The Leaving Book: Update

For those asking on Twitter and Facebook, the book did indeed get signed.

Elder had a chat to the Head, who was baffled, and who over ruled the tit who had an issue with me and my family being not middle class enough for them  it (although the fact they were too lazy to do a book themselves, heard about it, then moaned says it all for their intelligence level frankly).

It did exactly what I wanted it to do, the book. It stopped Mini being as upset as she would have been had she not had some, absolutely lovely, messages from her closest mates to distract her. 

What I found sad was how few of anyone grown up actually said good bye or good luck, bar the few who have always just been damn normal human beings who chatted to us regardless. The type who don’t look over your shoulder while they chat to you. The type who don’t foist their opinions on you about stuff that has nothing to do with them.

The thing is, with that school, Mini has had it leave two types of mark on her. The first is very happy memories of her close pals, who she will undoubtedly miss, and who, via the medium of giving out our number to a chosen few, she and Littlest will hopefully still keep in contact with. She has passed exams, she is a clever kid, as is Littlest, despite being written off by a few who failed to look beyond his illnesses and his time off school. 

To be fair, exams don’t fuss me at this age. They are hardly likely to go for an interview one day and have someone say that down to not passing an exam when they are six they can’t follow their dreams. Exams, by design are more to see how good the teachers are teaching, not how clever my children are.

However, that said, the fact Littlest passed his phonics screening felt like a massive achievement for him, bearing in mind how at the beginning of the year, down to him being kept behind for months and thus being half a year behind his peers,(something we felt bullied into)  he was written off straight away and given books with no words despite being more than able to read and write at home.

The sad, and second mark Mini has is of being bullied and it falling on deaf ears.

This one child made not just her life hell but most of her class and a few in the other classes too. No matter how many times I tried to get others to go as a group to complain, no one else could be bothered. They were quick enough to sign up for making cakes and helping with trips, something which no doubt made them look good. It made me mad and baffled that women who would berate each other, and who were so competitive when it came to their kids, so forceful of them doing educational stuff, would happily allow one kid to make their lives appalling. Are their kids nothing but show off material to them?

I was thus on my own when it came to the battle to stop Mini coming home with bruises and scrapes and the damage it caused to her confidence. Even when not at school, she would bring the child involved up. And woe betide telling the school you wanted to speak to his dead behind the eyes Mother, apparently that was deemed unacceptable too.

I doubt its all schools, in fact I know its not, but sometimes I think certain parent’s and their wishes outweigh others. Its such an outdated way to run things, were X child gets preferential treatment due to his Mum’s involvement in the PTA, and Y child is over looked time and time again. It was the same with the Leavers assembly yesterday, same old faces doing the readings, rest of the kids may as well not exist. Maybe its a church school thing? I don’t know!

It should be a case that each child and parent is treated on an equal footing, and I hope (and from spending time with the new school and the welcoming attitude received on Facebook on asking a local group what the school is like) that that is the new schools way.

It certainly wasn’t that way at their old school, and I was far from the only, ignored by the staff and the snobs who felt they run things there, parent to voice anger at the running of the school.

That said, not everyone in our old town is a snotty idiot with too much time on their hands. We have some great mates we made over our time there. These are the people that made life bearable, the like minded people who liked us for who we were, not what they thought we were. 

You cannot at any point favour one over others, and I was never in the position of asking for that to happen. It was a sodding book, with about 8 pictures in, that made a 7 year old leaving everything she knows behind, happy.

And at the end of the day, what type of individual would deny that? 

***And in a rare move for me, comments are closed down to a persistent troll. Who will be reported to the necessary online people if need be **** 

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Is It Just Me: Or Do Some School Gate Mums Need Reminding Its the Kids at School, Not the Parents?

This post should have a mammoth  gif that has a red alert warning on it. Unfortunately, I’m yet to manage the wonders of the gif so you’ll have to picture it in your mind instead.

I make no apologies for ranting and possibly swearing in this post, so if you aren’t keen on rants, look away now.

As you know, we have left Maiden-Snoot for good, and have gone off fourteen miles down t’road.No, they don’t talk like farmers where we are but its homely and villagey and bohemian and nice. The t’road was meant to encompass that warm fuzzy feeling.

