Before I had children I thought it was absolutely nuts when people obsessed about schools for their offspring. I couldn’t believe people fraudulently used different addresses to get them into the ultimate school near their home. Surely a child will succeed with love and support, not an outstanding rated school.
But I have become that parent. Well aside from the fraud part.
Despite my daughter being a mere two and a half, we are in the school option hell. It’s insane. I know this, but listen to me for a minute. We live in a place where there are two infant schools going into one junior school. I write this like I understand. Well I do now. A few weeks ago just the names infant, junior, first, middle, primary confused me. Now, I could work at Ofsted.
You see, the schools are completely different. Who knew – I thought a school was a school. No, apparently not. I have a friend who wants to move to get her child into a school as it’s a forest school. What? I went to a school where it was, well a school. No applications, no competitive parenting around the best option. A village primary school that had a fete once a year, where we roller skated in play time and had a sports day. We lived in a proper rural area and even had this local woman who came in her car to pick us up and discussed roadkill. Proper parochial taxi. My sister and I still talk about it as a fond memory of our youth.
Today, you have to apply, there are set criteria for admissions, the school specialises, is it an academy, a vountary-aided school, free school, what are the skills of the teaching staff. There’s a whole lotta changes.
Then the bombshell two weeks ago: THEY ARE CHANGING THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. WHAAAAAAAAAAAT. So instead of two infant schools and one junior, they’re all becoming primary schools. And last Monday, I find myself sitting in a full school hall listening to the reasons why. So after seeking out a chair that wasn’t made for a four-year-old (had to opt for one of the six-year-olds’ chair, I joke not), I sat, listened and even wrote up notes from the meeting for my other friends in the same boat. Sometimes I kick the arse out of anal.
The aftermath was immense, text messages, Facebook messages, phone calls flying around between friends about what to do, catchment areas, visits, blah blah blah. Even my mum started saying “enough, just go school A, then B, then C. Done. Now let’s talk about something else.”
Anyway, my point being that you just get drawn into this stuff as parents. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again, but you just want to do the best for your babe. It is a different world. Making decisions for myself has always been a nightmare, but when it’s your children the pressure to make the right choice is immense and it feels more into the unknown than you can ever imagine.
Then on Saturday I had a hair appointment and the 19-year-old hairdresser asked me where I was going that night and started talking about clubs I actually hadn’t heard of in a city I know so well. I thought, yeah, I really am in a different world, and it’s a world I am more than happy with with me and my little family.