Over the last extraordinary days we have been rung by education journalists expecting us to opine on what Brexit will mean for education.
There is, of course, only one honest answer at present - "who knows?"
With uncertainty about every aspect of our future - not least about our governance, macro and micro - anyone who purports to be able to predict such matters is a mere pundit.
There is, however, one thing we can be sure about. If we are to go it alone in the big wide world of markets, commerce, negotiating and deal-making, we will need professionals of the highest calibre. We will need far-sighted, innovative and responsible employers; we will need creative, expert and energetic employees. We need a working environment that will not be afraid to take risks, experiment, invest and trust. Above all, we need world-beating skills and knowledge and the confidence to trust in our unique capacity for inventiveness and achievement.
George Osborne is cutting business taxes. In the longer term, this could, of course, help exports and GDP. In the short term, this could mean less money for the one thing that will help us survive the current crisis - education.
Whoever becomes our next leader and forms the next administration, education at all levels from primary to postgraduate, MUST be the first priority. Our future depends on it.
The Good Schools Guide Blog July 2016
Surviving the summer holidays with your SEN child
The summer holidays can be arduous for parents of special needs children. Claire Kingston from the Good Schools Guide SEN team has an emergency toolkit.
No school, different routines and round-the-clock care; parents of children with special needs are faced with their biggest challenge of the year when it comes to the six long weeks of summer. It’s no wonder that many parents fear how they are going to cope.
Dr Laura Cockburn, an educational psychologist at the National Autistic Society (NAS), encourages parents to ‘Learn to be your own psychologist’. Consider your child’s needs, consider your family. Then approach it like a business project.
Make a plan
- Get key family members together (children too if appropriate), and brainstorm some ideas together. Find out what everybody in your family wants to do, and, most importantly, what they like doing.
- Talk to teachers before they break up and replicate some school activities and/or routines (this will help with the transition back to school too).
- Plan some days with siblings, some days without, so that your other children get some attention, and the chance to do activities which may not be possible with your SEN child.
- Plan at least one activity a day, and if possible keep it local. Sometimes the best plans are the most simple; a bus ride, a walk to the park or playing in the garden. Don’t be too ambitious; it will be exhausting for everyone.
- This must be a multi-pronged plan that considers everyone, even you. Think what works at weekends, or what worked well last summer, and include it in your plan.
Do your research
First port of call is your council’s local offer website. Check out play schemes, like Jam Packed Summer in Halifax, where parents can book six days of activities including horse-riding, trampolining or trips to theme parks.
Investigate local groups on the National Autistic Society and Mencap websites. These offer opportunities to try out new activities like climbing or roller-skating with families in the same position, or to book your SEN child into supported sessions.
Network to find out what’s available in your area. Contact school parent support groups, sign up for newsletters and go to coffee mornings. Speak to friends and other parents; join forces for days out and set up play dates. read more
Meet the consultant
Below you will see an invitation to register for the Country Life Future Schools Fair on 16th July. The exhibitors and speakers will be of interest not just to expat parents who have returned to the UK to enjoy the summer, but to all parents who want to get a head start on future school choices. Setting the scene, Janita Clamp from The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants will be speaking on Saturday morning, answering parents' questions and explaining how the Good Schools Guide can help.
The Good Schools Guide invites you to the Country Life Future Schools Fair
Saturday 16th July 2016 Blue Fin Building, London SE1
Over 50 of the top UK boarding and international schools will be all in one place, all on the same day, open when they should be closed, waiting to talk to parents about their future school choices. This will be especially useful if you need to make some quick decisions.
Schools attending include:
Winchester, Oundle, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Marlborough College, Malvern School, ISL, ACS, TASIS, Rugby and Sevenoaks.
For a full list of schools go to: futureschoolsfair.com/schools-colleges
There are also free seminars hosted by some of the UK’s top schools to help parents with questions such as:
Move your child at 11, 13 or 16? Specialist 6th form?