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The government has to take a long-term view over school exams

·5 min read
<p>The mental health of students needs to be considered when it comes to exams</p> (Getty Images)

The mental health of students needs to be considered when it comes to exams

(Getty Images)

Martin Luther King said wisely: "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."

I am hoping the government will listen to students as they consult on exams that they said were cancelled and which now perhaps are going ahead.

I am also hoping that the government will take a long-term view on public exams so that we have a visionary and just approach to these exams and those in years to come.

I am very much hoping that the government will start to put the mental health of students and parents at the heart of wise decision making.

Headteachers are merchants of hope. I live in hope.

Sarah Raffray,

Headteacher

Ealing

Schools out

The biggest risk from extending school opening to all pupils is not to the children themselves nor to their teachers. It is the wider transmission in the community through the families they live with and the grandparents or other carers involved in the school run and after-hours child care.

More imaginative solutions for preventing the spread of the virus within schools are irrelevant, as it is clear for all to see that a large number of children mingle freely with each other on their way to and from school.

Schools should not be fully opened until infection rates are low enough to allow effective tracking and tracing.

Mike Simpson

Address supplied

If children miss a whole year and have to retake it, no harm will come to them. What is the big worry about doing an extra year at school, it often happens to youngsters who fall ill.

If schools were just to shut until 21 September everyone would know the rules, there would be little risk of children bringing Covid-19 into the home, and they would all be in the same boat.

This would give the medical people time to assess the spread of this disease and its variants.

Ian Morris

Carters Clay

Katie Price and Harvey

Having supported two autistic sons through the process of gaining an Education and Health Care Plan and locating specialist school placements, I am a veteran of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (Send) system. I watched Katie Price's moving documentary, Harvey and Me, with keen interest.

The national Send system is chronically underfunded. There are too few specialist educational settings, and too few places within those schools, making competition for those places high.

Ultimately, the local authority wields the decision making power and local authority budget concerns play a role in decision making. Local authorities must seek to place a child or young person (CYP) within their local area and only fund out of area placements if local ones cannot meet the specified needs of that CYP. Harvey and Katie Price are still bound by these criteria and no doubt are in the midst of an agonising wait to learn whether their preferred placement will be offered to them.

However, I very much doubt that Katie and Harvey will be kept waiting for these decisions to be made. It took more than six months for my local authority to name a specialist school for my autistic son and I know of other families within my area who have waited even longer.

And what if Harvey is not offered his first choice of college? Well, Katie will need to appeal the decision via a tribunal just as everyone else would have to.

And so perhaps the delivery of specialist care and education is a true leveller that cuts across class, status and wealth? The system is just not good enough for any of us. The crux is that Katie's fears for the wrong placement causing irreparable mental health crises to her child is a worry that many parents of autistic children carry.

Alice Running

Address supplied

EU issues

In Boris Johnson's all new game of "Spot the Balls-up", can you answer this question?

Q. What is the difference between Johnson’s damaging, concocted row with the EU over diplomatic status for the EU ambassador as a diversion from his Brexit/covid/economic/schools (etc) catastrophes and Trump’s international wasps-nest-poking nonsense (e.g. the travel ban from Muslim-majority nations) to distract from his political failings and inadequacies?

A. None

Amanda Baker

Edinburgh

Those in need

May Bulman’s article on unaccompanied child refugees paints an extremely disappointing regard for those in desperate need of resettlement, especially children.

The report brought to light that again ministers use cheap talk, rhetoric and obfuscation to deflect our attention. Once again the uncaring nature of this government is an appalling affront on the British people.

For instance, the immigration minister, Chris Philip, seems to have contracted the same knack of not answering the question that Boris Johnson is afflicted with. His statements somehow have a very hollow sound.

Mr Philip states that Britain “... has been the top resettlement country in Europe for the past five years”. Who can independently verify that statement?

As with other facets of this government’s incompetence it is the weakest that suffer the most. To the desperate refugees, unnecessary Covid-19 deaths, hungry school children, haulage companies, small businesses, etc

I say write to your local MP informing them of how you are suffering, it may make a difference to your future.

Change only occurs if change is actively sought.

Keith Poole

Basingstoke

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