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Who is Responsible for my Son?

education is self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon”

In a case that has been back and forth for over 2 years, the supreme court today ruled a parent to have acted unlawfully in removing his Daughter from school for a 7 day family holiday during term time.

Back in April 2015, Jon Platt took his Daughter out of school for the holiday, and against the School’s rules.  On his return he was awarded a £120 fine and refused to pay it, citing the fact that his Daughter had an above average attendance of over 90%, and therefore, he felt that she would not suffer as a consequence of taking that time away during term time.  The local authority did not agree and the subsequent legal battle began.  Over that time, Mr Platt has been steadfast in his decision not to pay the fine, and despite the matter being upheld in his favour twice, ultimately, the supreme court has ruled against him.

So what does this mean for parents across the UK?  It means that if we choose to state educate our children, as the majority do, we relinquish some of our rights as parents. Ofsted and the incessant pursuit of statistics dimishes our babes as mere numbers to be entered into graphs for the end of year reports for Governers and Councillors, Government Bodies and Politicians.  Travel companies will be rubbing their hands together in glee, already sitting on a gold mine given that they know exactly when the majority of families will be taking holidays, and that’s even if parents CAN take time together.

Looking at our own situation, Freddie’s school is closed for half term, Christmas, half term, Easter and the summer holidays – a total of 10 weeks, and between Johan and I, we accrue 9 weeks annual leave.  So not only does this not cover what we need, but we also can never take time off together as a family.  It’s never going to happen is it, unless we do something different.

Meanwhile, and I speak from having just yesterday talked with a passionate teacher friend of mine, the children and those who teach them suffer.  I sincerely hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her but her words moved me to tears:

It is so sad. The early years curriculum is actually a wonderful document- emphasisng the whole child, the need for play and exploration and physical development. Then children go to year one and all of that is stamped out immediately and it is all read,read,read,write,write,write.  No awe and wonder, no self led investigations where the teacher follows the childs interests like they do in (a good) early years class.

I have battled to change the way we teach- to add an element of play – at least significant periods of it – into their day – but it wont be changed.  It breaks my heart to see the same child I taught last year who was so full of beans, so tired looking and subdued sat at a desk.
I love being with children, it is my passion (and im fucking ace at it) but i hate the rest of teaching – the limitations, the paperwork, the meetings etc… I have NO life
My day between 8 and 3 with the children is amazing – the hours whizz by and i am filled with joy.  The hours of prep, between 7 am and 8 am and then from 3pm way into the night just zap all my energy and joy and time that should be spent enjoying people, my community, nature and learning new things for myself”
So as I read the outcome of todays ruling, and consider just who is in control of my Son; the local authority or us as his parents, and giving thought to the conversation with my friend, it just compels me more than ever to fight tooth and nail to create this fucking fantastic life for my Boy, where we as his parents take full responsibility for his upbringing, learning and whether he takes a holiday in October or May or whenever the hell he wants, because we, above anybody else on this planet, have his best interests at heart. Always.

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