Me and my CF vs Counthill School.

Today has been a good one. (03/04/09)

I am on IV’s at the minute; it’s my third week and the new antibiotic is really kicking the infections bottom, so i am impressed! It’s called Amikacin; i love it!
Anyway, i felt great today. My chest hasn’t been half as bad as it previously has and my secretions aren’t as thick or sticky.
Today i also managed to do thirty minutes on the tread mill at a speed of 5.5 and i inclined 3%; not much but when you’re out of practice and LF’s at 54% it’s pretty damn good! Haha. I was proud of myself. However, most of all i was proud that i really enjoyed it, REALLY enjoyed it. I went on YouTube on my I-phone and listened to some tunes as i walked. My favourite pick of tunes today were:

· Decode – Paramore
· Misery Business – Paramore
· Supermassive Black Hole – Muse
· Walk This Way – Aerosmith ft Run DMC
· Famous Last Words – MCR (bit of a rock one there thrown in for good measures)
· Right Round – Flo Rida

When i had finished on the treadmill, i then ‘attempted’ to make cookies with one of my best friends Aimee Burns.
Photographic evidence shall be up shortly guys ;) HAHA!!
She also brought some schoolwork for me to complete over the Easter holidays. This leads me to my next subject the one i am making this blog about...

So this post isn’t a heartfelt tearjerker, it isn’t deep and meaningful, nor is it informal as such. This is just me explaining the situation with my school; explaining the situation for alot of CF’s throughout their school years. I attend Counthill Secondary School. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, here is a little information:

Counthill School was opened in 1951 and consists of approximately 1100 children, 80 teaching staff and around 60 support staff. Pupils attending the school are of mixed race and between the ages of 11-16. This means, years 7-11 (senior 1-4 ... i think).
The school has been put into special measures, it has been for about 4-5 years now. Anyway, at the minute they are building an ‘academy’; here Counthill and another school called Breezehill will merge to form one huge academy.
I fail to see how putting two failing and fighting schools together will make an improvement; just my opinion anyway.

I am in year 11 and i am just around the corner to sitting my GCSE’s. Here is where my story begins.
When i started at school. The CF nurses, nutritionists and physio’s all went up to talk to the whole faculty including; head teacher, deputy heads, head of years, head of all departments as well as the senco officers. They wanted to make sure everyone in the school was fully aware of who i was and why i was so special. They had to explain my illness and the needs that have to be met as well as the repercussions of my CF.
From then on every parents evening; my parents would ask every single one of my teachers if they knew that i had CF and what that meant. However, more than likely the answer was no.
In my opinion, this is appalling to think none of my teachers were aware of my condition and that i even had it. So yet again, the CF nurses had to write letters to all of my teachers. Sadly this is a reoccurring issue. To this day it still is.

Throughout school, my attendance hasn’t been great...when your ill there is nothing you can do about that atall. Hospitalizations, hospital check-ups, port flushes as well as not feeling upto going in school due to chest infections.
Well last year, as you may know from my previous post. I was never in school; i reckon i missed three quarters of year 10. Year 10 is the important year for coursework. Heading into year 11, i missed the first month as i was recovering from my operation. I was in school for October and i had to complete all of my coursework, work that fellow students had been doing for the past year; i had to complete in less than a few months. I was told by my English teacher that she was putting me forward to sit my GCSE early. She thought i would be capable to do it. This meant i had to complete ALL English coursework; 3 essays, 1 original piece of writing and 2 speaking and listening exams too. To my amazement in all of the coursework i got A’s and sat my GCSE to overall get a B in English. I just had to mention that because it is one of the proudest moments in my life so far Haha! Sad i know ;)

So after that whole thing, i was off yet again with a chest infection, i returned the following week and was sent home after coughing a little in Science; i felt as though they didn’t want me to be a liability. The next day arrived and i went back to school, yet again i was sent home after P.E because i had a coughing fit. Yes i understand that for someone who isn’t used to this kind of thing; it must be rather scary, however, ive been at the school for 5 years now; they all know i have CF and they all know that during exercise i will cough as many ‘normal’ people do. The things that annoyed me most was that i was fine immediately after taking my inhaler, they thought it was best i go home though and took it upon themselves to phone home. Also, while i was coughing my teacher ran over to me, asking if my ‘asthma’ was playing up again?!?! Asthma!
“I wish”, was my reply to the question. My friend explained AGAIN that i had CF while i calmed my breathing down.

For the past 3 week i have been off school with a bad chest. Not one phone call to see how i was doing, to see if they could call down with some work ... nothing.My mum got a letter through the post last week. It basically stated that:
“Your child’s attendance is very poor ... If you do not produce a formal letter (either a doctor’s note, prescription etc), the matter will be taken to court.”
My mum was totally disgusted with this letter and rang the attendance co-ordinator at school. She apologised and said she wasn’t aware what was going on but did however need to see this formal statement. Yet again, my CF team have to go into school and repeat themselves. I feel like we are fighting a losing battle with them and that the CF team are wasting their time having to repeat the same things over and over.

In schools pupils are just a number. A number on attendance records, a percentage on grade results. It’s a shame that schools are more cautious of Ofsted reports then they are pupils well being. To me Counthill has given me and my parents more hassle then going there was ever worth. I’ve witnessed racist violence and i am not just talking a push and punch fight, i mean full blown brawl with chairs being thrown and people being stabbed.
How are pupils supposed to feel safe in a war zone like that?
Something that i struggle to understand is the plan to merge two schools that are at war with each other constantly, surely this new academy will be turned upside down by the fights that will be taking place in there. I for one am glad that i only have a couple more months at the school and then i will be going to Oldham Sixth Form.

I think the whole ‘attendance’ thing is something that CF sufferers and many other people with illnesses have trouble with. Thus, adding to my list of reasons for me to believe that pupils are just a number.

Well my rant is over now, i just thought i’d raise awareness of how Counthill show support to their pupils.
Take Care,
Sophie xoxo
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  1. Another fantastic rant!! hehe.. Counthill are rubbish and don't deserve you! They will be thankful when you get all the great grades you are going to get though! Your a beautiful, inspirational and VERY VERY talented and clever (just look at them english grades!!) girl and you make everyone around you very proud :) Im proud to call you my cousin-in-law Lol!!
    Love you lots xx Emily xx

  2. My teachers never knew about my cf but it didn't really affect me as I did not have many absences etc as my health was alot better then. My form tutor knew and was supportive when needed and my p.e. teachers knew for obvious reasons. Other teachers may have known but not to my knowledge. The nurse did come in once and give a talk, but your teachers etc change so much it's difficult to educate them all! It's so annoying, if you were autistic etc they would HAVE to know but because your disability is unseen there is no pressure for it to be common knowledge as in their eyes you can do what is required of a student. Really you should have a SEN statement which states your special educational needs which the school must recognise and help you with. I guess its abit too late now since you will be leaving in summer. When you start college I think it would be best if you told your teachers yourself (maybe with your mum) in a meeting after class/end of the day? Also make sure you get in contact with their disability/special needs unit (I used to work at a college in this department, they can be a real help).
    My school merged with another local school and it wasn't that bad but I don't think our schools were as bad as yours! No stabbings!! Sorry this is the longest comment ever!!!xx
    ps - I do speed 4.3, incline of 2.5 on the treadmill so you do better than me! lol.

  3. oh as well I wanted to say well done on getting A's and B's! A-levels are so hard but i'm sure you will be fine, you sound a bright girl!