Four Lanes Summer Festival – This SATURDAY!

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Winklebury School Summer Fayre – Sat 17th June 2017

The fayre is Saturday 17th June 11am – 2pm and is to raise funds for the school.

We fund the exciting things like easter egg hunts, Christmas and leavers parties and this year we were able to donate towards technology as well!

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My Experience: Y1 Phonics Screening Check

This may or may not be a controversial post…

Miss NHM has her Y1 Phonics test next week. Apparently it is a 5-10 minute check of words that is done with a teacher that is “known” to her.

We haven’t done any preparation for the test. I’ve read all sorts of horror stories about parents who are hiring experts to “coach” their children for these tests. The parent Y1 Facebook group was all of a flurry during half term, with parents spending a couple of HOURS going through the “phonics workbooks” that were sent home at the end of term. (Workbooks for 6 year olds. Phonics for HOURS during half term. Seriously???!!!)

(My favourite bit on the facebook group is when parents post up the list of spellings for the week, because there is invariably some child who didn’t get their spellings that week, with their children’s answers next to them. All written perfectly of course.)

In the past week I’ve read LOTS of stuff about the Phonics test, what it involves and why it’s being done. I really don’t understand why the Department of Education feels the need to test 6 year olds on anything and that ANY child, under the age of 13 can be listed as having “failed” at anything. A great way to make the parents AND child feel like failures.

Anyway, my understanding is the reason for the phonics test is to try to increase the number of children who read?

I’m sorry, but am I missing something here? It seems obvious to me that the best way to get children to read is to switch off the TV and technology!!

Just switch off the TV!

Why do we insist on making things so complicated? Why do we have these overly complicated tests that cost a fortune to run, when we should be trusting teachers to do their jobs and parents to invest in their children by switching off the TV and encouraging them to read or listen to audio books?

Personally, I had never heard of a digraph or trigraph before Miss NHM’s homework a few weeks ago. I understand that teaching techniques have changed considerably since I was a child but if I’ve managed to get through THE WHOLE OF MY LIFE without knowing what a “trigraph” is, then why is it so important that it be drummed into my daughter?

Honestly, the more I see and experience about our current education system in the UK, the more I slap my head repeatedly.

Er, so maybe a bit controversial and maybe a bit ranty too but that’s the perk of having your own blog! 😀 😀 :-D.

I know you won’t hold back but what are your thoughts on the Y1 Phonics test?

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Basingstoke in Bloom

Basingstoke in Bloom are FREE gardening and Photography competitions open to all residents, businesses, associations, community groups and schools within Basingstoke & Deane Borough.

It has been run by volunteers since 2012, after the Council gave it up.

People can apply by post or on-line through the website. The website also holds more details about the competitions.

www.basingstokeinbloom.com

The closing date is 14th July 2017, with Schools closing date of 7th July 2017.

 

The Borough runs from Highclere to Stratfield Saye to Preston Candover to St Mary Bourne!

So we would like as many people, groups & businesses as possible to get involved!

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Cliddesden School Summer Fete – 10th June 2017

Cliddesden is a small village school, just outside Basingstoke, who rely on the goodwill of parents, and local companies for fundraising.

Their biggest fundraising event of the year is their annual Summer Fete & BBQ which will be held on Saturday 10th June 2017.

All proceeds from the Fete provide valuable additional resources and activities for the children.

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NHM Readers recommend what do do when your child doesn’t get the school of your choice

Last year I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for their positive comments about what they have learned and how to tackle the process when your child doesn’t get the school place that you wanted. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. Very apt, considering today is the day when the results come out for children starting this year in September…

NHM Readers Comments About Not Getting School Place

Tracey said:

So last year I didn’t get any of my 3 choices and stressed A LOT. But it did all work out and by end of May we had a place at our 2nd preference (which would now be our 1st preference). There will be a lot of movement between now and September and spaces do become available. Top tips are accept the place you’ve been given and speak to the schools you wanted directly to make sure you are put on their waiting list. You can also put in a late application for other schools.

Lorna said:

I haven’t been in this situation…yet! However through work I know it’s vital to get any appeals in as soon as possible with valid reasons for it. All are heard and the panel are generally very open to listening to reasons etc. Stay positive – there’s every chance it can be resolved.

