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Tanya’s* Education Story

Updated: Apr 27

Over the last few months we have been reaching into the community to find out how the last few years have affected you, and as we approach two years of living with Covid it is clear that it has affected our communities in so many ways.

Some of us have wanted to talk about those experiences though due to the repeated lockdowns we have been unable to find the right person to turn to.

We feel it is important not only to give communities a chance to talk through their experiences but also to give them a voice, so we have spent the last few months holding online support sessions, appealing for your stories and providing free catch-up sessions for school aged pupils.

Here is the second story in a series of blogs that we would like to share with you. We are learning about the needs of our community all of the time so welcome your feedback and suggestions for subjects we should include.

Tanya’s* Education Story

I have four boys aged from 6 to 13. I am a single parent.

My parents were from the Caribbean. My boys are very loveable and full of life with very different personalities.

My eldest is in year 8 and enjoys school. He is very studious and would rather read a book than do sports. I think this confused his teachers at first, but now they are very supportive and encouraging. He wants to be a doctor when he leaves school. I just hope I will be able to afford to send him to university. I am trying to save but with four growing boys there is always something that needs to be fixed or bought but we will find a way.

He has had issues at school with racism, but because he is liked by all the teachers, they deal with problems quickly and always let me know what has happened with a telephone call. I know that this is not the experience of my friends with children in other schools, so I realise how lucky I am.

He has been called names, but this stopped when the parents of the boys involved were called in and warned that their boys would be excluded if it did not stop. Parents do not want their children at home when they should be in school, so this is a very effective way of making sure they support the school. My son knows that if it happens again he must tell the teachers straight away.

I do wonder if the school would be as supportive if my son was not so well behaved and hard working. I worry about my younger children who are still in primary school.

The 10 year old is very energetic and finds it hard to concentrate. He gets angry if he feels someone has been racist and has been in a couple of fights in school because of this. I am always telling him to find a teacher when something happens, but he has a temper and finds it hard to do this. Then he is in trouble too.

I think sometimes the other children like to wind him up because they know he will always react. His teachers compare him to his older brother, and ask why he can’t be more like him, which does not help as this also makes him angry.

The school does try to deal with incidents fairly and understand that he has been provoked but they are right when they say fighting is not the answer. He is in year 6, so I am hoping that he feels he can talk to his teachers at secondary school. The youngest two are in 2 and year 4. They like their teachers and tell them if there is a problem, and it gets sorted out straight away.

I spend an hour every night with my three youngest hearing them read and helping them with homework. This is not always easy as I work and sometimes just want to go to bed myself once we have cleared the dinner things away. But I know that black boys do not do as well in school as other children so I am doing what I can to make sure my children keep up.

My older son at secondary school can cope without my help which is a good thing because I do not think I would understand his homework. His teachers are always happy to give him extra support if he needs it.

It was hard during lockdown, but the schools gave us laptops and I found ideas online on how to make learning fun. I think that doing well in their schoolwork helps them to feel better about themselves and more able to stand up for themselves.

*not real name/image

PDREC would like to give you the opportunity to share your experiences and any insights you have for coping during this difficult time. We will be sharing stories from community members and have started offering online support for a range of issues, including how to support your children.

Please check our Facebook page and our website for further information, or email us if you would like to share your experiences over the last few years.

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