There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Schools, who left me in charge?

Great Odin's Raven, what in the name of all things holy possessed someone to leave me in charge of two small children? Two small children who are getting older by the year and getting more and more unmanageable. Ladies and gentleman, it's that time of year, when children have to be ushered from the cushioning, rounded hay days of nursery into the manic system of actual schooling. They seem to have to go, despite formative schooling not actually starting until 7/8. There are ways of getting round this, home schooling is one, sticking two fingers up to the system and just letting them be is another. Unfortunately, I am not clever or organised enough for the former and I'm too conformitive on so many levels for the latter. The fact is, my eldest's time has come and I literally don't know what to do.  I feel like I have been caught in the outhouse reenacting some biblical scene a la "The Go Between". Some of you may think "you've had four years to warm up to this you moron" and you may be right, the fact is, four years really isn't that long when you think about the gravity of the decision you are about to make. These are the foundations for learning.

I know what I want to do, what any self respecting parent should do, curl up in a ball and hibernate until my child is seven or eight, or even 11, when I can have an actual discussion with her and ask HER whether she thinks this school or that school is better, and whether or not we should take this opportunity to go private or we should let her go boldly amongst her friends to the local state school, which, by the way, is very well regarded, OFSTED Outstanding no less!

To my mind, everyone seems to be talking about it. My ears and senses are on red alert at every moment in a public situation, to see if I can capture a glimpse or snippet of informative conversation that might lead me, with fanfare, down the red carpet to the right, correct and infallible decision. In supermarkets I am reading the backs of all packaging near people who may or may not be talking about Reception classes at any school. At the swimming pool my child may well be drowning or I might be spending an extra long time fixing my goggles because those two people there might possibly have the Holy Grail's answer to schooling and I can't miss it. My pace noticeably quickens if I am walking behind someone holding official school type documents that may say something positive or negative about either of the schools we have on our shortlist.  I have asked people what drink they might like and the answer they give is one school or the other, and the one they choose is unquestionably the right school. It is completely mental, but as we all know, nothing is rational or explainable when it comes to your little dahlings!

Not just being stealth and ridiculous about it, I have actually held real life conversations with people who have children. It would seem, though, that most people have the same idea; ease and functionality. This is very sensible, very sensible indeed. However, for some reason I am in two very different minds about this topic for my first child. She is flying the flag for the Hartley girls, pushing the boundary and wetting her toe in the possibly shark infested waters of educational institutions. My second child, I have no qualms about. When it comes to her turn it'll be a drive by, fling her out of the car to the state school, where I know she'll flourish or take everyone down with her.

We have ummed and aaaahed and occasionally oohed at this quandary, and actually, what it came down to was this; OFSTED Outstanding and private school shine means virtually nothing if the child in question is miserable. So, we have considered that friends are what matters for anyone at most stages of the game. Our eldest needs security, consistency and love, all of which can be monitored by almost anyone else better than us, so we have sent her with her friends to the local state school where she'll flourish and enjoy and we'll watch and learn and if it goes wrong at any stage, we'll pull the plug and move her, regardless of friends. There are no rules, there is no wrong or right, there are opinions and there's that time old fail safe, mother's intuition. I have said before, and I shall say this again and again, who in the name of Brian Blessed left me in charge of such a decision?