Sue said:

We didn’t get our first choice school but in hindsight it has been the best thing. Our son has done amazingly well and has so much support.

Hayley said:

3 years ago we didn’t get our first choice and I was hugely disappointed. My little girl really needed stability as she was very anxious so I decided to go ahead and not fight the decision so we could start getting prepared and excited about her new school from the offset. Turns out that I was wrong in my original choices and we absolutely LOVE her school, couldn’t have been more perfect for her (apart from having to drive). Good luck to those who didn’t get 1st choices, whatever happens it will all work out in the end.

Rachel said:

When my son started school two years ago we didn’t get any of our choices, not one. Instead we were given a school that we hadn’t even heard of, was a drive away, that we hadn’t been to see or even looked at its website and we didn’t even know where it was at first! We went to see the school and met the headteacher and accepted that it was likely our son would go to that school (and a very nice school it was too). We also went on the waiting list for our school choices AND we made a late application to another school that we had liked but didn’t make our top three. 2 weeks before school started we were told that we had a place at the school we made a late application to and we took it! So it does show you that things can work out, even at the last minute.

Danielle said:

Two years ago, our daughter didn’t get any of our 3 choices. Offered another school. Applied for three others; late application. Got offered two of these at very good schools. Accepted one, visited it with her and then got a place at our original first choice (and only catchment) school at the end of May. I found the whole process stressful, but luckily for us it worked out.

Gina said:

My son 2 years ago didn’t get our first choice, I was disappointed. Now he’s in year 1 and doing so well. The school he did get are fab and he’s coming along great.

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A NHM Readers experience: Encopresis (Severe constipation in young children)

This is a really heartbreaking post that a NHM Reader has asked me to share with you.

Please, please, please DO NOT tag anyone on this post in Facebook or any other social media. Thank you for your understanding.

The Mum who has sent this to me has asked that if anyone else is dealing with the same situation to please contact me, NorthHantsMum@gmail.com, and I will put you in touch with her.

The Mum has also asked me to state that she is absolutely NOT a medical person and this is just an account of her experience, not in any way meant to provide medical advice.

If you have a unique parenting experience that you would like to share with other NHM Readers, in the hope that your experience might help others, please email me your text and pictures to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

What is encopresis?

Encopresis is a symptom of chronic constipation. Children do not know or understand the sensation of when they need to do a poo.

Potty training

When my daughter first used the potty for a poo, when she was 18 months old, she screamed the house down. I was warned that she may have a negative reaction to it because it can be a bit of a shock to a toddler, when they no longer poo in their nappy but actually feel the poo coming away from their bodies. We thought nothing of this but continued trying to potty train our daughter.

When my daughter turned 3.5 years old I started to worry as she was still having daily poo accidents at nursery (she attended nursery 2.5 days a week). Nursery started saying that I needed to try to potty train her in earnest, despite us having tried a number of times.

Realising things weren’t “right”

With 9 months to go before my daughter started school and shortly after my daughters fourth birthday, I got the health visitor involved. She came round and gave me lots of information, particularly about the eric.org website. We had some success, for example my daughter did her first poo in the toilet just after her fourth birthday. The Health Visitor came back a month later to see if we had made some progress. We tried the marble in a jar solution and it seemed to improve things, but it didn’t last. The health visitor told us it was a developmental issue and would resolve itself eventually.

Doctors

In June 2015, three months before my daughter was due to start school, I decided to get the Doctors involved as my daughter was making no further progress with doing poo’s on the toilet and we wanted to get things resolved before she started school in September 2015. I requested a woman Doctor as I felt this was most appropriate. The Doctor questioned my daughter about her using the toilet and said she was very grown up for her age as she answered the Doctors questions far more comprehensively than expected. The Doctor then gave her a physical examination but found nothing physically wrong with her.

At the same time we were having the settling in periods at my daughters new school. I mentioned the issue that my daughter was having to the teacher, who informed me that it wouldn’t be a problem but I needed to check with the teaching assistant. I spoke to the teaching assistant who informed me (quite rudely) that if my daughter wasn’t capable of “cleaning herself up” then I or my husband would be called into school each time, to clean her ourselves as nobody at school was able to touch her because of child protection policies. (I have since found out that it was unacceptable for her to even suggest this).

