School crisis as kids ‘don’t know how to use toilet, can’t SPEAK & don’t understand English – with parents to blame’

SCHOOLS are having to deal with children who are not toilet trained and cannot communicate, according to reports.

Lantern Academy is located in one of the least well-off areas of Telford, Shropshire, and has 48% of pupils receiving free school meals.

PAStaff reportedly have to teach pupils a form of sign language (stock image)[/caption]

Of the 27 four-year-olds who attended Reception in September, eight came wearing nappies, and a six-year-old child, now in Year 1, is still not toilet trained, the BBC reports.

The school has had to provide potty training and develop “intimate care plans” to keep the children clean, reports say.

Michelle Skidmore is believed to be the 14th headteacher of Lantern Academy since 2016.

She said: “We have a number of children who struggle with basic communication.

“‘Can I go to the toilet? Can I have a drink?’ These are some of the basic sentences we have to teach our children to say.”

The children do not have learning disabilities and their parents speak English at home, but they still come to school unable to communicate, it is understood.

Staff have to teach them a simple form of sign language, Makaton, to communicate through the use of symbols, reports say.

There is said to be some overlap between the children who cannot talk and those who are not toilet trained.

One mother saod her son was late reaching all his milestones and had no interest in toilet training before going to school.

Ms Skidmore said: “For some people, the role of parenting has changed – 100%.”

The coronavirus pandemic saw mass closures of schools across the country while parents had to work from home – meaning the youngsters were not necessarily given the attention they needed.

Schools also found that the mental health of parents had suffered, at a time when services which supported struggling parents and allowed them to meet other people in similar situations were closing.

Ms Skidmore said her school, which discovered that some parents do not even know how to play with their children, now runs weekly classes to teach these skills.

She said: “I keep going back to that competition element – my child’s walking, my child’s no longer in nappies – those milestone moments, they’ve gone now because those parent and toddler groups, where you’d see all that, have gone,”

Parents are also now believed to be requesting that school welfare officers accompany them to medical appointments to help them fully understand any advice given.

The school used to be known as Queenswood Primary when it was run by the local authority.

It was renamed when it joined the Learning Community Trust, a local multi-academy trust, two years ago.

The trust oversees 7,000 pupils across 13 schools, with roughly 700 pupils – 10% of the total – being looked after at any given time by a team of welfare officers who work to support teachers and families.

Education takes a back seat amid rising costs

SIX in 10 parents would like to find ways to boost their child’s learning – but rising costs have seen education take a back seat, The Sun revealed in April.

A study, of 1,000 parents of children aged eight to 18, revealed 50% would have loved to have bought more revision materials or additional tutoring, but household budgets are too tight.

However, 31% have made savings elsewhere to pay for tutoring, but 44%think that’s also financially out of the question, with 53% worried their child’s potential may be lost.

While 38% try their best to boost engagement with DIY extracurricular learning at home.

Sean Hirons, co-founder of online tutoring brand MyEdSpace, which commissioned the research ahead of its Easter revision bootcamps, said: “It can be tricky to find an affordable way to engage your child in extra learning.

“And when it comes to the school break, it can provide a fantastic time for kids to recharge.

“However, it’s also an opportunity to take the time to assist with revision and strike a balance – but finding an engaging way to do so is key so it doesn’t feel like a chore.”

It also emerged that 68% would pay for private tutoring for their child were budget not an issue.

However, paying the bills, getting a weekly food shop and meeting mortgage payments were the main things in life which made such additional learning more difficult.

A third (34%) also revealed the thought that comes to mind when thinking of tutoring was to have a fully qualified teacher come to their home compared to only 15% thinking of online sessions.

And 26% had written off the idea of it for their child based on their own school memories.

One in six (17%) admit they don’t believe their kids are particularly engaged based on what they say when they come home, with 77% struggling to inspire them to revise at home.

Reward systems, goal setting and extra pocket money were the top ways parents have tried to help improve interest in home learning.

It also emerged 66% said their children use online learning materials to revise and 39% engage more with it, according to the OnePoll figures.

The flexibility, how interactive it is and the fact it’s a more visual way of learning helped according to their parents.

More than half (56%) of parents admit they’ve not yet thought about how they may look to boost their child’s revision over the Easter holidays, with 18% of those unable to afford to supplement it.

While 26% see the school holidays as a time for nothing but relaxing, 28% will look to strike a balance between chilling and learning.

For parents considering seeking extra learning support for their children, MyEdSpace has prepared a handy guide on how to get the most out of tutoring.

Sean Hirons, from the brand, which is running affordable virtual boot camps across the holidays for Maths, Biology, Chemistry and English, added: “The Easter holidays are nearly upon us and if your child is heading into exams this year, it may provide the perfect time to boost their learning.

“A rest in the break is very important, but it’s also important to keep learning ticking along with interactive methods that will help children to enjoy their learning.”

In other news, a child maintenance expert has revealed how to challenge an error and get it fixed to avoid overpaying.

Thousands of parents to start receiving extra free childcare from today with working parents of two-year-olds are now able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week.

Welfare officer Nikki Morrison has for two years been working with a 15-year-old boy who suffers from severe anxiety and has not attended a full day at school since April 2023.

The child said his anxiety was an issue in primary school but the Covid pandemic made it worse, as he missed most of Year 6 and Year 7, along with transition days into secondary school.

Charlton School, a secondary in Telford with more than 1,200 pupils, has a 92% attendance rate – close to the England average of 93%.

But the figure for those who are deemed persistently absent, meaning they attend less than 90% of the time, is 22%.

The England average for persistent absence is 21% – double the pre-pandemic figure.

Some children are met by a teacher or welfare officer in the car park and allowed to go home if they cannot deal with entering the premises, the BBC reports.

PA:Press AssociationA growing number of pupils are also reportedly showing signs of ADHD (stock image)[/caption]

There are limited timetables for those who do attend, with sometimes just two or three hours per day, reports say.

Pupils could also learn bushcraft skills during “forest school”, or be taken to a zoo to learn about caring for animals, it is understood.

Headteacher Andrew McNaughton said: “Our primary focus in this school is providing education. Unfortunately, for many students, we have to do a big piece of work to enable them to be able to access that.”

He added that the “challenges” the school face have increased, and being able to have support in place for students to attend in the first place can itself be challenging.

A growing number of pupils are also reportedly showing signs of autism, ADHD or other such conditions.

Mr McNaughton said that they can see waiting times of more than two years to get a formal diagnosis.

The trust told The Sun that the revelations reflect a national picture and are “not unique to our academies, Trust or communities”.

A spokesman said: “We are at the heart of our communities, and everything we do as a Trust is to work collaboratively, and support, our families and communities.”

PAThere is some overlap between children who cannot talk and those who are not toilet trained (stock image)[/caption]

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