Welcome to CEN
Two years ago, I advised our staff team to grab what they needed from the office and work from home – ‘but only for a short while…..’
That was March 2020.
We had no idea then how long we would be away from the office, that we wouldn’t be seeing some of our team again, and that we would actually never return to our little office by the Thames.
The uncertainty accompanying the past 2 years, sandwiched between Brexit and now a war has seen many changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed is how used we are to behaviours toward children at school which sink to ever lower depths.
No one could you have escaped hearing about Child Q - the state-sanctioned assault of a minor, enabled by a school which clearly abandoned its duty of care to that child.
For over two decades, CEN has been dealing with schools which apply excessively punitive measures in response to - often petty - misdemeanours to children of all ages who have become increasingly used to a heavy and intrusive policing of their communities.
But children have a right to expect schools to be different and to care for them.
And in Child Q’s case, her parents had a right to be informed that the school was involving police in the potential criminalisation of their child.
Schools are meant to work in partnership with parents in support of children’s learning and self-development - NOT in partnership with the police.
All appropriate measures should be taken to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury of abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s), or any other person who has the care of the child.
CEN stands in solidarity with Child Q, her family and every other child wrongly accused and unjustly treated whose life chances are ruined by schools every single week.
We pledge our support in their struggle for justice and their demands that schools end the criminalisation of young people. We ask that you support us and other organizations like CEN who represent children and parents in circumstances where they are voiceless.
Jenn Lewis and the CEN team
BOSSING it Bk2skl
We know that going back to or starting school can be a difficult time - for parents as well as children. So here are a few useful tips to help you and your young person to have a successful start to the new school year.
- Uniforms are a big thing (as sad as it is) - if they feel uncomfortable in what they are wearing, they won’t feel confident going in.
- Check lessons and encourage them to become familiar with the names of which teachers they will have for each subject. Talk about subjects they may not be comfortable or confident in or teachers they haven’t met and ask what they can do to get to know the topic or their teacher.
- Address travel issues: If it’s a new school, make sure the child knows the way. If required, take a walk the day before so they know are sure of the directions. Ensure they have a bus pass, and know a couple of routes to/from school
- Talk about home time (after school boundaries = straight home)
- Label clothes especially P.E kits
- Ensure packed lunches/ water bottles are prepped the night before
- Get uniforms/pe kits and bags ready the day before
- Get them back into routine –usual bedtime, dinner time etc
- Encourage them to make friends.
- Ensure if it is their first day that they feel safe. They will be ok, so reinforce the idea that it’s going to be a fun and exciting time.
- Make sure you set alarms with enough time to get up, have breakfast and get to school in good time, so you are not rushing and end up late
- Assist with uniform prep – have things ready the day before
- Sit down and get involved in homework regardless of age, participate by reading and problem solving with them - try and make learning fun!
- Be creative in encouraging your children to speak up, particularly if they are struggling and need extra help.
- Encourage them to speak about how their day was. Good, bad, what they did on the day etc.
- Be PRESENT! – Turn up to plays, events, sports day, parent’s evenings and to every meeting where your child is being discussed.
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- Jasmine Achiro, Admin Support Worker, CEN