At this point, our daughter refused to clean herself so I spent three agonising months worrying about whether I and/or my husband were going to be called out of work regularly to sort out daughter out. It was even suggested by another “helpful” person that we homeschool our daughter until this “issue” is resolved.

School

My daughter started school in September 2015 and we were still no further forward. She was still having daily accidents in her pants. The school were extremely unhelpful. I felt judged and the Teaching Assistant implied on a number of occasions that we hadn’t tried to potty train our daughter. It was pretty awful that my daughter would run out of school at the end of the day and the first thing she would say was how many accidents she had had that day. If my daughter didn’t come straight out and tell me, the Teaching Assistant would announce it in the playground.

In October 2015 my four year old daughter was bullied by some girls in her class. My daughter wasn’t good at telling people when she had done an accident, probably because she was embarrassed even at that age (One of the symptoms of encopresis is that you can no longer smell your own poo’s and I also think she had become immune to the smell.)

Two girls in her class started calling her “stinky”. When she came home from school that day she was very quiet. I knew something was wrong but she wouldn’t tell me. At bed time, I asked her what was wrong and she burst into tears. Proper, awful, body rocking sobbing. It was utterly heart breaking and totally gut wrenching to have my four year old in a state of complete distress that I could do nothing about. We explained gently to her that she needs to tell the teacher or teaching assistant when she’s had an accident. I completely fell apart that night after she cried herself to sleep in my arms.

The next day I spoke to the teacher about the bullying incident and she shrugged her shoulders and said that, despite them trying to ensure that no bullying happened at school, there was nothing she could do about it. Ironically the subject of anti-bullying was covered at school that week but this clearly didn’t mean anything in reality! I was furious so got straight onto the Doctors for another appointment.

I tried to get an appointment with the woman Doctor who had given my daughter her physical examination but, for whatever reason, she wasn’t available. I had done more research by this time and was utterly convinced that my daughter had encopresis. My husband and daughter came to the Doctors appointment as well. The Doctor told me that my daughter didn’t have encopresis (without even checking her over!) and that I was clearly a neurotic mother and that my daughter would learn to use the toilet in her own time. I then requested to be referred to a paediatrician (a friend had reminded me that my husband had medical insurance cover for our family and my daughter would be covered under this) and he refused to refer us to the paediatrician until after my daughter had tried two weeks of Movicol, the laxative. We tried two weeks of movicol, a low dose, and it made no difference at all.

In the meantime another friend had been to see the School nurse for a medical issue that her child was having and she mentioned the issues we were having. (I will always be extremely grateful to my friend for her help with this).  The school nurse said that I had to demand that the Doctor refer us to the paediatrician otherwise they wouldn’t do anything.

I then phoned the Doctor, again having to wait another week for a phone call appointment and had a twenty minute discussion” with the Doctor who eventually gave in and said he would give us a referral but “it wouldn’t make any difference because your daughter doesn’t have encopresis”.

I phoned the school nurse (did you know there are only 3 school nurses that cover ALL of the schools in North Hampshire?) and left a voicemail. They never called me back.

I mentioned in passing to the teacher at school that it was probably encopresis. She had never heard of it before and said there was nothing she could do until it was diagnosed by a Doctor.

By this time it was Christmas 2015. It took a week to be referred to the private paediatrician and we managed to get an appointment between Christmas and New Year. (I can’t tell you how grateful I am for private medical insurance!)

We spent 30 minutes with the paediatrician. She spent 15 minutes talking to our daughter about how she needed to use the toilet and why wasn’t she using the toilet as she wasn’t a baby. She then asked to check over our daughter’s tummy. Immediately her tone changed. She said she could feel impaction and that our daughter needed an X-ray. We had the x-ray there and then (which our daughter really enjoyed! Children! ) and were able to look immediately at the picture. The Paediatrician explained the picture and showed that our daughters bowel was so large that the impaction had expanded to under her ribs and it was one of the worst cases of encopresis that she had seen in 15 years of being a peaditrician. Our daughters lower half was literally full of poo.

All of the dark patches are poo.
All of the dark patches. including in her ribs, are poo.

She put our daughter on a hard core case of laxatives (8 sachets of movicol at one point) for two weeks. We were literally swimming in poo. It was awful but my daughter coped admirably. We cancelled all of our plans between Christmas and New Year because we needed to be at home to “sort things out”.

