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It has been an interesting few days!

10 days ago I launched Finding Common Ground as a website, email address and phone number (and some nice business cards as part of the website deal...!). I could clearly see the need for the project, but I had no idea whether anyone would want to use the service! The straight answer is that I have had plenty of people contacting me and lots of interesting discussions, both with parents and also with professionals who seem to think that this is a useful idea!

That is reassuring, but also slightly scary. Professionally and personally I have had hundreds of discussions with parents and families over the years, but this feels different.....

I shouldn't worry - the conversations with parents have been really, really interesting. As expected a large number of the discussions have been around anxiety and the problems that this causes with attendance and then the confrontational tone of much of the standard attendance communication from schools (most of which is provided by the DfE). The other recurring theme has been the willingness, or otherwise, of schools to make adjustments to provision for individual need - particularly if partial attendance at school is what is being recommended by the medical professionals as being in the child's best interests. What does education look like then? Schools are under huge pressure to have everyone in 100% of the time and why should they make an exception for a small number of students - and on whose say-so? The reliance of parents and schools on the SEND EHCP process as the way to address individual needs is also coming through - this is a topic for a later discussion I think.

So it has been a fascinating 10 days..... One overwhelming impression from all my conversations has been that people feel that someone is listening and, in some way, just listening and trying to understand is a really important thing to do..

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2 ความคิดเห็น

I’m sure you are immensely helpful to both sides of the table James. Your calm, yet assured manner, along with being an excellent listener will put people at ease from the outset. You have found a post retirement niche!

James Harris
James Harris
05 ต.ค. 2566

Thanks Pam - I am certainly almost always calm (not so sure about the "assured" bit....). Not retired (yet) - still teaching part-time so that I have current experience of schools to contribute to this project as well as (lots of) past experience.

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