Back to school workarounds

Back to school day felt very, very long, mainly because it was full of a series of logistical problems. Yes, it’s back to the logistics hamster wheel.

Tired woman pouring coffee


And they’re back! Just about. Only son was due back yesterday. At around 11am I got a call from my mum. Did I know that his school was on The List? That’s the RAAC list. There had been nothing from the school I assured her. She cited multiple websites and the Mirror as evidence. Oh dear. Sometimes I think my mum knows more about my life than I do. I just don’t have the time. On Wednesday I virtually didn’t move from my seat due to back to back meetings. Everyone seems to want to do strategy in the first week of September.

I kept checking my emails, but there was nothing. I checked Edulink, one of the burgeoning number of school-based apps, and asked only son, who was getting increasingly excited by the prospect of not going back to school. Nada. It was getting late and Thursday was already looking like a logistical nightmare without the prospect of more homeschooling supervision [only son only seems to do work when someone is watching. Otherwise he is creating amazing computer games things which, on the plus side, draw substantially on maths and could, at a push, be considered schoolwork]. I had a London meeting, followed by a Cambridge one.

It was looking tight because I would have to do school drop-off, park miles from the station, sprint down the hill and then spend one hour max in London before hightailing it back home to pick up the car and drive to Cambridge. I feel sometimes – often – that I am getting too old for this kind of thing. Anyway, at some point in the week daughter three announced that she had a job interview in a difficult to get to spot at lunchtime on Thursday. NOOOOOOOOO. I looked up bus timetables as my partner was on duty all day and couldn’t move. At a push I could drop her at a nearby village and she could get to the place she is interviewing at – it’s a barista job in a butcher’s apparently. Daughter three isĀ  vegetarian, but she said she might be willing to do it if the money was ok. That was before she got there. It was in the middle of nowhere and her interview involved a tour of fridges full of animal heads and innards. The job is 40% barista and the rest seems to be meat packaging. Not entirely the best job for a committed veggie.

It was getting late and I had already pulled out of the London meeting. I looked at the council’s website. Sure enough only son’s school was on there. It said something along the lines of using temporary classrooms. The good news was that the school already had temporary classrooms because the sixth form roof was in danger of falling in earlier in the year. It emerged later on Thursday that in fact the RAAC was in the sixth form roof and has been dealt with at the time so our school was ahead of the game. Hence they got a visit from the Education Secretary, which absolutely passed only son by. Asked how school went, he said ‘ok, don’t want to talk about it’ in typical enthusiastic vein.

To be fair, he was probably exhausted, having got up way earlier than normal on Thursday. Unfortunately, he hadn’t tried on the trousers I got him at the supermarket beforehand. Apparently they are slim fit for girls. Oops. Luckily he still fits into last year’s trousers. Crisis averted. On the way to school I noted a sign saying the road to the school would be closed for a week, involving an extensive detour. Do they actually wait for schools to go back to close the roads? I am sorting the quickest alternative route. My whole life is built on workarounds in any event. Maybe that’s a necessary skill these days.

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