Unfortunately, despite everything else having moved, the school hasn’t, and we’re stuck driving (OK, Elder, stop pulling a face, you’re stuck driving whilst I sit on my arse admiring the view) 28 miles twice a day to drop them off.

Its costing a bomb, and has caused nothing but grief as its not good for Littlest to be in a car and up early every day for long distances. Its not good for Elder’s slipped disk either, and in this heat, its a bloody nuisance.

Regardless, Mini and Littlest want to make the most of being at the school as no doubt, come tomorrow at 2.15, I shall need a man sized box of snot rags due to the floods of tears both of them will be in, and their mates too.

You see, they have a lovely set of friends, who they have become quite close to. Sadly, despite the kids being lovely, and with a few exceptions, most of their Mums are ignorant, self important toads.

Yes, I’ve said it. Self important, snobbish, ignorant and condescending toads at that.

I don’t have to see them after tomorrow, and I’m over the freaking moon at that. They have mostly gone out of their way to be ignorant to me, simply as they spoke to me a couple of times and then on realising I’m not an up my own arse, middle class bore with high up aspirations,  and that I wont be any good for social climbing, I was dismissed. Unless they wanted to up the quota to pay for their Christmas dinner. 

Oh, I’ve had snide looks, I know I’ve been chatted about. I know one of them, the leader, the Queen Bee (self appointed I may add) is on occasion downright nasty to my kids cos she can’t stand me and I have, on occasion been forced to sarcastically respond the odd time she has deemed it necessary to grace me with an unwarranted opinion. Like telling Littlest we “over exaggerate” his allergies. 

The thing is, they can kiss me arse as I walk out the door.

I have no issue with lifeless twats like these. Frankly, I pity the sad unfulfilled lives they must lead that being some “Mum Army” of Mum-upmanship, and all dressing in gym kits (with various degrees of success) on the same day becomes the highlight of their lives. As for being a part of it, hell to the no my friends. I hate in blogging the types who are nice to everyone’s face but love nothing more than bitching to all and sundry about everyone over private messages.

With this crew, they are so saccharine sweet to each other’s faces, and nasty as sin behind each other’s backs, it makes the mind boggle. Yes, because, get them on their own or in small groups away from the Queen Bee, and they can be OK to chat with. They do, however love to be as unkind and critical of each other behind each other’s backs as they are no doubt about the likes of me out of ear shot.

I find it hilarious, but Queen Bee has gone too bloody far this time, and as a swipe against me, she is basically picking on Mini.

Out of the two, Mini is by far the most upset at losing her mates come September. So, I decided to make a memory book, of photos of her and her mates.

It took me a bit of time but it was worth it. I asked the school was it OK to come along to the Leavers Disco on Friday, and take some snaps. I was told they’d need to to ask the PTA (or the Parent’s Talking out their Arse society as I shall now nickname it), and they’d ask them to let me know either way.

Except no one did. Queen Bee is part of it, but the leader is a very quiet woman, who went out of her way to avoid me even glancing at her and locking eyes.

So I thought, fuck it. I’m there Friday anyway to pick up Littlest, I shall just get me snaps and go.

Which I did, and lovely they were too. I didn’t force anyone, Mini went over and grabbed who she wanted, which amounted to about 8 photos and off I went.

No one said anything from the little gang of that firm. 

I then tried to hand it, sneakily, to her lovely teacher yesterday to be told someone had complained that it wasn’t fair on the other kids to do a book for Mini.

The thing is, the school hasn’t done a book, they haven’t bought it, paid for it or supplied the pictures. I have. I have made it, just as any other Mum or Dad could’ve made it for their kid. It wouldn’t take up time, I was just giving it to the teacher so the few kids in it could write a little bye bye message. Most of her mates were in on it. Mini, however,was not, she thought that I was simply taking snaps as I always do.

So, who complained?

It’s fairly obvious, and several of us normal parent’s agree that, as usual, petty behaviour has come to the forefront of the school, unchecked.

The thing is, yes, all the kids in Year 2 are leaving the school. But 99% are going to the next school up the road, or one in Maidenhead. Mini is not. 

