‘No matter what you say we’re not going till CSA’

sb-melanie-charnock-picIt’s become somewhat of an accidental tradition on this website to publish an annual poem by the parent of a summer born child – by Rosie Dutton in 2014 and Lauryn Douglas in 2015.

This year, Melanie Charnock says she was inspired to write about her horrendous admissions experience to date – a request for her twins’ CSAge entry to Reception class was agreed in Lambeth earlier this year but since relocating to Leicestershire, her request there is being refused.

Melanie’s experience epitomises the postcode lottery now at play:

No matter what you say we’re not going till CSA

So you want us in school today
but we’ve just turned 4 so we’re not going – no way!

We’re not ready to sit still,
legs crossed, arms folded, at your will

Not ready to be in school and stay,
5 days a week, 6 hours a day

Meeting the targets and levels you choose,
it’s not for our benefit so please tell us whose?

I struggle with the pressure of agendas set by others,
large groups, loud noise and staring eyes make me hide under covers

You think that I will cope with the “routine and academic challenge”,
but my mum wants me to thrive you see, not just simply manage

My brother is a sleepy head, he likes to kip from 1 till 2,
he can’t say all his sounds just yet and needs help after a poo!

Why do you want us there this year? We don’t understand the rush,
we thought the role of education was to lift and not to push?

To us it seems so crazy to force against parental wishes,
a child to start reception early, to avoid some admin glitches?

We really just don’t ‘get it’, when the law offers the chance, to start reception at CSA, why you insist on this song & dance?

It doesn’t matter what you say, Leicestershire, or any other LA,
we’re going to fight you all the way, coz we’re not going till CSA!

Melanie Charnock

*   *   *

Melanie has even travelled to Sheffield to meet and talk with officials from the DfE, so determined is she to fight for her children’s right to access a lawful and uninterrupted education, but surely as a society, we must ask, is all this really necessary?


  • Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull
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