Education: `You don't know where to turn'

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The Independent Online
Parents who have seen their children's learning suffer in the climate of disarray which affects schooling in Hackney yesterday condemned the local education authority for presiding over "a complete mess".

Theresa Bruce, who has two children at Burbage Primary School in Hoxton in the east London borough, felt that they were being badly served and welcomed any measures the Government might take to resolve the crisis.

She felt lack of resources was partly to blame, but lack of adequate management was seen as the main problem.

She said: "The situation at present is a mess. A complete mess. As parents we feel quite helpless. We don't want to have to send our kids to other schools and so anything that can be done to improve things would be welcomed by everybody.All us parents care about is making sure our kids get a good education."

Like many of the children at the school, her seven-year-old son Mark has special needs which she feels are not being adequately catered for at present.

She said: "Mark has special difficulty in learning and could really benefit from more one-to-one help, but the authority is just too starved of resources and the teachers do not have enough training to deal with him.

"A high percentage of the children at the school have some kind of special needs problem, whether it is difficulty in learning to read and write or an emotional problem. The authority should be able to cater for them but not enough of the teachers have any training in social welfare.

"Schools do not even have enough staff to supervise the children's lunches and have to ask parents to come in and help."

Ms Bruce also claimed that there were problems with bullying , but said that when parents called on schools or the education authority to help, their pleas were largely ignored.

She said: "Sometimes you just don't know where to turn. A lot of the time parents turn to each other for the support they should be getting from the school. More should be done to involve parents and to keep them up-to-date with what is going on. All we ask is that our children's education is taken as seriously as they deserve."