Turbulence Ahead

Shock news – both our school’s head and deputy head teachers are resigning. It’s doubtful whether suitable replacements can be found before the end of the school year. The deputy, who I’d assumed would replace the head, was my child’s brilliant reception class teacher and has only been at the school as long as we have. It’s baffling.

 

This time last year, the previous deputy left, hot on the tail of a whole group of other teachers with fairly long, apparently distinguished records at the school. Each time, regrets were expressed and excuses made; each time, poor parents’ hearts lurched with anxiety, then resettled, thinking, maybe there are good reasons. Maybe the replacements will be even better. Maybe it’ll pan out for my baby in the end.

 

School is where my child spends most of his days – yet I’m desperately out of control of what he experiences there. It seems everything I liked about our place is under question; its music, its “whole-child” ethos, its genuine diversity. What is actually going on? Those of us with most at stake seem to know least.

 

Is this why people home-school? (Is it why they private-school?) But even if I were intellectually and professionally equipped to teach my child the entire curriculum, what about socialisation? Learning to read, write and so on is a doddle for most kids compared to the intricate and complicated art of making and maintaining friendships, with a diverse bunch of other kids, all as unpredictable and self-centred as he is. It certainly was for me, growing up in an isolated and academic environment which seriously undervalued the unquantifiable social arts. I’m not making the same mistake. My child has to spend plenty of time working it out with other kids; school, with its ostensible focus elsewhere, is the best place for it.

 

Apart from which, I need a break – to write this blog among other things. I can’t be supervising my kid, hounding him from TV screen or ipad with one trick or another, 24/7. He has to go to school.

 

But how fragile a thing a genuinely exceptional state school seems to be nowadays. Perhaps ours, after subsiding into staff squabbles and mediocrity, will eventually be forced by Ofsted crusaders into the “rigorous”, results-impressive, disciplined-academy-type mould of other nearby “Ofsted-outstanding” primaries. Perhaps everything else it has done well will be down-graded or completely discarded. Our school has only ever been “Ofsted-good”. I always liked that about it. But perhaps these days “good” is just not good enough.

About these ads

About marytuda

An accidental first time mum in her fifties reflects on all things maternal from position of perpetual outsider and prolonged state of shock. An urban odessy through parenthood plus from one who thought she'd never go there.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Turbulence Ahead

  1. Jo says:

    I think the socialisation issue re home educated children is a bit of a myth. They don’t stay at home on their own all day, but get out with other home educated kids, providing a more natural environment of mixed ages. There are some very active home education groups out there. You’d be surprised. But the other reason you gave for not home educating I can totally relate to, since it’s the reason I don’t do it!

  2. marytuda says:

    Well – all I have is anecdotal evidence that many home-schooled children spend their teenage years “desperately trying to catch up.” In terms of “yoof” sophistication, I guess, if not academically, whatever you might think of that. The one home-schooled child I know of personally pleaded and pleaded in vain with her ultra-religious parents to be allowed to go to regular school. She then married very young, basically to escape home at last, and quickly divorced. She’s catching up at night school now while waitressing during the day (she’s not English) but she is troubled and not easy to get along with, according to those who know her well.
    But for sure, it must depend on how it’s done. Above all, as you say, it represents an enormous parental commitment, over and above the commitment we make anyway. So even though I do question their motives, in some cases, hats off in way to those parents prepared to make it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s