Today was Tallulah’s first day back at school and Tilly’s first day at college. Tilly’s day went swimmingly, Tallulah’s not so much.
Firstly I got her up two hours early, forgetting to read the small print that said that school for year 8’s would start at ten this morning. She was most understanding about this. More understanding than I would be under the circumstances. Then it transpired that when I thought I had bought her long sleeved blouses for school, I had actually bought short sleeved. She bore all this very patiently. I will make amends at some point.
When she got home from school she threw a sheaf of paper the thickness of a telephone directory at me. Apparently it was crucial that I read it all. I dutifully started in on it. Firstly there was the vast tome about uniform. Every year this gets more and more detailed. This year it was in laid out as a chart, with columns for the items needed, the exact specification of the items needed, and the last and most detailed column, the list of verboten things. These include:
Any form of mini skirt
Any form of lycra
Knitted Uggs or Ugg style boots
Trainers except for sport
blouses with no sleeves (cap sleeves are allowed – phew)
I’m too bored already to tell you the rest.
They have covered everything you could possibly imagine from hair ornaments to sock/tight length, hem lines, sleeve lengths etc.
It enrages me dear readers, absolutely enrages me. If you run a school and you truly believe that the sleeve length of your pupils’ blouses will have a huge knock on effect on their educational welfare, you should be sacked from your post for massive, posturing idiocy and a singular failure to understand anything about the brains you are trying to mould.
Do you really think Einstein would have got more work done if he had worried about the length of his fucking sleeves?
If you fail to have regulation uniform they will send you home until you learn to comply with the rules. This compulsory suspension will not affect your educational progress in any way. You brought it on yourselves, you and your anarchist sleeves.
After this, my dander was up, and then we got to the questionnaire about our children’s welfare, which has bugger all to do with their welfare and everything to do with collecting data about them, I was fit to be tied. Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to buy a shotgun and go and live off grid in an underground bunker.
They wanted to know the usual stuff, like what colour we are, because knowing this is important. IF YOU NEVER BLOODY OPEN YOUR EYES TO LOOK AT THE CHILDREN IN FRONT OF YOU BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT YOUR HEAD STUCK IN AN ARSING FORM ALL THE TIME.
What religion we are. Because you don’t want to go round offering someone a go on a crucifix and a sausage in a bun if they’re not really into that sort of thing. I get this, but again. You could ask, real people, with words, and communicate and everything.
Then the kicker for me. What your sexual orientation is?
WHY? JUST WHY?
SHE’S TWELVE FFS.
SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHEN SHE’S OVER TIRED, LET ALONE WHETHER SHE’S BI CURIOUS.
And really, even if she did. What bloody business is it of yours?
I refused to answer this, and wrote something along the lines of the above.
Here’s what I think about these forms.
I think they’re degrading. I think they’re degrading because they substitute the need to speak to children, to talk to them and enter into discussion with them, or to see them as complex human beings (I feel this way about all forms mostly).
I think that if I asked the school they would tell me that they need to be sensitive about these issues, and the forms help them approach the issues in a sensitive way. I would say: Yes, because asking a twelve year old child to pigeon hole her own nascent sexuality by ticking a box is a very sensitive way of going about things.
I would also say that this stuff, particularly the sexuality stuff should not be an issue. What does it matter whether my child wants to kiss girls or boys or both? Is it going to stop her becoming queen of the world (you know that with Tallulah the answer to this will be a resounding NO. Nothing will get in that child’s way)? Is it going to affect the way you treat her? I should bloody well hope the answer to this is no. All people should be treated with respect, no matter what their colour, belief or sexual preference is.
They should replace this form with a statement. That statement should say:
I agree to treat you with the respect I ask for for myself. You are a human being. You’re doing great. Don’t worry about the fucking sleeves. You’re a ninja. Go and spend the rest of this academic year being brilliant at being you. Well done.’
And it should be signed by the head teacher and every member of staff.
That is all.