It was a huge relief once we had the diagnosis and I thought our troubles were over…

I phoned school to explain the situation as my daughter’s laxatives didn’t finish until the Thursday of the first week of school. I was told that because they didn’t have a shower or the facilities to clean her up, she would need to stay home. So my daughter had to have four days off school whilst the laxatives “cleared her system out”. I spoke to the head teacher who sympathised with our situation and she said she would get the school nurse engaged for our support.

We went back to see the paediatrician and talked through the different strategies that we would need to engage. Our daughter would need to sit on the toilet for 10 minutes as soon as she got up and that she needed to sit on the toilet frequently throughout the day. We needed to make it as fun as possible. Lots of games, books and toys in the toilet to keep her amused and keep it “fun”.

We tried all of these strategies but it was extremely distressing. Our daughter would scream relentlessly if we tried to get her to sit on the toilet. It took all of our negotiation skills to get her to use the toilet at all for a while.

Six weeks later I saw the head mistress and asked if she had heard back from the school nurse. She said the School nurses were very busy and as our daughter wasn’t a critical case they would get to her when they got to her.

The next day we had parents evening. We were told by the teacher that our daughter was extremely “behind” and unlikely to catch up because she had missed so much class time because of her accidents and would be failing YR. When I asked the teacher what she was doing to resolve this she responded with: “I have 29 other children to teach”.

It took about 3 hours for this to sink in and it was only when I got home and relayed the conversation back with my husband, that I got really, really angry.

School Nurse

The next morning I phoned the school nurses, managed to actually speak to someone and lost my rag. I ended up bursting into tears and ranting about how I felt that all of the institutions in my daughters life had let her down.

Within 2.5 hours I had a school nurse sitting on my sofa. It’s a huge credit to them that they responded to my call as quickly as they did.

The school nurse spent 1.5 hours with me, asking all sorts of questions about whether my daughter had meconium when she was born, what her first experience of the potty was like, what her diet was like, etc. etc. By the end of our conversation she did say that I was clearly well read on the subject and that we appeared to have tried everything. She then informed me that my daughters condition is very serious and could lead to her having a colostomy bag and not being able to have children when she got older. She also explained that my daughter needs to be considered as disabled and needs to be treated, especially by school, as disabled. I got a bit hysterical when I explained this to my husband when he got home that evening from work.

The school nurse worked through a care plan for my daughter which involves her sitting on the toilet for 5 minutes every hour. She had to drink at least 650ml’s of water a day at school because dehydration can exacerbate constipation. We were to stop her milk in class immediately and she wasn’t allowed chocolate or bananas anymore. (I was only allowed to change our daughters school meals with the permission of the school nurse and I had to list all of the meals that our daughter could no longer have).

To her credit again, the school nurse went in to see the school the following day, took lots of leaflets from the eric.org website and highlighted to them just how serious my daughters condition is. She told them that they needed a stool for my daughter in the toilet and she needed regular support at school. She also advised that they implement a book that they used to record the times she had been to the toilet and the water she had drunk so that my husband and I were informed.

It took nearly 4 weeks to get the care plan implemented in school. By this time it was March 2016. I was advised by another friend to set up regular meetings with the head teacher, to keep the school accountable. We have had a meeting with the head teacher every month for the past 6 months and they seem to be upholding their end of the bargain. However, it was eye opening to me that they could have turned my daughter and her extra care down and we would have had to move her to another school! I didn’t realise they had a choice! (I have since found out that this isn’t true: http://www.eric.org.uk/Schools/Toilet_Training)

In April 2016 the school started to invite the “Physical Inclusion Development Officer” (PIDO) to our monthly meetings. We explained that our daughter had recently started having wee accidents again as well as poo accidents. The PIDO explained that it was likely that our daughter was impacted again and would need to have another “flush”. She recommended that our daughter have at least 16 sachets of movicol over a couple of days. It was another horrific experience and we were using everything we could possibly think of to get the movicol into our daughter, including making ice pops and jelly with it. Our daughter thought it was brilliant as she had a week off school AND jelly.

We had an appointment with the private paediatrician at the end of May 2016 and she said that because we’ve tried everything and our daughter still doesn’t seem to be able to use the toilet properly, she clearly has a deep seated fear of the toilet. She referred us to a child psychologist. We had our initial meeting with the psychologist which took 1.5 hours and at the end of the meeting Dr Ana hugged me and told me that I was finally with the right person and she would help us. She needed to send a letter to the medical insurance explaining the situation so that we could have authority for them to pay for future sessions.

A week later the insurance company turned down any extra funding because our daughter’s issue was “behavioural” not medical. We never heard from the child psychologist again. We were advised that if we wanted to go through with seeing a psychologist we would need to pay £3k in fee’s. My husband and I had many long conversations about what to do and agreed that we didn’t want our child to be used as a lab rat and that we would handle things ourselves. I still stand by this.

During the summer holidays in 2016  we went to see Lily at the Life Right centre, a hypnotherapist that another friend had suggested (Another person who I am deeply indebted too).

Y1 at school

On the way to school on the first day of Y1, September 2016, I had a chat with my daughter about her being old enough to understand that she needs to use the toilet now she was 6 years old and in Y1. We had nearly a month of her using the toilet and having no accidents at school. It was awesome although I’m now convinced she was partly withholding as she would have an accident as soon as she got home. School were putting her on the rainbow for every day that she didn’t have an accident and she was so pleased with herself! :-D.

We did have to start all over again with her new Y1 teacher, but they are far more understanding and sympathetic than her old YR teacher. This has really helped as they have made more of an effort to understand and to reward our daughter when she has done well with her toilet training.

In Y1 the staff categorically won’t change her because she’s “older now”, so she has to change herself. I have very mixed emotions about this. It can take her up to 45 minutes for her to change herself so she often misses lunchtime play because she has an accident after lunch.

Then she got sick in October 2016. And everything regressed. We had half term and she categorically refused to use the toilet. We made some progress after half term at school but I know she’s just exhausted with it all now.

This week she missed her Christmas play because she had an accident just before the play and managed to get poo over her outfit because there weren’t enough people to look after her whilst she changed herself. My poor husband had to sit through the play because I got called out just before it started, to change her, and he had to watch a play with all the other children, knowing that our child was missing out on ANOTHER key milestone in her life. I spent 15 minutes sobbing in reception, being judged my the receptionists and went home in the end.

Frustration

In YR in May our daughter started lying to the teaching assistant when the TA asks her if she’d had an accident. As a result of her lying to an adult about having an accident, she was immediately put on the “thunder cloud”. This did not sit right with me. Yes, she should not be lying to an adult, but it’s not as straight forward as that. Plus, I have no idea if they humiliate her in class by explaining to the rest of the class why she is on the “thundercloud”.

I mentioned it to the school nurse and asked if I was being a neurotic mother and she said absolutely not because in this situation we should all be focusing on the positive, never the negative.

In a recent meeting with the school in October 2016 the head mistress said that our daughter is using this experience as “attention” seeking and that she seems to enjoy the attention that she gets when she changes herself. I don’t doubt that my daughter is enjoying the extra attention as she’s a smart cookie, and this has also been a struggle at home as she loves telling people that she has a “medical condition”, even though we’ve tried not to talk about it in front of her. .

In Y1 it seems to be better. Although at home our daughter categorically refuses to accept when she’s had an accident and will scream at us and resort to violence if we even suggest changing her.

Support

We were advised by the paediatrician NOT to make a complaint about the Doctor who called me a neurotic mother because the paediatrician wrote a letter to the practice explaining the extent of my daughters encopresis which made it obvious that the Doctor had made a big mistake.

The practice also changed our daughters laxatives in April 2016 from Movicol to Laxido with no consultation. When our daughter had four nights of liquid poo accidents when she started taking laxido (it was horrific), the first night poo accidents she had had since she was 18 months old, I spoke to the Doctors and was told that they had switched to laxido because it was cheaper and they needed to document exactly what the impact of the Laxido was because it had the same ingredients as the Movicol.

The practice also refused to initially give my daughter movicol because we had it on a private prescription so I had to go through the whole rigmarole of obtaining the online log in details, only to be told they wouldn’t give it to our daughter without a telephone appointment, the first of which would be available in 10 days time. I had to phone the private paediatrcian again, to get her to intervene.

