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Supporting Children with Medical
and Mental Health Needs at School


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looking ahead

Towards the Light

It can be hard to see the light right now. There is a dark heavy feeling over the weeks, months, and possibly years ahead. Our schools are struggling with rising costs and increasing needs. Reports of shortfalls in budgets, staff recruitment issues, and increasing social problems have become the everyday business of all our schools.
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When the media show us instability, uncertainty and tragedy it can be hard to escape everyday reality. But we have to.

The work of schools is based on the future. Every single thing we do is to ensure there is the possibility of a bright future. We are always looking ahead, that is the very business of education. For most children and young people that future stretches out for years to come, but for some the future is limited.

So how can we deliver on this mission at a time of crisis? We could start by looking to nature; it is so central to our future and now under increasing significant risk - but maybe that is the very reason to take a look.

Looking outside right now the leaves are falling, hastened by the easterly gusts of wind, the branches will soon be undressed. There is confusion with some of the flowers, pots that looked over and ready for clearing away for winter have revived as rain together with higher-than-normal temperatures seem to have tricked them into a temporary spring. The last of the squash picked from the vegetable patch appear smaller than usual, a lack of summer rain perhaps? Still wonderfully rich in colour and taste though. The winner this year seems to be the apple and fig trees. Bumper crops with plenty to pickle, dry and freeze for the months ahead.

This brief wander round the immediate outdoor shows a world busy getting on and doing what it’s always done despite the ever increasing level of threat to its future from humankind. It’s adapting and changing and yes, its future is very uncertain but it seems focused on doing the best it can do right now. We reap the visual and material rewards of all that work.

So here perhaps, lies the light we need right now. We need to carry on doing what we have always done. Doing the best we can with what we have got. The outcomes will be different to last year and the year before but it doesn’t mean it is less or worse. It is just different.

What will be the same is our desire to do the very best for the children, young people and families we work with. The children and young people will have the same hopes and dreams as previous groups we have worked with. The fusion of the two will create the same inspiration and commitment that has always driven the work we do.

It is right we acknowledge the challenges ahead; we have to, as that is what keeps us rooted in reality. But like nature, the art of survival is adaptation, doing what we can with what we have got and doing it the very best way possible. The big difference between us and nature in the garden is our ability to actively participate in systems that influence and direct change.

The future is in our hands.



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HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe)