You may have noticed a lack in blogging recently, but I haven’t felt the need to blog so didn’t. What is the point of blogging when i have nothing to say?
Any way now I feel I have, but it is a bit mixed up, so may take a while to get it all sorted.
Firstly I want to discuss education. There are many aspects to education from differentiation due to age, different topics of study and different levels of achievement, not to mention differentiation in the classroom and competition in sports. I will try to keep this organised as I write.
I strongly believe that as people who enter the world of teaching as a career they go through the learning process, taking around 4 years (I may be wrong in this, I am not a school teacher). People are taught how to teach. They look at paradigms and learning strategies, learning styles, teaching ethos, how to plan lessons and deliver them according to a structure someone else designed and found to work. teachers work really hard and have a lot to cope with both in the classroom, with families and with pressures of paperwork, recording progress, planning, meetings, school expectations and systems, OFSTED regulations etc. They do work really hard and continue to smile throughout. Now I get to my moan! Although they work hard they are taught to teach children who fall into a range of normal development, for all of the children who develop out of the normal range, either too fast or too slow, most teachers in mainstream schools have difficulty understanding, coping and planning for these children. I recognise this is difficult and at times a extra challenge on top of their already busy schedule of work, but they have entered a profession which aims to help others learn and have a quality of life and education. They need to recognise the differences early and understand the needs of the individuals; is the behaviour due to being bored, wanting to cause disruption, not understanding, not being able to cope with the environment, do they have a processing difficulty or sensory impairment that hasn’t been identified or do they have a condition that controls their behaviour as opposed to being purposefully disruptive? There are many reasons for a child to be disruptive and the teachers need to understand or at least have an awareness of them all if they are to teach them successfully. Once a child has an IEP or similar and maybe even a diagnosis of a condition that is affecting their behaviour, the teachers need to write the IEP based on the child and not their expectations of the child as if he/she will develop within the normal range for his/her age. Teachers should be considering the child’s abilities and putting in realistic targets based on an understanding of the condition as well as the child. So although teacher do a great job, they need to try harder to meet the needs of all children not just those who fall into a developmental norm. This is not always the teachers or schools fault, but as the Government pushed for more inclusive learning, which I do agree with (to some degree), they need to ensure the staff and school are supported in their own learning to enable them to cope. Some schools do i brilliantly, some really struggle.
Now moving onto the social care sector. Again people here work really hard and have a lot to cope with, demands of CQC, management, families, health services, clients, behaviour, differing dietary needs and so on. To be a care worker in this country today you need very few qualifications, in fact in some cases you don’t need any, although you do need to work towards a qualification during employment. So to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society you can walk into a job, ok so you have filled in the CRB form that says you are not a known criminal, key word there is ‘known’, you may be an offender but no body has found out yet so you go to work. You have no training so you don’t know what is right or wrong and take your lead from staff already working there. You may not agree with some practices, but as the new guy you feel it is not your place to question what is clearly normal practice. And so a culture of institutionalised bad practice and abuse is developed. This is not the fault of any one person, but many people are open to suffering and abuse because of it. Again this is not the case in all settings, but you can see how it happens. To avoid this the Government have a set of training course that employers must ensure all new employees undertake. First there is induction. This can be as short as one hour or morning or up to 12 weeks. As many small owner managed care settings are short on funding they arrange for the induction to be done internally, this is great for the internal practices, how to record, what the fire regulations are, knowing the hierarchy of staff, etc, but some of the more general information can be lost or seen as less important and to be covered later, later sometimes never comes! Then their is the statutory stuff, this is a legal requirement and has to be done by qualified trainers, most small care sector employers will do the minimum as it all costs money. The mandatory training is another area of concern for me and I have blogged about it previously. But when finances get tight the first area to suffer is training, this is a bad thing, as with out correct training staff make mistakes which leads to accidents and incidents causing more works for both care staff and managers, as they are doing this extra work there are fewer people to support the clients, leading to even more incidents. So please do not cut training budgets, they are important and will in time save you time and money.
Now I come to a point that binds the previous two sections together. Currently in mainstream education there are many children and young adults with special needs. In the special education sector there are many children with exceptional special needs many will be profound and multiple, but they are well cared for and educated to their level by excellent staff teams. When they are not at school they are cared for by their parents at home, parents are there to give them 24hr care, medication, take them to appointments, etc. Fantastic people doing a great job, caring for their children in very difficult circumstances. As the children leaves school family is continuing to care for them and find suitable activities for them to attend to during the day, maybe college or other training facility or an arts centre or something. Over the next 10- 15 yrs I expect to see a lot of these children, now adults, needing to go into full time residential care as their parents are just too old or unable to cope any longer. Where can they go? If their parents found it difficult to cope when they were children they would go to a suitable care centre designed to meet their needs with people of a similar age. Previously people with disabilities had the option of living independently in their own home where an agency provided the level of care needed. This is becoming more difficult as housing is not available so unless there is a change in housing policy or a Government intervention in the next few years there will be one option available to people who have been care for by family for 40+ years, they will need to go into elderly care centres/homes. Too young for elderly care but unable to live independently. The care sector as it currently is has little if any awareness of some of the conditions these people live with and training will be required sooner rather than later. Many care homes have difficulty coping with the behaviours associated with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, add in the difficulties facing those with ASD and who knows what forms of intentional and non intentional abuse they will suffer.
I do not know the answer, but training is one aspect, funding is another and housing is another, all of these need to work together along with the service providers and Government bodies to be able to ensure the safety of the vulnerable people in our society. Every person deserves to be safe where they live.