We are now seeing Lily at The Life Right Wellbeing centre and things seem to be getting better. Lily has supported lots of other children who have had encopresis before so we keeping everything crossed that things start to improve soon.

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Things we have learnt about encopresis

Encopresis affects 1 in 100 children.

The NHS won’t diagnose encopresis until a child is at least 8 years old. If you want a diagnosis earlier, you need to get an x-ray privately.

Chocolate, Bananas and milk can all cause constipation.

Not only have we cut these out of our daughters diet but we have all found further research that suggest that all forms of dairy products can cause constipation, so we tried cutting out the majority of dairy out of our daughters diet and we try to substitute her food for a few months. However, after three months it wasn’t making much of a difference and it’s actually quite dangerous to cut food out of a child’s diet so our daughter now has limited dairy and goats milk.

The NHS have been pretty crap for us in this situation. Even the NHS website is disparaging about what encopresis is. The fact that we had to get a private paediatrician to take us seriously, speaks volumes.

Tesco’s sell the cheapest pants. We spend the same on pants now as we did on nappies when our daughter was little. I used to clean them out but now we just bin the majority of them. Cleaning poo off of her other clothes at the end of each day is demoralising enough.

The eric.org website is a fantastic educational tool. It has lots of information and suggested strategies for helping to over come encopresis.

We cannot go anywhere without our changing bag. We have to carry supplies with us everywhere we go. It’s not a big thing but it is a thing.

Vanish carpet cleaner is the best thing to get poo out of the carpet.

Following a rigid plan of monitoring when and what our child eats, drinks, how much water she has in a day, how often she has sat on the toilet, the level of what her poo is like,  remembering to sit her on the toilet within 15 minutes of every meal (often while she is refusing to sit on the toilet) and cleaning out clothes and pants filled with poo, on a daily basis has taken it’s toll. My husband and I thrive under a challenge but after nearly 2.5 years of battling to get the best support for our daughter and the daily stress of living with our daughters situation, we are exhausted.

Movicol sucks the water out of our child’s body, to redistribute it to the poo. This means that our daughter has to drink a LOT more water than other children. It’s taken 1.5 years for school to really understand this and I frequently have to remind them that she needs to drink more water at school.

One of the side effects of movicol is severe gas.

We don’t have holidays abroad unless it’s staying with friends, because of the change of water, diet and routine, access to laundry facilities and much as I am desperate for a holiday beside a swimming pool, it’s just not practical for us.

When your child has a chronic health condition which means they soil themselves between 5-8 times a day, at any given moment, it affects everything. Everything.

Even if you tell school about the medical reasons as to why your child is off school, you can still expect a snotty letter telling you that your child’s attendance is lower than required.

I dread our child getting sick. It takes a lot longer for her “poo” to recover. Once she is better, even if we reduce her movicol, it still takes a few weeks for things to “settle” down. This is even more challenging because we can’t let her wear pull up’s because this will undermine all of the progress we have made in the past year.

It has been an extremely stressful experience for our family. We’ve been told, time and again, that encopresis is more common in boys and one friend suggested that our daughter might be autistic. Nope, she’s in intense pain a lot of the time and no one knew.

Not being able to talk about it to people, because we don’t want to embarrass our daughter, has been tough. Really tough.

The few friends who know about our daughters situation, a couple have suggested that we move her to a different school. If only it was as straightforward as this. Our daughter loves school and has been through enough stress with her encopresis that we don’t want to move her to start all over again. It’s taken a while but it finally feels that school realise how serious her condition is. It would be nice if they had a little bit of sympathy and understanding, but you can’t have everything!

Final Thoughts

The paediatrician said that there is nothing as parents that we could have done to stop this. It’s a medical condition and no matter what we did, it still would have happened to our daughter.

Being an “encopresis parent” is a very lonely experience. Many of our friends don’t understand what we are dealing with, let alone strangers. We are lucky that we haven’t had many disparraging comments from “well meaning” people. It still hurts though. Most people have never even heard of encopresis and therefore have no understanding at all.

In my experience, if you think your child has encopresis, be prepared to fight. I read online that a man in the US made his child sit with some poo on their nose for a whole day, as punishment for having continuous accidents. This made me weep. All of the children out there who have been mocked, beaten, ridiculed for having this condition because their loved ones didn’t understand or weren’t prepared to fight for them. I am determind that this doesn’t happen to my daughter, even if it has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. This is also why I am sharing some of our story. If our experience can help another child so that they don’t have to go through what my daughter has, then that will be fantastic.

