31/08/2018 12:03 BST | Updated 31/08/2018 12:03 BST

An Open Letter To The School That Has So Helped My Son

As we approach the last year of my son’s primary education with you, I need you to know how I feel

Jade Charlton

Dear School,

As we approach the last year of my son’s primary education with you, I need you to know how I feel about this important year.

Not only is it Joseph’s last year at your school, it’s his last year in a mainstream setting. We made the decision jointly last year, that a specialist education would be more appropriate for him as he moves into Year 7. I’m thankful that you were part of that decision making process and I now have my fingers crossed that he will be accepted into the school of our choice.

You know about the struggles we had before your team started and when I say struggles, I really mean battles. Battles to ensure that Joseph had all of the same opportunities his peers had. A right to be included in not only after school activities but school trips and festivals also. It will always be very painful for me remembering him being excluded, even though Joseph was oblivious to the obvious.

I know that there will be a big focus for you all this year to prepare his classmates for their all important SATS tests, whilst Joseph will be taught at a much lower level. I want you to remember that although Joseph won’t be participating in that currciulum, he IS still learning and very much part of his class. What you will teach him this year will have just as much impact on him, if not more as he makes such a huge step to his new school and into the next phase of his life.

He will need nurturing and supporting whilst his friends prepare for their move to their own secondary school whilst he will make transition visits to a very different school. Your school, the teachers and his friends are all he has known for the last six years and this will take some getting used to for us all.

He won’t understand that everyone else will be going to a different school to him and it’s likely he will not want to visit his new school; I’m preparing myself for that. He is comfortable with his familiar surroundings and the people he has grown to love. Please don’t let his lack of full clarity over the change, fool you into thinking that he will cope ok. He’s usually receptive to minor changes but I’m expecting this to completely throw him as this will be a full change of routine and environment.

I am thrilled that he will experience those special events that the Year 6 children get to participate in and I’m relieved that we will close the doors at the same time as everyone else who he set out on this journey with. Joseph’s journey has been your journey too and I hope you reflect on everything you have achieved for him with an immense amount of pride. Without you, I’m certain it wouldn’t have been possible.

You’ve all given so much to provide Joseph the education he rightly deserves, but you have also shown him love, empathy, encouragement and shown others what inclusion really is. There have been occasions where we haven’t always agreed on the best route to take, but we’ve talked it through and I know we’ve both had Joseph’s best interests at heart.

This letter may be a little premature but by the end of the year it’s likely I’ll be too emotional to articulate all of this. There will be tears, but I’m sure they’ll be on all our parts but most definitely not Joseph’s. He hasn’t reached that level of emotion - yet.

Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance but equity is being asked to choose the music.

Thank you for allowing us to choose the music.