Secondary schools

I have been vaguely pondering on secondary schools…

I have been thinking vaguely about secondary schools recently because rebel daughter is in Year Five. When I say vaguely, it has only consisted of being told by my neighbour the names of some of the secondary schools in the area which aren’t the nearest one and trying to find them and getting hopelessly lost. One sounded like it was in a small picturesque village so we headed out there and I felt sure it would be in the main road and immediately obvious. The small village turned out to be quite big and we couldn’t make out any schools at all.

Yesterday morning I had my first wake-up call. Someone whose son is in Year Six told me the second nearest secondary school, which is around 35 minutes away, costs £1,000 a year in bus fees. Triple that [I have three children] and we’re getting into deep expenses. Add on the fact that they go on "international" trips and we are talking serious money. I know I shouldn’t decide everything based on the bottom line, but most of her friends are going to the local school, which seems perfectly good to me, although several people swear they would only send their children there over their dead bodies. They said that about the primary school they are going to, though…
The big plus factor is that the local secondary school is actually fairly multicultural. Let’s not get carried away here. The primary school has around 10 [I’m being generous here] non-white children. Our children make up a substantial proportion of the 10. I’d really rather they were somewhere where they were a little less vulnerable and "different". What makes a good school, anyway? I spoke to someone the other day who was having their child assessed at age two or three for primary school. I didn’t quite know what to say. Inside my head a little voice was going "Why? Why?"
Are we all so petrified now that we have to force our children to conform to some blueprint of educational [business] success from birth? The powers that be seem to be trying to turn education into some sort of glorified business training course, although fortunately the teachers seem to be resisting. I just hope that the parents also resist. Education is about learning things and opening the world up. It should not be some sort of hamster wheel of misery.

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