Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I was at a school governor's meeting last night. I came home to find the kids all out, the doors all locked, and myself without a key.If they hadn't left all the downstairs windows wide open so I could climb in I might have had a problem. Still, we wouldn't want to make life too difficult for any passing burglar.

Am V.Proud Chair of Governors as our tiny village school with 66 pupils has won best primary school library in the whole county award. Still on the subject of the school for the first time ever this week we had a two year old registered for a place in a couple of years when the child is school age. The weird thing with this is that the family does not live in the village, or even in the area - they live in London. They have been searching the net for good village primary schools and have identified our school as the one they want their child to attend. They now intend to spend the next year or so waiting to buy a house here. I hadn't realised the concept of parental choice had gone so far. However, I'm a bit uncomfortable with it. I have an image in my mind of what these parents must be like. Whilst it isn't necessarily the most flattering image I will allow that they clearly care about education. Schools need the support of parents who care about education. What happens to the schools that parents like these reject?

I was told last night that the vicar at our church who is Chair of Govenors at a neighbouring village school has been telling his congregation that if they want a 'good Christian education' they should send their kids to his school. I am very happy to report that the reason he is having to advertise like that is because they have lost so many local kids to our school which is better than their poxy Cof E school. Errh, how obvious is it that I am not a great fan of church schools? (Or their 'I am so religious I will go to church every Sunday right up until my kid gets place in one and then I can't quite get there any longer' parents.)

I notice nowadays that parents at our school discuss at length which comprehensive school their kids will attend. Quite a few boys from here now get into the best school in town which is supposed to be non-selective. Ha ha. Tell that to the parents of the kids in the catchment area who watch the parents dropping off their kids in their 4x4's as their own lads start the six mile treck to the school where there were spaces due to a distinct lack of middle class applicants. I never thought twice about what school my kids would go to. My kids go the local one with their mates, and although it is never going to top the league tables for academic results the kids have never experienced bullying, are happy, and are doing just fine. Maybe for these parents doing 'just fine' isn't good enough and now I am worrying if that means I am not a good enough parent for being content for them to be doing 'just fine'.

This is in danger of developing into either a rant about so called parental choice or a 'why am I such a crap parent' examination of self, or even worse, both but I am late and have to go.

Seeing Reidski tonight...maybe watch him play football, or maybe wait for him whilst having a nice cooling drink outside a local hostelry. That's a difficult choice isn't it :-)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Teaching between two large deprived council estates as I do, I find the idea of parental choice utterly laughable. These kids have no choice. They do what my kids did - go to their neighbourhood schools without question - after all they haven't got 4x4 vehicles, idle mummies to ferry them, prime ministers for fathers. For most people there never was any choice.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Choice sucks. Most people neither need nor want it. They just want to have something local, accessible and not completely awful.

you are NOT a crap parent.

So enjoy your white wine in the local hostelry and cheer on Reidski!

Arthur Clewley said...

we get a lot of school field trips in my town and schoolchildren are often seen doing questionaires and surveys about historic buildings and so on because out town centre is small, safe and quite interesting. I encountered some kids from sheffield once and helped them cheat, I mean research their questionares and they were most charming and polite.

I'm not what you would call an expert on this subject but surely unless all schools are equally good then choice is only going to be available to people with the resources to exploit it and inevitably a load of kids end up getting dumped in whatever's left to them.

you don't sound like a crap parent at all jj, but a crap insurance risk for sure

marc said...

You should see how out of control it is here, in the States -- these affluent parents are signing their little darlings up practically at birth to get on waiting lists for some of these 'desirable' pre-schools. Starting that young...

David Duff said...

"Choice sucks. Most people neither need nor want it."

Always good to hear the authentic voice of liberalism!

Arthur Clewley said...

I have a choice as to whether I buy a bentley converible or, say,a nissan micra but in reality I don't have a choice- that's just a car however and that's fine

people can choose whether to use state schools or private schools and there's more issues there but at the end of the day that's fine too

however the state, where it is providing something like basic education, paid for by all of us should not make people have to choose between good schools and crap ones because again, for many people that is no choice at all and they'll end up in the crap one. something that is paid for out of general taxation should be available at the same standard to the whole population as far as practicable. That's not communism, it's just bloody fair

everyone is entitled to the same opportunity at that stage in their life, what they do after that is down to them

David Duff said...

"something that is paid for out of general taxation should be available at the same standard to the whole population"

Which is an impossibility, as can be seen everywhere, that leads one ineluctably to the conclusion that education (amongst other things) should *not* be paid for out of general taxation. It never fails to amuse me as I watch otherwise sensible people behaving like WWI generals as they force generation after generation of children into a rubbish education system despite all the evidence of its failure.

Ah, well, you'll never go broke under-estimating the intelligence of the Great British Public!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

David Duff? Is that Plum Duff? Remember? Back at school? The other lads were always ribbing you about your skinny legs and your porcelain-white skin and I had to defend you in the lavatory. You were blubbering like a baby when your mother came to collect you. Oh and there was that time they found those little crib notes in your pencil case during the Geography exam in the main hall. I guess your arse is still stinging to this day!

J.J said...

Hi David! I feel like the old gang is now reassembled in this new place :-)

I don't have any sensible contribution to make to this but I do wnat to say that teachers like YP have my undying admiration for doing a job I could never contemplate whilst taking endless stick from media, parents, govenment, bloggers, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, but when you get the successes the rewards must be so sweet.

David Duff said...

Show no pity, 'JJ', because people like 'YP' (charming chap though he is, I'm sure) are part of the problem. He is rather like the man you meet when you die and go to hell, and who tells you when you find him sentenced to stand for eternity up to his chin in a sea of liquid diarrhoea that it's not too bad - except when the Devil comes round in his speed boat!

The education service (please don't laugh!) is, with one or two honourable exceptions, an unmitigated disaster; so bad, in fact, that even the participants can't see it for themselves. But why should that be a surprise? The government couldn't run the proverbial piss up in a brewery so why should education be any different?

Moo said...

Great he's back, think we have already covered education before!