restricted further development.
We have been very disappointed by the attitude of management towards Hannah and the inability to be flexible in regards to her disability. We are still at a loss as to why Hannah has had her place withdrawn for the 2013/2014 year especially in light of the fact that the special needs policy has been changed to appear more inclusive. Also, as another special needs teacher has been employed the issue of resourcing is no longer relevant.
We realise that Hannah will not be working at a Year 6 level next year but any good teacher should be able to differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of the pupils. I am positive that given the chance both of the year 6 teachers would easily be able to cater for Hannah's needs within their programmes.
When the TA went to the school before she started working with Hannah she was told by the managerial staff that met her that they wouldn't be accepting any more children like that (referring to Hannah) ever again. This is such a disappointing attitude and very upsetting to hear especially when IST is the only English speaking school in Toulouse and the logical choice for expat families who have a child with a disability.
Our desire for Hannah is for her to be nurtured and appreciated for the wonderful person she is. This has been done by many of the teaching staff at IST but unless their is an attitudinal change within management towards children with disabilities then there is going to be continual failure of inclusion.
So that is my last rant to IST. I have done a few now and they have all fallen on deaf ears so I expect this one will too, but it is good to get alot of those thoughts and concerns off my chest!!
On the positive side, Hannah has been accepted into the CLIN (a class at a local primary school for non-French speakers). She will go mornings for a few months before being transferred into a ULIS(a unit for children with special needs but in a regular school). The teacher and Principal of the new school seem really lovely and her new teacher seems very happy to include her into the classroom. We are also now under the care of the French ministry of Education who are all lovely and are keen to help us in any way they can. I just need to be able to learn French a bit quicker so I can communicate more easily without having to use a translator. She won't start at the CLIN until they are able to find her a teacher aide which could take a few months but until then it is holidays and then I will home school her.
Well I better take her to say goodbye to her teacher and teacher aide and her friends.