School is well and truly in.

All the children went back to school on Friday.

I don’t really understand why schools persist in sending children back to school for the start of the new school year at the end of a week. It takes masses of effort to get everything organised, everyone up and attem, and ready for the off, then they go for one or two days and have a weekend off again. What is it with that?

Kids who want to be back at school are disappointed because they just get started and then stop. i.e. Tallulah. Kids who are terrified have to contemplate screwing their courage to the sticking post all over again in two short days. Rubbish.

It is an ‘innovation’ of modern times. They never did this when I was at school. Admittedly that was in the last ice age, according to my children, but, you know – how frustrating. A big part of making school work well is establishing routine so that the children (and me) get used to the rhythm of the school days and hours, and the things that are required of us. This fragmentary start does not help. We are all confused, and feel rather jet lagged by it all.

Despite this, Tallulah had a wonderful first day, although she is not looking forward to Monday, where instead of her  time tabled swimming lesson she will be having four hours of tests instead. 

This is another thing I don’t understand. The last year of primary school is one long, intensive slog to the SATS tests, which the children are told are incredibly important because they will be what determine how they are streamed in secondary school. The minute they get to secondary school they do tests to determine how they will be streamed. Whither SATS? Why put kids through that?

Similarly all the tests that they do at the end of year 9, which are supposed to determine how they will be structured for their GCSE years are a load of nonsense. Tilly had to do a great raft of tests when she came to her current school at the end of Year 9, despite having already done months of the damn things in her last school, so they could decide what to do with her in Year 10. 


As you can see, I am already kicking against the traces and we’ve only been back for two days. 

I am keeping all this gah-ness to myself, as the children are perfectly happy and perfectly fine, and as long as they’re not stressed or upset, there isn’t any reason to point out the inherent defects in a system that we are bound to deal with.

Oscar had a marvellous second day, which I was incredibly happy about. He came home bubbling over with enthusiasm:

‘Mama. We are doing Shakespeare this term.’

I am jubilant. 

‘We had assembly and all the teachers acted Macbeth for us. It was brilliant.’

I am jubilanter.

‘It wasn’t the whole three hours mama, but it told the story.’

I am thrilled he knows it has been abridged and what the story is already. Some of the stuff I bang on about has obviously gone in then.

‘We are having real actors come to the school to show us real Shakespeare. It will be amazing.’

I love my son.

I ask him what the best bit of the play was.

‘The witches were excellent. One of the teachers had bright yellow and green hair. I don’t think it was her real hair. it was a bit scary.’


2 responses to “School is well and truly in.

  1. Things have chaged so much in education since I started school in 1951, it was all so much simpler then. It wasn’t that much different in 1979 when my daughter started but I am amazed now at the lengths that you all have to go to for your child to attend a local school. We used to goto the one in our local area. And as for all the tests – I would despair if I had to live through it with my child.

  2. At least your children GOT to go back to school, even if it was on a Friday. We teachers in BC have been on strike since the middle of June, and we are still on strike now. Our schools are supposed to reopen on Tuesday Sept 2, but because negotiations are going so poorly (plus the fact that the govt refused to meet with us most of the summer), that’s not going to happen now. Best case scenario is the week of Sept 8, but I kind-of doubt it, based upon what has occurred so far. Maybe October???

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