Category Archives: School

Parking Again

Parking at the school seems to go from bad to worse.  The head teacher sends out regular reminders and this morning she was out there checking herself.  Even so, I regularly see a lot of bad, inconsiderate and dangerous parking.

The bus stop parking goes on.  Different people this year I think mostly.  I heard one father joking about how he had parked at the bus stop (because that’s a really funny thing to laugh about isn’t it?).    It seems to be a bit of a man thing to park there.  More men than women do it and given that more women do the pick up, it does stand out a bit.

Zigzag parking goes on too.  One woman I’ve seen dropping her kids off on the zigzags twice. Given that I tend to avoid going around that side because that sort of thing annoys me, I’m inclined to think she does it most days.  I know she’s not someone who is very considerate of others because she was regularly letting her kids run around the gardens of the neighbouring flats.  The gardens are very manicured and not suitable for a boisterous boy to be running around.  I’m glad her kids aren’t in my son’s year because I wouldn’t want my child mixing with them.

It’s all a bit silly and laughable because there is loads of free, easy parking available if you are prepared to walk a minute or two.  I do wonder if some parents still have the use of their legs, or if they have withered away due to lack of use.  I hate the fact that the lack of consideration is getting worse because it doesn’t bode well for the state of our future society.  A little thoughtfulness goes a long way and is appreciated, plus it’s so easy to do.

New Maths Methods

I do get the idea of teaching children different strategies for maths.  I don’t think having more than one way of working things out, especially for mental maths does any harm.  I can also see that some children might do better for different strategies than others.

The thing is that by the end of Year 5 they have to know the old-fashioned way that all the parents were taught at school.  I know in my son’s case it would have meant a lot less stress if we had gone straight to that.  How he hated number lines.  So did I to be truthful.  They seemed pointless and he hated having to draw all the lines.  Doing sums with a number line took 3 or 4 times as long as other ways.  Often he’d already done the sums in his head before he picked up the pencil.  It was just silly.  Maybe some children like them, but I remain to be convinced.

The grid method is one I personally loathe.  I spent an hour of my life on YouTube trying to work out a way of using it with decimals.  I don’t know if you can.  I still don’t.  Everyone doing their nice little YouTube tutorials picked nice easy sums.  We didn’t have any problems doing the easy ones, we wanted help with the difficult ones.  It wasn’t there.  I gave up and taught my son long multiplication.  It worked.

That’s the thing.  It works.  Once you have learnt it, you will have that skill for life.  It works every time and can cope with whatever you throw at it.  And in any case they’ll use a calculator for the really complex stuff.  Why not just teach long multiplication and if some kids don’t get it you can teach them something different? Then they’ll be able to do long multiplication in Year 3 or 4 rather than Year 5 and can move onto something else.

Hair Styles And Back To School

The other day we were out and I saw a primary school age child with those ‘hair tattoos’.  You know the sort of thing where they have a pattern shaved into their hair.  It was still sharp and clear as if recently done, but he was likely to be going back to school soon.  Now it might be that his school don’t mind that sort of thing or that he isn’t at school for some reason, but most schools don’t like them.

Every year in September we hear stories of parents up in arms because their child has the wrong hair do (or the wrong shoes or whatever) and there is some sort of school sanction about the problem hairstyle/clothes/shoes.  I never understand why.  Surely if you are doing something out of the ordinary, you check the rules first and don’t complain later.  Usually the rules are pretty clear and if there is any doubt, you can give the school a ring before school breaks up.  Or do something at the start of the holidays so that it has the chance to grow out, wash out before back to school.  It seems pretty simple to me.  Am I missing something?

Some of the rules are silly and others you might simply disagree with, but the rules are what they are.  Either campaign to change them if you feel strongly about them or put up with them.  Don’t encourage your child to break the rules or give in to pressure to buy unsuitable clothes, just stick to the guidelines and save yourselves the hassle of being picked up on it.  It also sets a decent example to your children for the future.  Obviously some parents will ignore the rules anyway and they are probably the same bunch who park illegally outside the school.

MOT Karma

Now we walk to school every day and on the odd occasion that we don’t, usually because we are dashing off somewhere, I park a couple of minutes walk from the school (somewhere legal that I can park considerately).  I know from observation and the school newsletter that a fair few don’t.  It’s a problem at a lot of schools isn’t it?

This week on our local Facebook page, something unfolded that had me laughing my head off.  Someone parked once too often in front of a women’s dropped kerb drive so they could pick the kids up from school.  To make matters worse they laughed at her when she took them to task.  She took her revenge on Facebook.

Pictures of the car went up and the number plates were there for all to see.  It wasn’t done in a nasty way, but it was done by a lady who had had enough.  Someone who knew the culprit tagged them in and the drama kicked off.  There were demands to take the pictures down and screams about loss of privacy and even talk of ‘what if I was in the witness protection programme (of course, the answer to that is if you were, you wouldn’t have behaved in a way that drew attention to yourself).  You’ll note it was all about what you have done to me and there was no apology to be seen.

Then, and this is the bit that really tickled me, someone else said they’d checked the government website and this vehicle had no MOT.  They posted the screen shot.  I was howling with laughter. There was an indignant post saying that they had a full MOT and that it had gone in that day to be done.  Not many people really believed that, as it seemed unlikely when the MOT had expired in March. It all went quiet then and there was still no apology.

I checked the government site a few days later and the car has an MOT now, but it was tested the day after all this action took place.  Now the cynic in me thinks they have been driving around for about 2 months in a car without an MOT, which presumably means their insurance is invalid and of course the car might have a serious fault (it apparently failed at its first test so there was something).  I know an MOT is only a snapshot and I guess you could forget about it, although my garage does remind me.

I guess there are just some selfish people out there who don’t care if they park in front of people’s drives and don’t care if there car has the legal necessities.  Plus they are happy enough to drive their kids around in said car.  At least in this case I think everyone, who knows this family, will now know how considerate or not they are.

Overlooked?

My son is a good boy and a bright boy,.  He’s never in trouble to speak of at school: never been sent to the head and we’ve never been called in.  At parents’ evening we get told every time that he’s attentive and a hard worker.  He’s doing well. You’d think with all that going for him he’d be well rewarded at school wouldn’t you? But, you’d be wrong.

They have a certificate scheme at school to reward children.  The idea is that if you work hard or do something good, you get a certificate.  The thing is that so far this year my son has about 8 certificates.  You have to have 30 or more to get any sort of recognition (beyond the certificate itself) and more to get the better ‘prizes’ within the scheme.  It doesn’t look likely that he’ll get even close.  It had crossed my mind to wonder which paragon of virtue might have got those sort of figures, but I hadn’t worried about it.

As I say, I wasn’t that fussed about that until I realised that children who don’t behave as well and don’t try as hard, often seem to have more certificates.  Not just a few more either.  They seem to get given certificates if they do work hard or behave to encourage them, but day in day out hard work and good behaviour don’t stand out and aren’t rewarded in the same way.  Of course, this sends out the wrong message and makes good children feel aggrieved.  I do think these schemes have value, but you have to make sure that you give out certificates to all the children that deserve them.  If you implement a system like this, you have to work hard at making sure you are rewarded those who deserve an accolade.  Those paragons of virtue need to get the rewards and not the little pain in the neck who manages to be well behaved one day a week.