On Friday 12th December, two Learners from St Joseph’s Specialist School and College accompanied by Mary Fawcett, Principal, and Sarah Kennedy, Home School Link Worker, went on an expedition to The House of Lords to attend the launch of the Life at School Research Project hosted by Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England.
With great excitement and a very early start the entourage from St Joseph’s joined the morning commute to central London, arriving at The Palace of Westminster for the presentation. Mrs Fawcett said “St Joseph’s were delighted to be invited to take part in the research project, and it is a great privilege to bring some of our Learners to the launch.”
The research project talked to children with special educational needs and disabilities about their lives at school. Children with special educational needs and disabilities often do not have a say in decisions about whether to send them to a residential special school according to a report published today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (12.12.14). The report: “The views and experiences of children in residential special schools is based on children’s accounts of their lives in 17 residential schools for children with special needs.”
Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England said: “A decision to place a child away from home is momentous, and can be fraught with difficulty. How well families, and their children, are supported in this very difficult choice is uneven, and all too often time, energy and emotion-consuming when families and children are in long term testing and vulnerable situations. The bar needs to be raised.
We are clear that much more timely, sensitive and consistent support is needed. The decisions must be made with the child being placed and subject to formal and regular reviews which involve and engage the child. These matters lie at the heart of their rights.”
The report My life at school, a detailed account of the research undertaken with children can be found at http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications/content_910
Report and picture contributed by St Josephs Specialist School and College.