This coming week is the week in which we wave goodbye to the Year 11s. They’re mostly all sixteen now, and their formal academic education is almost over. Some will return to take GCSEs in English Language and Maths, but many will never be seen again, except perhaps as a news item, or a misplaced rumour.
I like to think that their two years at the centre [for some it’s less, it depends on when they get kicked out of mainstream school] have been beneficial in many ways. They’ve received the attention they’ve craved; formed successful relationships with adults in authority; worked in small classes, or one-to-one, to work towards fulfilling a potential that should have been fulfilled many moons ago. They’ve loved, lost, conquered, fought, watched Romeo & Juliet, been on team-building exercises, matured … they’ve enjoyed many things that kids who remain in mainstream education miss out on.
Narcissistic Boy has learnt that he can be friends with people his own age, and that they don’t care when he comes out of the closet. He’s been accepted. And he’ll build on that for his entire adult life. Pink Girl found the courage to dump her abusive boyfriend – and his mother – and return home to a mother who loves her. Tart With A Heart doesn’t need to have a joint every morning before school anymore. Although TomBoyNitGirl still lives with her abusive alcoholic father, she has rid herself of nits and discovered that her passion [oh-my-god-you-play-so-well] for playing the guitar can land her a place on a course in a college where no-one knows her name – a place where she can start afresh without the last ten years of school praying on her mind. Camp Kid doesn’t run around the corridors screaming his head off when he doesn’t get his own way, and The Boy With The Heroin Addicted Mother is actually likely to get a good grade at GCSE English.
You can keep your Must Get 10 A*s at GCSE So That I Can Go On And Achieve Five A Grades At A’Level And Go To Uni kids. I much prefer the Forgotten Kids. There are Forgotten Kids everywhere. They get neglected and ignored, swept under the carpet, left to fend for themselves. The lucky ones get taken out of mainstream and come to a place like ours which is more fitting for their needs. It’s just a shame that the unlucky ones have to stay where they are.
I’ve spent the last two academic years working with the twenty-plus students who are leaving us next Friday. Incidentally, two years is the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere.
Oh, and I dyed my hair Midnight Blue. Most of the bathroom is now Midnight Blue too. Yes, it’s just a trendy name for Black. And yes, I feel like a goth. Again. But it does look rather fandangly when cascading down my shoulders and onto my red top.
please God give me the wisdom to choose whether or not it is right to watch Lost tonight instead of Tuesday xxx Elsabeth