Many of these provide details of the opportunities available for him to attend after school clubs or are in support of a fundraising drive of one sort or another.
It’s usually something along the lines of pay one pound and your child may go to school in dress (often themed) other than the regulation school uniform. For example in the last couple of months there has been a ‘Go dressed as a famous sports personality’ or as last week ‘Go in your pyjamas’.
Occasionally you get questionnaires about how you feel the school is getting on and possible improvements that, from a parent’s perspective, could be made.
So it came as no surprise on Friday to find yet another document requiring completion and return.
But this was a little different to the usual.
Entitled ‘Access to Extended Services through Schools’ it appears to be the first evidence of a local attempt to consult on the implementation of the Government’s ‘pledge’ that by 2010, all children should apparently ‘have access to a variety of activities beyond the school day and that these will give them ‘the opportunity to keep fit and healthy, to acquire new skills, to build on what they learn during the school day or simply to have fun and relax’.
Now the first bit of the form was all about after school activities. What sort of activity would you like to see, how far you would travel to get you kid to the venue, how much would you be prepared to pay etc. This seemed fairly reasonable.
But then on page 2 of the form there was a huge table of thing one may like to school to provide information on or support for.
Some of the ones which caught my eye in particular were;
How to survive parenting – I’ll figure it out
Coping with family arguments – I can already cope with lots thanks.
Healthy cooking on a budget – Buy lots of fruit and veg.
Coping with difficult behaviour – I’m a parent!
Your child’s sexual health – No, a matter for my child, the GP and me. Oh and it’s an infants school. You could understand a possible need at the age of 14. But 6 or 7?
Stopping smoking – Oh it’s a Doctors now is it?
Coping with Truancy – I would have thought that if required this may have been discussed with the school already
Alcohol awareness – I am indeed aware of alcohol
Your child’s mental well being – They’re all as mad as boxes of frogs but quite content thank you.
Benefits advice – Not only a Doctors but a CAB / Job Centre too. Cracking
Coping with finance – And a PFA / Bank
Neighbourhood safety – And the local HQ for a hooded vigilante goon squad
Coping with a baby – I guess if you have a child at infants school you might already have a handle on this.
Drug awareness – I am also aware of several drugs thank you for asking.
Eating disorders – And I like Pies
Interview Skills – Got a job.
Coping with stress – Still got a job, three kids, have to cope on below average wages in one of the more expensive parts of the realm. Think I’ve got that one covered
Adult learning – Never stops
Your mental well being – Just get a bit cross sometimes with all of the forms that the school expects me to complete.
Your sexual health – Oh now hang on a minute. Is this the most appropriate institution to discuss these matters?
By now I was actually getting a bit cross with the whole thing.
Firstly whilst this may attract additional funding for the school I would rather that they were left alone to concentrate on the core educational requirements of the children (particularly my own) who attend there. Not to try to turn the school into a one stop shop sticking plaster for any of the ills or whinges that may afflict me.
Because all of this additional information and support, if I needed it, is already available through other agencies. I want the Fred and later his younger siblings to be able to read, write and spell correctly. I don’t (presumably) want their head teacher having to administer the provision of information that tells me how to fill in a CV, that I must ingest my 5 bits of vegetation a day or that smoking (which I don’t) would make me morally equivalent to Pol Pot.
This is no more than a hunch but you can envisage a scenario where schools that don’t offer all of this nonsense may start to feel their core budgets squeezed. Also if this scatter gun approach is valid than why shouldn’t hospital staff be able to provide individuals with advice on ironing their school trousers or details on the best way to cheat to get good scores in their SATs tests.
Also if this scatter gun approach is valid than why shouldn’t hospital staff be able to provide individuals with advice on ironing their school trousers or details on the best way to cheat to get good scores in their SATs tests.
Mrs G said that it might be because it would give vulnerable people easier access to general information. I suggested that because someone is vulnerable it doesn’t make them stupid and if they want information it’s readily available already.
All one has to do is look for it.