Hayley’s mock GCSE results are worrying

Hayley has learnt the results of her mock GCSEs and they’re not what she was hoping for…

Thursday evening after school

“Well I did good in some and, um, not great in others…” Hayley sounds overly bright as she hands me the slip of paper bearing her mock GCSE results.

A glance at her downcast face before scanning the results tells me I’m not going to be excited about what I see.

exam paper

She’s got a C for art, a Pass for a BTech subject and the rest range through E, G, a few Fs and for good measure, a U for Drama. This is bad. I didn’t think anyone got a U for Drama.

“Well done on the first two,” I reply equally overly brightly. “Still lots of work to be done but it’s good we know that at this stage so you can put the work in where it’s needed.”

Hayley’s very disappointed and knows that even though these grades don’t take account of her coursework, in which hopefully the grades are better, she’s still way off course. Success measured in five A–C grades may even be outside the realms of possibility for her now as I seem to recall a teacher saying it’s unlikely anyone could go up more than a grade at this stage.

Again I despair about the lack of support Hayley’s had over the years, not for want of me trying. Despite me banging on for years about how she is struggling, trying to get her assessed for an SEN statement, there’s never been the help she’s needed.

“She’ll be fine”, “just lacks confidence”… I’ve heard these phrases over and again, but the truth is that as well as her deafness, Hayley has various problems including word retrieval difficulties and slow processing skills.

So now my fears are materialising, but of course there’s no triumph in being right. Just fury and frustration at how Hayley’s been cheated of an equally flying start to her peers. The education system has badly let her down.

And understandably she’s become really quite demotivated, which isn’t going to help. It’s been creeping in during Year 11 as her subject teachers have heaped on the pressure make the huge leap to catch up to where she needs to be. She’s massively behind with her coursework, doesn’t understand a lot of what she’s being taught or set for homework – and is overwhelmed and beginning not to care.

“I’m rubbish, Miss hates me, she only cares about the A* students” is becoming a familiar refrain about every subject.
All we can do is keep trying to motivate her, get her working harder still and take full advantage of the sudden battalion of sixth-form mentors being wheeled out to help her with everything from maths to organising herself.

And there is some good news that’s cheered her up and hopefully will serve to inspire her. She had an interview for college where she’s applied to do a Diploma in Hospitality and Catering. They’ve made her a conditional offer on her getting five grade Cs but if she doesn’t make the grades they’ll take her on a lower level instead.

Still, a lot of hard work lies ahead over the coming months. Seatbelts fastened for a bumpy ride…

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?