Challenging the Flawed Education System: A Parent’s Journey to Advocate for Alternative Education for Neurodivergent Children

EOTAS at last May 2023, when this was originally written, EOTAS means education other than at school. It’s an England based educational provision for children who are unable to access education. The school setting is the package of education my son is going to now receive, or was in May 2023. I’ve thought many times about this post, about how to write it and what to say, not just in the last week or so, but for a much longer period of time. The education system is flawed. Not the teachers who work within it, because I think they are actually doing the best they can within a completely broken system that looks more like a glorified person then it does anything else. Some make it out unscathed, children, that is, but very few do. If we are completely honest. It doesn’t just harm the neurodivergent folk, it just harms them more than maybe it does their neurotypical counterparts. Maybe we are freer thinkers. Maybe we cannot be subdued in the same way. Maybe that is more a PDA thing than it is all neurodivergent folk. Shouldn’t that be a good thing?

Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes, the system. And by that I mean education, social care, you know, those systems that are created as a, look, the things are there. What are you complaining about type scenario. They are rarely neuroaffirming nor are they trauma informed. So often they blame the parents, the children or both. The reality is some children were never going to survive the education system without being psychologically harmed. I was one of those children and so is my son. He never enjoyed school. It is too prescriptive, too rule laden, too limited. It is boring and outdated. And it is only there to teach children how to comply, how to follow orders, get in line and basically grow up to fit robotically into our ever failing economy in a way that financially benefits society or the government, and that is just not remotely of interest to either of us.

I knew from almost his first day in school that he needed support, not that I was listen to. I did everything I could to get support in place. We had meetings. I pushed for referrals and for diagnosis as soon as I had enough evidence to back up my suspicion. Still, very little in the way of tangible support was ever provided. Instead, it was a parenting issue, a mom’s mental health issue, a if only there was discipline at home issue? I even put in a parental EHC application, which was refused, unfortunately. Send is kindly informed me that there was no point in appealing. So I didn’t. I wasn’t the unstoppable force back then that I am now. The things professionals have told me we would never get an EHCP. We did in 2019, having reapplied in 2018. He would never get into a specialist school. He just didn’t need one. He did get into a specialist school also in 2,019. They even told me that the specialist school I was aiming to get him into would never take him again. That is the very specialist school he went to. In 2,019, we were told one to one is never agreed at specialist schools. This was agreed at tribunal in 2,019. 2. We were told EOTAS isn’t for children like my son. And here is where I need to take a deep, a big, deep breath and say the following.

The tribunal agrees that it would be inappropriate for any part of Liam’s special educational provision in Section F to be made in any school, and based on the evidence before us about Liam supports that agreement between the parties and in the artist package. So here we are full circle.

Liam now has an education that he had a legal right to all along. One that educates and trains him while supporting his need for a child led interest based bespoke package of education. He is one of the lucky ones. Only it shouldn’t be that way. This shouldn’t be for the few. It should be for all those who need. It shouldn’t be only accessible to parents who know the law and legislation. The school based education system is broken. It is harming our children and it will continue to do that time and time again. We must stand up to them. We must find this, that strength within ourselves to fight for our children’s right to an education they can access and that they can thrive within. They deserve the gold standard.

But that is not what we are asking for. We’re not asking for the Rolls Royce of education in these tribunals. We are just asking for one our children can actually walk away with. Walk away from into their adult years without needing a lifetime of therapy, without cptsd and without various other psychiatric conditions as a response to being educated in the school system. How the is that the Rolls Royce of education to just ask for your child to just survive without significant. That can harm local authorities, government do better now.