So that was how we came to be coming into land at San Francisco Airport (SFO) to a city that we had been told demanded at least but no less than a quarter of our entire holiday, and as always it was the grand scale of America stretched out below that strikes you first. Five years previously it had been Las Vegas; toy- like and oddly out of place in a vast sandy expanse like a travelling fair long past its heyday pulled up in the corner of an isolated field in the openness of the countryside. With San Francisco it was the multiplies necessitated by the scale; the cars, lanes on freeways, expanses of water, tiers of housing and the mountains, all bedecked with a cloud filled sky dulled and scented by the forest fires that burnt out of control to the north of the city.
As with everything the ups and downs of life impact on a school’s ability to deliver their vision to pupils. The ideal is a school where all posts are filled by staff immune to both illness and the temptations of another job or promotion, but in the real world it is often supply teachers, employed directly from a school’s own group of regulars or from an agency, who are called upon to fill in gaps on a long term or ad hoc basis. Most schools would describe their “supply experience” as chequered; illustrated with stories of both horror and heroism. Much has been made of a school’s expectations of supply teachers, reinforced by safeguarding legislation and the competitive nature of both academy and agency markets, but what about a school’s statutory, professional and pastoral responsibilities towards them? A supply teacher arrives at a school when it is at its most hectic; often met by an administrator who is juggling with staff issues, pupil illness and a telephone that never stops ringing. Although we can all relate to this it is no excuse as if you demand a professional you must be professional too.
A loophole in The Equality Act 2010 that allowed schools to disproportionately exclude more pupils with SEND for being violent (even though their behaviour may have been a direct consequence of or affected by their disability) on the grounds that they did not have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children when they have a tendency to physical abuse even when that behaviour is down to a lack of appropriate support has been closed. The Equality Act 2010 states that an impairment not deemed to be a disability is a, “tendency to physical or sexual abuse of other persons”. Some schools had argued that the tendency to physical abuse of others is not regarded as an impairment under The Equality Act 2010 so pupils could be excluded.