Lot of airwave chatter about at the moment about primary school playground politics – the mums. (Woman’s Hour, today and yesterday.) Or maybe – no doubt – it’s just my oversensitive antennae picking up on it, being a playground newbie myself. I too am struggling with my own unresolved playground issues, petrified flashbacks of childhood exclusion anxiety, superimposed before I can stop myself on my unsuspecting child . . . I can see what they’re talking about. Only half a term in, and already I can identify the PSA ueber-mums, the desperate social climbers, as the cliques and exclusions begin to form.
But most of the public discussions overestimate, in my view, the working-mum vs stay-at-home mum friction – so passé! They skirt past the class-issue (middle-class organic mums verses the ignorant masses) and ignore the race one altogether. This must reflect the social and educational environment of most chattering class commentators.
I have a theory – of which more later – that the sheer ethnic diversity of our school may counteract the temptation to bitch and bully of both mothers and children to a certain extent. Bullying (of which bitching is a subgenre) is generally an attempt to emphasis the “difference” and hence exclusion-worthiness of others when otherwise that key difference, in the view of the bullies, may escape notice. There’s absolutely no chance of difference escaping notice in our school.