Our daughters condition is not resolved yet, by any means. It could take years and I’m terrified of the bullying that my daughter is likely to experience the older she gets.

My daughter doesn’t deserve to be treated the way that she might be. She didn’t ask for this.

I am going to continue to do what I can to try to improve everything for my daughter and I will continue to ensure that she gets the best level of care that she deserves.

Other Resources

http://childhoodsoiling.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/encopresis

http://www.eric.org.uk/Schools/Toilet_Training

A really brilliant facebook group via this website: http://childhoodsoiling.blogspot.co.uk/

A great example of a Hampshire school’s toileting policy: http://los-infants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Toileting-Policy-2013.pdf

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/supporting_children_with_medical_conditions_briefing_sheet__autumn_2015

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My Experience: Homework in Y1

Before I start, I want to be clear that I am very well aware of how careful I need to be when posting my thoughts and comments to NorthHantsMum about schooling in this country. I’ve “held back” in several places, although it may not look like it reading this through! lol.

Homework in Y1

Homework “steps up” in Y1.

People warn you of it, but that doesn’t prepare you.

So far, in her first 8 weeks of Y1, Miss NHM has had at least six tasks every week. She’s 5.5 years old. Every week she has spellings, a topic homework which is often writing and/or maths, reading books, library books, an online maths task and extra tasks that need to be done.

Spellings

10 spellings to learn and write, per week. If these spellings are not written in cursive (that’s joined up writing to you and me) then she gets 0.

Yup, even if she has learnt to spell and write these words, if she doesn’t write them in joined up writing when she is tested, her teacher will mark them as zero. I’m not saying any more on this for fear of reprisal.

Weekly Homework 

This normally takes between 15-30 minutes to do. It often involves writing sentences (cursive – joined up, of course) or doing a written activity. You get a whole week to do this but we try to do it on the weekend to get it out of the way.

Mathelitics

Mathelitcs is an online programme to help children improve their maths. This is not something that a child can be left with. You need to sit with them to go through it.  We’ve only done 15 minutes so far this term, because by the time I finish work at 5pm, get dinner on and eat dinner, Miss NHM is too exhausted by the end of the day to focus. She literally lay on the floor next to me when I tried to get her to go through this yesterday.

Reading Books

Ahhh, those wonderful chip and biff books. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That have to be read every day and the reading booklet that has to be updated every day to say that you’ve listened to them reading. (God forbid you don’t update the reading booklet to say they’ve done it, or you will get a stroppy note from the teaching assistant telling you to update it!!!)

Honestly, these books are THE most soul destroying books in the universe. And have you seen that mother’s make up! Green eyeshadow! I mean, really! This is just the start of it, I daren’t write what I want too on the “chip and biff” books ;-).

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Thankfully for us Miss NHM loves reading so she can often be found following me round the house, whilst I’m tidying up or sorting the kitchen out, reading “at” me. Which doesn’t always help when I’m distracted doing something else!

Library Book 

Every week Miss NHM gets a library book that we have to read at home with her. I’ve actually been really impressed with several of the library books but I’ve also been quite horrified at some of them that have come home.

Some of the subjects that are covered are very inappropriate for young children, but I’m already labeled as “that Mum” at Miss NHM’s school and don’t want to be the old fuddy duddy who kicks up a stink about everything :-D.

My thoughts on homework

During the Autumn parents evening, I advised Miss NHM’s teacher that I understand that homework isn’t mandatory in primary school and that if we got to the homework we would do it, but if we didn’t, I don’t want Miss NHM being punished. They agreed and didn’t say much. I think there would have been a lot more fuss if Miss NHM was perceived as being “behind” in her work for Y1.

My “favourite” bit is when they “make” you sign a piece of paper at parents evening saying that you will “support” the school in their work to educate your child. So, does this mean that if you don’t do the homework with your child, they will wave it in your face at the end of term, telling you that’s why your child isn’t as advanced as they could be?

