Broken Promises

29 Nov

I walked up the wide block paved drive towards a bright, well kept house, it was a sunny afternoon. A well dressed couple answered the door, and invited me into the kitchen. It was a very clean, new kitchen and the house was excellently presented. There were reserved looks on both the faces of the parents, as they looked at me, and then called Andrew down from upstairs.
‘We’ve been here so many times before’ the lady explained, as Andrew entered the room, and sat slumped on a chair in the corner. He was a well groomed young man, clearly taking great pride in his appearance. He didn’t say anything other than hello, then looked at the floor, the walls, fiddle with the fruit bowl in the centre of the table, everything other than engage in the conversation.
She seemed rather tense, an air of expectation about her. Our Andrew shouldn’t be at this school. He shouldn’t even have been kicked out of the first school. It wasn’t his fault. The school let him down, let us down. Very angry and resentful of the school system, she stated ‘He’s not going there you know. I’ll educate him at home if I have to’ and folded her arms in a decisive fashion. It was clear who made the decisions in this house.
This was going to be tough.
Andrew’s parents had been let down several times in the past by the school system. Andrew had faced 3 exclusions as well as a managed move that did not go well. He smoked, did drugs occasionally, had lost interest in his passion for football. He resented every school move. Understandably, he wanted to be with his friends. This was NOT the school for him. He was beyond this. As for getting up early to catch a taxi to the next town, you had to be joking, right?
I explained at length what we could offer Andrew and his family. This school had a flexible timetable; we worked hard for the needs of the students.
‘What if he refused to go, he often does that you know?’
‘Well, we discuss the problems, find out his interests, try something else. We won’t give up you know’
‘What about qualifications?’
‘Yes, he will still do GCSE’s’
‘Andrew NEVER sees anything through, you’ll never get him GCSE’s’
‘Yes he will, we are experienced at this, we have got all our students through at least some GCSE’s’
‘What if he won’t get in the taxi?’
‘Then just tell us, we’ll work something out, it’s no big deal, we won’t get you arrested or anything’
And so the questions went on, endless lists of them. Andrew got fed up and left the room long before the end of the conversation.
She was out of questions. I think we had covered absolutely everything. She began to weep, and then sob… she couldn’t control it any more. Through tearful eyes she quietly said ‘this sounds like the perfect school for him. I wish we had met you a long time ago. I think he will be ok there. Let’s give it a go shall we? ‘
I smiled gently at her and held her hand.
‘You’re not alone any more. We’ll work together to get the best for Andrew, right?’ I reassured her. She smiled back, and relaxed at last.
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