Madrasa! The Arabic for school.
Schooling, the cement for our society was a top priority for our newly arrived family with 3 small children. It was July. A school was found. It was 3 tram stops away and a stiff walk up a steep hill. One of the children is in a wheelchair, Dad has his own lessons to attend, and Mum is expecting a baby in August. Really?
Surely this can’t be right? The local school 500m from the family home was full. Phones rang, emails zipped, heartfelt appeals made. Amy from the council intervened. The local school would take two of the children full time and offered part time to the child in the wheelchair until a place in a special school was sorted out. Well done all.
That was in July. The eldest child took to school like a duck to water. His outgoing nature and love of football helped. The youngest child, much more shy and reserved, feared the ‘Madrasa’. She had memories of one in the refugee camp. She confided, through an interpreter, that she liked her new school. ’No one smacks me there’. The child in the wheelchair beamed as she was greeted by the Arabic speaking teaching assistant.
Fast forward to March this year. The school routine is long established and the children have just come home. The eldest child is holding forth, ’Listen guys!’ he commands and then takes my guitar and performs a song about his love of chocolate cake, pizza, chips and X box! We cheer and applaud. Now the ’shy’ one emulates her brother, takes the guitar and sings ’Twinkle, twinkle Ringo star……..’ ( Who am I to correct her ?) We join in ,cheer and applaud. And you know they are going to be alright.
A special school place is still awaiting our beaming other child but they have all come so far. A bright future beckons.
By Pete Delamere