Elder did a sly rant to a Dad this morning in front of Queen Bee and apparently she couldn’t look him in the eye. Only she would be petty and self important enough to pull that off. None of the other parents had an issue at all and according to the Head it didn’t come from the school and they had no issue with it.

Thank God we got out of that god forsaken pit of a town. It makes Stepford look bloody normal.

What would you do readers?

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks School Attendance Nazi’s Have Gone too Far?

School is important, that’s a fact, and of course, missing days is a cause for concern. 

These days, all schools expect pupils to achieve a yearly average of 95% attendance. Such is the importance of this number, that new laws came into force last year to say that all absences must be worthy of the amount of time off from studies they cause.

However, what constitutes an authorised, and acceptable reason to be off school?

As usual, whereas many schools exercise sense and will allow pupils lee way for special circumstances, others are just taking the piss.

Take this story in the Mirror of 11 year old Maddie Stevens, who was banned from her schools end of year Leavers Dinner due to not having the prized 100% attendance (bearing in mind the government’s 95% rule).

Why did Maddie miss out?  Did her parent’s let her bunk off? Did they go on the much maligned and debated mid term holiday to cut costs?

No. 

She went to her Mother’s funeral. In fact, Maddie had only that day off despite losing her Mum, as she wanted to be as normal as possible and get on with life. 

This isn’t the first time a child or family have been demonised and held up as poor examples of parenting over a funeral or spending time with a dying loved one. In recent months stories have appeared in newspapers of parent’s taken to court and given a criminal record and massive fines for taking time out for family who are dying or their funerals.

Yes, there needs to be less time off for frivolous reasons, but there also needs to be a line drawn under what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable absence.

The other issue is children like Littlest, who have lots of time off at different times of the year due to illness. We nearly incurred the wrath of the Education people in January. I had to justify why Littlest is absent a lot between October and April. To someone I had never met and who had seen Littlest on a list and had then decided to treat me like a criminal, demanding a meeting without even a nod to his illnesses at all.

Yes, I was angry, and frankly I felt like the school had let us all down as they have always been told and given letters from his consultants to prove what we say. 

Even now, a letter came home last week suggesting the school is now looking through everyone’s attendance ad should they decide a fine and court date will be winging its way in due course. No doubt that will be in my letterbox soon as there seems to be no full guidelines regards situations such as Littlest’s.

At the moment, we travel 28 miles twice a day to get to school and back, but that will cut no slack.

I say stick to kids whose parent’s can’t be bothered to get them up and out and who value an easy life over their kids future. And don’t even get me started on the double standards of Teacher strikes or those who disappear on holiday themselves.

To my mind, in a time when school’s are having their budgets cut, these “any excuse to fine is valid” attitude of some authorities makes school fines the education version of the speed camera. Where does this money go? Why is there no legislation so every school has the same rules?

Yes, education is the foundations of the rest of the child’s life. But please, before you bring in sweeping change, work out who really needs the swift kick up the arse of a fine and leave those like Maddie alone.

Go On A Bear Hunt and Break a Record for RNIB

I love Michael Rosen, and in fact I’m now trying to pass on my childhood love of him to both the Brats. Michael was one of my writing heroes and influences as a kid and Going on a Bear Hunt, co written with Helen Oxenbury, was always a particular favorite.


Its staggering to hear but its now 25 years since Michael and Helen published the ever popular verse- I know right, does that make you feel as old as me?
To celebrate, Michael and the publishers of the story Walker Books is linking up with the RNIB to try and break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Reading Lesson on the 15th July.
If you’d like to join in and help, you can donate some much needed funds to this worthwhile cause, and of course you can join in too, right from this blog!
Its definitely something I will be watching and reading to my kids as always- the best ones are always the oldies!
To watch, either go to http://www.jointhebearhunt.com/RNIB, or you can pop back here on Tuesday from 10am as I’m streaming the live feed.

Remember to tweet using the hashtag #Bearhunt, and check out whether there is a live read along in your area, and of course, the read along is fully accessible to blind and hard of hearing fans too.

Enjoy!