In a moment of spare thought I realised that if Peanut stays in education until she's 18 I will have been taking my children to school for 31 consecutive years. I suddenly felt very very tired. In all honesty I find education an alien world where I'm constantly feeling disempowered, that might be my insecurity, that might be an interesting essay on power dynamics, systems and knowledge.
Anyway, that's not what I'm blogging about.
We went a looking for a comprehensive school this week, Year 6 is halfway through and we're dithering about looking for blasted schools to move Flossy to for year 7. I put my best pants on and brought my Social Work manbag with me for comfort. I know the drill, you pick the staff not the school and had my radar set to scan.
Fortunately the staff we met were excellent and gave a good account of the schools pastoral/ support team and systems, they even have a qualified Social Worker on site. All good. However, I came away pretty unravelled.
The reality is that fundamentally Flossy's perception of school is that it is unsafe. It's not the schools fault it is a building and educational system that is built on a different paradigm to to the one we inhabit. All the teacher training, support staff, safe places and parent teacher liaisons in the world cannot change how it is fundamentally perceived by Fossy.
If you put a fire guard around a fire it's still a fire. If you're frightened by fire the guard may not remove the fear it may make it manageable.
I walked around the school with Mrs C and imagined I was Flossy and it was a visceral experience. Other children may see it as an adventure, growing up and opportunity and of course that's in the mix for Flossy but it was just daunting and bewildering. 15 and 16 year olds going about their business, children in corridors being disciplined by teachers. School bells and windows and corridors and teachers and crowds and big kids. The knot in my stomach sat with me for a few days, this feeling of me placing Flossy in a place that she will perceive as frightening and bewildering lingers. I feel like a spectator to an event rather than a player.
Time will tell how we fare over the next 5 years.
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