Being a director on a multi-academy trust, and a chair of the local board at the school both boys attend, I think a lot about how things are going to be in the future. Not just the future of my boys, or the children in the schools in our trust, but of every single child in the country. Not to mention the teachers.
Things are not in a good way, a lot needs fixing.
I’m lucky, this year I had no child sitting SATs, however, I’ve had friends children who are, and I’ve watched and listened at how they are. My heart hurts. I’m a firm believer of a few things; children are sponges, and negativity breeds negativity. The two of them put together is just going to spiral into something I don’t even want to witness.
I could splurge my opinion on SATs and how the government and schools are dealing with them, I could voice even more frustration about holidays and even more about the day to day learning of our children, who from the minute they enter childcare are measured and assessed, and from forty-eight months they start school where there is a whole new level of expectations.
But I’m not going to…not because I’m not worried, I’m bloody terrified. But because I need to be positive so my children are positive, there is enough time for them to face the cold hard facts of life, and even though things are hard for them, it’s my job to shield them.
It’s not always easy, to find the positive when things are bad. So let’s start with the little things.
Today I have two laughing boys. I have two boys who run to me beaming, who willingly tell me about their day (playing snap with a teacher, making a superhero poster) they tell me what was for lunch (lasagne, I’d got it wrong, I’d prepped them for sausage and mash) and admitted they’d left stuff so they could go and play football for their mates.
I asked if they were happy – their biggest worry was the fact I’d made them have hot dinners and if I – and I quote – “could be bothered” to make a pack up they could have had a picnic on the field.
At the park last night, Larry – the child who this time last year used to hide in the bra rack at the supermarket so random people wouldn’t “smile at him” (EGO MUCH) approached children from school in different years and classrooms and together from the ages of five through to eleven they played tag.
It’s not just him though, his brother, their friends, children who I don’t know who I hear trying to decide how many packs of trading cards they can afford. They shout hello to each other in the supermarket at the weekend, imessage (!!!) each other notes on their latest game progress, send pictures from holiday.
Not all schools are perfect right now. The system isn’t right, and teachers are battling to do their best, but it’s not all bad. So let’s fight the things we can, but not involve our kids in that. After all, it’s our battle, not theirs, and they’re only at school once, so let’s try and let them enjoy it.