School closure will have a detrimental effect on children's mental and academic wellbeing

Daniel Hill

Reporter:

Daniel Hill

Tuesday 24 May 2022 9:00

ONE parent who is extremely concerned regarding the prospect of Kingsmills Primary School closing down is Joyce Holmes, who currently has four children attending the school

Joyce believes that if teaching is discontinued by the Education Authority at Kingsmill, then this is going to have a “detrimental impact on the quality of education” that her children are going to receive.

“I have four children who are currently in attendance at Kingsmill in primary 2, 4,, 5 and 7.If the school does close, I believe that this is going to have an extremely detrimental impact on the quality of education that my children are going to receive.

“Speaking from personal experience I actually moved my children from one of the schools that they are now recommending to send them back to if and when Kingsmill does close. The school that I moved my children out did not administer the level of pastoral care that they are now receiving at Kingsmills. The smaller environment that is present at Kingsmill Primary school is more intimate and the level of pastoral care and education that my children receive at Kingsmill is second to none.

“On a more personal level, at Kingsmill primary school my children are not just a number, they are a person, whereas in a larger school setting you are just a number. I have noticed it myself that the mental and educational wellbeing of my children has improved since they moved to Kingsmill.”

Joyce believes that each of her children will face their own set of individual and idiosyncratic problems if Kingsmill primary is closed down, not in the least of which will be her son Matthew who is in Primary 2 and is on the Autism spectrum. Joyce believes that if Matthew is forced to leave Kingsmill Primary, where he currently receives one on one support from a Classroom Assistant, and go into a learning support unit, then he would regress and this would “take away the progress made with Matthew up until this point.”

“My youngest child Matthew has autism and he has a statement of additional needs. Kingsmill is all Matthew has known. We came across the school via a PTA toddler morning that they held every Friday and I would have taken him out to attend this. Matthew has always associated Kingsmill with fun and enjoyment. Even before he went to the school, he had this association with it.

“At Kingsmill Matthew receives one to one assistance in the classroom. This is more for personal care because academically Matthew is very capable and he has thrived. The fact that Matthew went from clinging to me in nursery school to running off up the lane to go to Kingsmill Primary after only having meet the teacher and his assistant the previous day on his first day at Kingsmills speaks volumes to the high quality of care and attention that the children receive at Kingsmill Primary.

“Whenever I mentioned to the representative of the Education Authority that Matthew had Autism at the last meeting held between the EA and parents, his face dropped. He then told us that special education would be in touch to discuss a suitable setting for Matthew. I personally believe that there is nowhere local that would be suitable for Matthew.

“I think that if he was put into a learning support unit then he would regress and this would take away the progress that we have made with Mattew up until this point. It is not that I am running down a learning support unit, but as Matthew's parent I chose mainstream education with an assistant and Matthew has shown that he is very capable of maintaining mainstream education with his assistant.

“What guarantee have I got that Matthew is going to get the same level of care that he has been in receipt of at Kingsmill in a School the Education Authority may propose to put him in?”

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