A mother who was attended by her son’s elementary school after failing to submit his thesis has criticized staff for feeling like a mother failing.
The woman had received a text message from the Manchester school telling her that members of the protection team would be visiting because they had not heard from her and had not sent in the boy’s homework.
She had until noon to answer Manchester Evening News reports.
The mother said she struggled to keep her “head above water” during the pandemic as she takes care of sons aged three and five at home and looks after her partner’s niece.
She said that she last sent work to Willows Primary School in Wythenshawe on January 13th.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, added that her son was taking classes for the next two days, but she did not send photos to the school as they had requested.
Because both boys celebrated their birthdays close together, the mother said domestic life was chaotic.
She said that the news of the school and the subsequent visit from the protection staff was a step too far.
“”[My son] He turned five on January 18 and his little brother turned three on January 19. So we were really busy, “she said.
“He has four hours a day to get through.
“That’s all as I try to keep my head above water, keep my house clean and tidy, entertain my three year old and home school with my five year old every four hours, and get my partner’s 16 year old niece to do her job .
“It’s very difficult and stressful.
“I felt so degraded that I felt like I was failing as a mother. I’m just trying my best.
“I take medication for depression and anxiety, so it didn’t help me in the least, especially when the security team showed up at my door yesterday afternoon to check on my child.
“I didn’t let them in because of Covid and my fear shot through the roof, when they left my front door, I closed the door and cried until my partner came home.”
With her son only just turning five, the mother said the school’s actions were extreme as he doesn’t have to be legally in school until September.
But the school said it did not apologize for checking out the students and their families, adding that it simply followed directions.
“They send an email with work every weekday,” said the 28-year-old mother.
The woman has to take the teenagers to school alone, as her partner works five days a week from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“They left a voicemail Thursday afternoon and said they would call back another time if I missed your call.
“They called back on Monday but left another voicemail saying I would receive a text.
“They called me back a few hours later and asked if I had any concerns about my five year old and if we were doing his job.
“I said ‘no, I have no concerns and we’ll do what we can if we can,’ she said that’s fine. Then they still showed up at my door yesterday.”
The mother said that she didn’t feel that the school was supporting her family.
“I don’t feel like support was offered just to take protective measures,” she said.
“I felt so depressed, like abandoning my children.”
During the last lockdown, schools were not legally required to offer distance learning to students.
This time it is different, and the Ministry of Education determines exactly what schools expect.
Sue Spiteri, executive director of The Willows Primary and CEO of the Children of Success Schools Trust, which runs it, said employees visiting the family did not know they had spoken to anyone at the school.
She stressed that the school was fulfilling its “legal obligation” to maintain communication with parents and to check the well-being of students.
“We take our responsibility for ensuring that children are safe and healthy very seriously and I do not apologize for that,” said Ms. Spiteri.
“We know it’s incredibly difficult for families right now and we are here to help them.”
Ms. Spiteri said the school stayed in touch with the parents and gave them phone numbers to call staff if they needed assistance.
In addition to home learning, support can come in the form of technology and food parcels.
“We have many families that we have supported in different ways,” she said.
“And if we can’t do it directly, we’ll mark them as signposts for working with partners in our community.”
The Trust supports nearly 1,000 students at The Willows and its other school, the Haveley Hey Community School.
Ms. Spiteri says that if the school cannot get in touch it is “legally obliged to make sure that the students are safe and healthy”.
“Our employees visited the house because they didn’t know at the time that the mother had spoken to the employees,” said Ms. Spiteri.
“When the mother said she had spoken to someone, they apologized and said, ‘We’re just doing a check as we haven’t heard from you and we haven’t received a job.’
“Our priority must be our children and we will do everything we can to support families and make sure they have everything they need.”
Ms. Spiteri has urged parents who may have trouble calling the school and sharing it, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
“It’s just about parents picking up the phone,” she said. “It might seem like a small question, it might be something that you’re not sure the school can help with, but just pick up the phone and ask how the schools are going to do whatever they can to offer support.”
According to the government’s updated guidance, distance learning “should be the same length as the core lessons students would receive in school, including both recorded or face-to-face lessons and time for students to complete assignments and assignments independently”.