I know why you’ve set up these rules; the ones which mean you can’t take your child out of school unless there’s a valid reason. (I’m working on the assumption of a valid reason being birth, death, illness, crisis, something along those lines, but I didn’t see anywhere which defines this but this could be me missing something)
Sometimes though, just sometimes, we need to do it anyway. I’m doing it tomorrow and I’m full of guilt even though I shouldn’t be. Fortunately my daughter is doing really well at school so shouldn’t miss too much.
Your rules mean I wrote the teachers and headteacher a letter to explain why, and I knew full-well the response would be unauthorized, and of course it was. That’s okay, as she’s having that day out of school anyway.
Yet I still feel guilty. I’m good at feeling guilty though, don’t take it too personally. I’m bothered if it affects the school in some way – we’re seeing schools failing left, right and centre around the country as your new policies are implemented. My August-born baby gets no more weighting against her abilities, she just ‘has to keep up’ now. We’re lucky that she is pretty bright and this shouldn’t work her into the ground, but I’m still worried. What about when things do get too hard for her? But that doesn’t matter as she’s only a statistic right now, and she’s only my baby to Shaun and I.
Oh, that and she will be learning about the structure of sentences and be expected to know her adjectives in the next three years. She’ll be six. I was eleven when I was taught all that. Part of me thinks it’s a good thing learning it early, the other part just thinks “TOO MUCH! TOO MUCH!!” and the musicals side of me goes back to the scene in The Sound Of Music when Maria asks the Captain “so when do they play?” to which he replies “The Von Trapp children DON’T play”.
Don’t get me wrong. H’s school do lots of play and they’re somewhere I’m really happy with, but the more we learn the more I feel as if there’s quite a different sort of pressure going on. The kind of pressure which kicks in properly at Year 1, and it’s just getting the kids ready right now. Getting them into the idea of homework and so on. Homework at four. Christ.
We do it. It’s fine and age-appropriate, but I’m exhausted too.
So sometimes great opportunities come along. Most of the time I say “sorry, we can’t do this any more as H is at school” and this one time I’ve realised it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and something she’ll remember when she’s older (my earliest memories start from about three and a half), so we’re doing it. Her teacher is supportive and we’ll do a little writeup with photos about it as well. That to me is brilliant – and I think there’s a lot she’ll learn.
But it’s rejected and I understand why. Us parents who take our children out to take a holiday. (n.b. I did check Australia flights in the summer to see if they went down before school holidays finished and they don’t, so Mr Gove, you’re safe there) I find myself standing up with all the other parents who wish we could regulate the prices of holidays, bring them down a bit so it becomes affordable. Sometimes it’s easier to take the £120 fine as you’ll save yourself £500 – a no-brainer really and yet it feels so silly justifying it.
But anyway, this isn’t about holidays, this is about tomorrow. We’re going to have an amazing time and H will learn a lot. It won’t be about spelling or reading but watching how one of her favourite sets of books has come to life into tv shows – Topsy & Tim of course. We’ve been invited by Darrall Macqueen to visit Twickenham studios, as they finish recording the show just before Christmas for good. So this is a time-sensitive once in a lifetime experience and something we’re not going to miss. Sorry Mr Gove, but that’s just how it goes.
I don’t expect you to understand, nor do I want you to understand. I know why you’re doing it, and for once, I’m being the bad girl going against the person in charge’s wishes. Too bad. I think it’s educational, and right now that’s all that matters.