I was fuming, inarticulate. And four days on, I am still feeling uncomfortable.
My inquisitive pre-schooler attends a five-day a week holiday playscheme this summer. She spent one of her happiest days there when she had the run of the place mostly for herself, and the company of some staff, together with the quiet environment, meant she was bursting with joy when I went to pick her up. And surely this is what should matter most?
But when you are a special needs mum, roses can only come with thorns. As the smiley teaching assistant informed, the rest of the children (and most staff) had gone on an outing to a local museum for most of the day. My child stayed in. She has gone to local museums other times with us; she travels by public transport and, with 1 to 1 supervision, her inquisitive nature means she enjoys this. And yet… we were never told about the outing, nor consulted on what we wanted her to do on that day.
I am afraid this is symptomatic of the way inclusion works in this country, often surrounded by fear, misconceptions, and issues to do with resources allocation. And we, as parents, are caught in a web of excuses in the grey area, bidding our time under statutory school age comes to rescue us, helping our child access the education she needs with no ifs and no buts. Because no child should be placed under a bell jar.