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Don’t Refer to Us as Ghost Kids: Vulnerable Families That Fear Their Children Going Back to School

Families with children who have serious medical conditions believe their needs are not being met in the rush to get kids back in the classroom.

Vulnerable families who are afraid to send their children back to class have objected to the name ‘ghost children’, saying they are ‘ghosts’ instead.

School Week spoke to six families whose parents or siblings of students have medical conditions that mean catching Covid can be fatal. Their story reveals how a sudden change in government policy to get all children back to school – despite Covid still raging – has left families with high health concerns feeling their needs are not being met.

Some say they are being “encouraged” or feel they have no choice but to take their child out of school to study at home – or put them to deep sleep. New figures show 1.6 million children were absent last year, with Robert Halfon, former chairman of the education select committee, describing students who left school rolls as ‘ghost children’.

So who do you think you are? The book week explores…

“We are punishing the families who have suffered greatly”

Lizzy* is worried about sending her nine-year-old daughter back to school in September 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak begins to rise. If he gets the virus, he may be left without a mother. Lizzy was one of the 2.2 million people told to protect themselves during the first lockdown and classified as “vulnerable and in hospital”. He was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2019. After the first lockdown, Lizzy requested that nine-year-old Claire* 에볼루션게이밍 be homeschooled instead, a request that was approved by her school.

It was called a leave book. But after two months, the school forced Claire to return. Fast forward to January this year and the family seems to have no choice but to remove Claire from the school roll and transfer to the school. Lizzy said, “It’s unreasonable and cruel, I can’t understand how we got into this situation.” “We reward sick children who come to school and punish families who have suffered enough from their illness.”

Two sons Dr. Lee-Anne Kohli has been out of school since fall 2020 as her son Peter* suffers from heart arrhythmia and is listed as clinically vulnerable. It cost the family more than £5,000 on private lessons.

Read: Ministers of Education Nick Gibb and Robert Halfon Are Back.

He says the Harris Church of England Academy in Warwickshire recommended that Peter be removed from the school board or face fines. Lee-Anne took 15-year-old Peter off the list that month, telling the school it was “mainly on the advice of his paediatrician”.

A school spokesman said it had taken a “compassionate approach” to support students returning from long-term stays and had a legal duty to follow the government’s immigration policy. Spirited Away’s brand is ‘so cute’
Lana Collie-James, 16, has only attended school for a few weeks since September 2020 because her mother Anna is suffering from pulmonary hypersensitivity pneumonia, for which she has to take immunosuppressants.

Lana taught herself for her GCSEs and is doing another year at university to get them

“It’s a lot of pressure for both of us, it’s scary,” Anna said. “I think the issue is the children who are haunted by ghosts. They’re not ghosts. They know why most of these kids aren’t there and it can be fixed very quickly.

Stacy Langford has spent thousands of dollars paying for her daughter Olivia’s homework, as she says she was sent too 카지노사이트 little homework for the past two years at Midfield Primary School, Bromley, Kent. Zhoe, her youngest daughter, has tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that affects her lungs.

“It’s the wrong situation to be in when we’re having the worst time of our lives,” he said. Lara Wong, the founder of Uncommon Family, said she was upset that schools were being given more priority than Covid, even though it continued to take a big toll. problems in the life and health of our members.

“Our children are not ‘ghosts’ but our families face the real risk of death; we see that this issue is very inconsistent.

The change in attendance puts schools in a difficult position

Executives have the power to issue licenses absent “extraordinary circumstances”. After a legal challenge in 2020, ministers said it could cover families who kept their children at home out of fear for their own health.

But that tone changed last year, when Nadhim Zahawi, who was the education secretary at the time, made stopping schooling one of his top priorities. His decision has caused a growing conflict between schools and vulnerable families, with no clear guidance on leaving those who were told last month to stay at home.

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Tim Marston, headteacher of a school in Leicester, said: ‘During this pandemic we appreciated how parents managed symptoms and kept children out of school, but now it’s polar.

“It’s hard to get angry and tell them to change their expectations coming in 12 months.”

Anna said the family faced a ‘constant battle’ to get a job at Glenmoor and Winton Academies, part of the United Learning Trust in Dorset, and was fined £60 for not attending.

But a spokeswoman for the trust told Schools Week it was following government guidance “at all times”. Stacy says that in March Bromley Council went so far as to ‘ask me to take her [Olivia] out for an hour a day to get her on the record’.

A spokesman for the Springfield Partnership Trust, which runs Midfield, said it works “in partnership with the whole family, we involve a number of different agencies, including health professionals”. The council said it will intervene if there is a conflict between families and can “raise a situation that undermines some of the concerns that may prevent a child from attending”.

Schools ‘rushed to increase attendance’

Wong said that although schools and councils have been urged to increase attendance, some have quietly encouraged parents to remove children from school rolls. A survey of 225 families in the support group found that 56% were told to consider pulling their child from school. Eighteen percent did. Furnival Chambers human rights lawyer Mark McDonald represents six vulnerable families who are facing non-participation proceedings.

Two cases were unsuccessful and four are ongoing. He said: “What I love is the lack of compassion from the government, local authorities and the courts regarding these issues.”

Support groups and charities say more children are missing including those with prolonged Covid, as well as young people whose mental health has been damaged during the pandemic. Dan Rosenberg, an education lawyer at Simpson Millar, suggested that executives can use their vacation rights more effectively.

“The saddest thing will be all the people who fall out of the system and don’t want it. They can be kept on the list and in the system when the problem can be solved during the disease. »

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said “schools are well aware of the issues they face” and have worked “hard to implement a range of safeguards”.

Almost double the number of students who are absent regularly

Absence figures from the Ministry of Education show that 1.6 million students (23.5%) were absent regularly during the autumn and spring sessions of the previous school year. This is something that costs 10% of the class, or 7 days per minute. This figure compares to 13% in the fall of 2020. The latest data from the Arbor Management System, which was shared with School Week, shows the number of students missing half of their classes in high school has doubled to 3.73% from 1 .68% in 2019.

The study is based on 1,500 schools that have used its method. Meanwhile, the number of home-schooled children increased by about 34% in 2020-21, according to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) annual survey.

A separate Exeter University survey of nearly 300 parents found that the lack of support for students missing school led to 7% saying their children were not enrolled in school. Researcher Kerrie Lissack said parents wanted to be ‘heard and not blamed’ during absences, as opposed to ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

In the meantime, school support-educational charities receive referrals from schools to help students return to the classroom. Follow-up requests – such as meetings, phone calls or visits – have doubled in one year.

“We need a system to keep children safe in school”

The ministry’s current work to improve attendance includes advising pilots and other advisers to help councils improve their support. Rachel de Souza, a childcare worker, said the new dashboard came to life – which is now used by thousands of schools – will help “make the right steps”. He also needed a “special and flexible detector” to get to know his attendees better. National registration of school-going children is part of school fees, whose future is uncertain.

But vulnerable families in hospitals say these policies won’t help them. They promote some form of hybrid education, HEPA filters in every classroom, and long-term investments in air conditioning.

A government spokesman said that schools are “the best places for children to be and last year we gave them 386,000 monitors for CO2 and other parameters, to help improve the atmosphere, with clear recommendations. Schools should conduct risk assessments for all students and have “soft conversations with students and families about their needs… Leaving it out is bad.