All in all I would say that Y1 homework for our family takes between 3-4 hours a week, if you include all of the time spent on reading library books, reading books, topic homework and maths activities that the school sends home. That’s for one child. Which sounds fine, but actually that’s nearly another half day of school! Time that could be spent playing or doing family stuff together.

Family time is sacred for us. We all miss each other enough during the week now that Miss NHM is at school that I don’t want her to miss anymore time with us as a family.

And oh boy is Miss NHM missing the playing. She gets home and is literally desperate to play with her toys. The other weekend she told me that she didn’t want to go to a birthday party and eat cake (I thought she was really ill!!!) because she never gets time to play with her toys and she’s really, really missed it!!!

I have also heard that several children in Y1 are being deprived of break time as they have to “stay in” and catch up. This is WRONG!!!!

Wrong, wrong, wrong!! Our children should be outside being children. Playing and learning. It’s been proven time and time again, that forcing young children to sit still for several hours on end affects their emotional wellbeing!!! So why are schools still doing it???

I don’t understand why the education system decides that they have to put our children under so much pressure?!!??? They are only tiny. Some of them have just turned 5 years old.

And yet, I’m part of the problem. I’m not doing anything about it. I’m not changing my child’s school (she’s been through enough trauma with school since she started!) and apart from saying that we will do her homework when we get to it, I’m not arguing further to change things.

To be fair, I wouldn’t know where to start. But something really needs to be done and soon. We cannot keep putting our young children through this level of stress and exhaustion and not expect there to be some fall out. It will be society, all of us, who will suffer in the long run…

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My Experience: Reception Year (YR)

For those of you who have been following NHM for a while, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted ANYTHING about our experience of YR beyond December last year (December 2015).

There is a very valid reason for this. We had a DREADFUL experience of YR. I’m not going to go into details but needless to say it was an incredibly stressful school year and caused Mr NHM and I (and Miss NHM) an awful lot of anxiety and stress.

However, I am very pleased to report that Y1 is MUCH better than YR so far. Miss NHM has a lovely teacher, who at parents evening earlier this week said that she is a “happy, bright, chatty, confident little girl” and that they have “no issues with her whatsoever”. (this is quite a radical change from when we were told at parents evening in February that Miss NHM was likely to “fail” YR. How any child can fail ANYTHING at four years old is beyond me, but that’s a whole other post ;-)).

I’m of the general opinion that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything, so apart from saying that we had an awful experience of YR, I’m not going to say anything else.

I’m just relieved that we can put that year behind us and that Y1 is going so well for Miss NHM so far! Long may that last!

Look out for my post on the first few weeks of Y1 soon!

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Things to do w/c 26th September 2016

I don’t want to tempt fate, but it seems like Miss NHM is calming down for the school run in the mornings.

It seems that the first three weeks after the summer holidays are really tough and then it starts to ease off a bit.

Fingers crossed because these first three weeks have been…interesting ;-).

Things to do w/c 26th September 2016

Monday 26th September: Toddler Sense (AM)
9.20am – 10.20am – 2 years to 4 years
10.40am – 11.30pm – 13 months to 2 years
11.40 – 12.30pm – 13 months to 4 years
1pm – 1.45pm – 13 months to 2 years
St Peter’s C of E Church, Pinkerton Road, South Ham, Basingstoke, RG22 6QP

Tuesday 27th September: Sherfield 0-5’s (AM)
10am – 12pm – Birth to 5 years
Sherfield Park Community Centre, Sunwood Drive, Sherfield on Loddon, RG27 0FP

Wednesday 28th September: Macmillan coffee morning, Charlie’s Cafe

Thursday 29th September: Active Tots (PM)
2pm – 4pm – from birth to 18 months
5-7 Granary Court, Stratfield Saye, Reading, RG7 2DL

Friday 30th September: Kids Club (PM)  (3-11yrs), 6.30pm-7.30pm, Wessex Christian Fellowship, next to Cranbourne School, Wessex Close, RG21 3NP (Term Time only)

Saturday 1st October: Chineham Craft SessionsDrop in craft at Chineham Library

Sunday 2nd October: Viables Public Running of the Trains, Viables from 11am till 4pm

Related Pages

Activities (Classes, Playgroups, Meet Up’s)

New Classes!

Local Events

Don’t forget, if you have any events coming up that are relevant to parents in the area, please let me know via northhantsmum@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!