As a parent of a special needs child who attends Ivy House School I would like to explain the impact the industrial action is having. Due to health and safety concerns special schools have to close completely for the duration of the strikes. This has caused (and continues to) great upset for my daughter. She has PMLD due to a rare chromosome condition and thrives on routine, that routine is disrupted by the strike action leading to confusion, frustration and challenging behaviour. This is all in addition to the education she is missing.
I am a working parent so the direct impact personally is that I have lost a substantial amount of annual leave. It is virtually impossible to find qualified childcare for a special needs child, particularly at very short notice, therefore I have to take the time off work. My employer has been supportive but I don’t know how long that will continue. The loss of leave also means that if I want to spend quality time with my daughter, as opposed to stressful upset half days off school, I will now need to take unpaid leave, so as a family we are also suffering financially just as the the support staff are.
I fully support the striking workers and feel they have been very unfairly treated but it is becoming more and more difficult to cover this and maintain a working life, I have a genuine fear that I may need to give up my employment.
I would urge Derby City Council to meet with parents and understand the situation rather than issuing misleading memos to head teachers saying the strikes are having minimal impact. This may in turn provide the realisation that this industrial action needs to end by meaningful negotiation with the union.
Other local authorities have been able to mitigate the impact of the equal pay review so why is Derby City Council unable to do the same?