Hayley gets left out of the school trip

Tiger Mother is furious when an upset 14-year-old moderately deaf Hayley, who also has autistic spectrum disorder, reports that the school trip she’d been looking forward to has gone ahead without her…

I’m having a fiercely déjà vu moment. And a fierce moment.

An email from Hayley popped up in my inbox, at midday. “Mum, it’s the school trip TODAY. I’m not on it – they’ve gone!!!”

Oh no. My heart plummeted, I wanted to cry. She’d been really looking forward to this trip to Brighton with one of her subject classes. I knew how upset she’d be, knowing her friends and classmates were off on a jolly that she should’ve been on. And she’d be mortified that she hadn’t remembered to be in the right place at the right time.

What I want to know is how can it happen – again?

The same thing happened to her in year 7 on her first secondary school trip. I was devastated for her then – she was so excited, only to be told her name wasn’t on the list, then left behind.

Back then, it was their payment system that was faulty. My payment wasn’t accepted for some reason, but a phone call home could have saved the day. Two minutes could have made a big difference to a very distraught girl who, instead of thinking of her school as a caring, inclusive one, will always remember that left-out feeling.

“How can they have left her behind?”

This time, there’s no question – she was paid up, booked on, permission forms ticked off. So how can they have left her behind? Couldn’t they have tried to find out why she wasn’t on the coach? She’d gone to morning registration, how hard could it be to go and check?

I think of Hayley missing out and it hurts. I phoned the head of year ready to vent my fury but, met with a voicemail greeting, I ineffectually left an upset message. Probably best there was no one there as my voice sounded suspiciously wobbly as I hung up.

Then I fired off an email, for all the good it’ll do, to the head of year and subject teacher. Could they not think about her deafness, ASD and general lack of ability to know where she should be and when? Wouldn’t it have been worthwhile sending a timely reminder in advance?

Hayley emails again, saying she’s now doing a disability awareness course instead of the trip, along with the rest of her year from other classes. The irony is not lost on me. If the school was more aware of disability, maybe they’d have taken more care to ensure Hayley was included!

“They made the decision to go without her”

P.S. Finally, I got a call from the teacher, apologising. They sent someone to look for Hayley, couldn’t find her and made the decision to go without her. Lucky it was a trip and not a fire…

The teacher said she hadn’t known about Hayley’s problems other than her deafness. What?! Didn’t the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) brief her? Ah yes, she said, she had some notes but she’d only skim-read them as there were so many children with SEN issues in the school. She apologised, promising she’ll make sure it won’t happen again.

Where have I heard that before?

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