by nigelbennett on 8 July, 2015
Conservative run Suffolk County Council are threatening to remove the teacher to sick children on Rainbow ward at the West Suffolk Hospital.
The post has already been “deleted” and that the teacher is not there anymore – and has apparently been directed to work elsewhere.
Yet no formal decision has been announced, internally or externally: so it has not been open to scrutiny.
There has been no consultation with teaching staff, ward staff, parents or the public.
It appears to be not thought through, not transparent and detrimental to sick children.
First, because the teaching post involves a multiplicity of functions.
Teaching children generally. Helping children with specific school/exam work. Liaising with schools.
An important non-medical voice/presence on the ward. Stimulation and diversion for children in stressful circumstances.
Help with reading, advice to parents. Providing continuity for children generally. And for children with long term conditions who stay on the ward regularly.
Second, Suffolk CC would propose sending in different, peripatetic or zero hours teachers randomly, and only for those children staying longer (15 days or more).
Suffolk appears not to have considered the implications of doing this.
It would deprive shorter stay children of any input. And for longer term children, continuity (because of different teachers) would be lost.
Furthermore, the specialism and expertise of a dedicated post would disappear.
Likewise expertise in teaching sick children. Knowing how the ward works, familiarity with the ward team etc.
Reliability and instant availability of random teachers – when a child reaches 15 days – would also be a problem.
The peripatetic teacher may arrive for a specified time – but run into medical priorities – and then have to leave, without teaching.
In addition, for each teacher used, a separate CRB check is needed for work in the hospital – and a separate contract/agreement with WSH.
Hospitals such as Colchester and Ipswich have full time teachers on the children’s wards.
Suffolk CC have already cut the WSH post to the bone, by reducing the Rainbow post to half time (0.5wte), 2 or 3 years ago.
This is a cut too far by Suffolk CC.
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