This week crept up on me, a reminder I had put in my diary of when we would be notified of school places went unnoticed until the week of.
I wasn’t too worried, we live within catchment, their elder sibling attends, and whilst it is a fantastic school as far as Ofsted is concerned, I know parents apply to other schools- to do with feeders for secondary education or a Welsh language preference- but even so.
I had to go into work on Thursday, which meant I was able to drop CM off, so rare and usually an absolute joy, it turned into a meltdown. It was CM’s school trip and the excitement was overtaken by trauma, the letter home had instructed jogging bottoms and wellies, the good weather meant (following consultation on FB with other mums) I had decided on leggings and daps with wellies in a bag (the consensus), CM only wanted to wear her school summer dress. I won the battle but she always has the emotional upper hand to win the war. Arriving at school, dressed in leggings like her best friends a truce was found.
Getting to my meeting, a ping reminder on my diary prompted my thoughts of a decision on B & E’s primary education. After applying online, and forgetting process, I naively expected an email decision, after checking all day it never arrived.
I left work to get to an appointment with CM’s school teacher, this would be a belated parents evening as I had been working away when the scheduled days took place. I got back quicker than expected and bumped into the hubby on the school run. Of course the letters had arrived by post, of course they had been accepted, what was all the fuss about? A sigh of relief, and back to it, picking the boys up with CM on full blast on her return from her school trip. I walked with them to hear their news, before turning back to see the school teacher.
Whilst I am now a parent, I still face parents evening with the feelings I had as a child, what will I hear? How to respond? And now, as a parent I throw in whether I am a responsible parent, whether I am impacting my child’s education, whether I am completely conflicting with the school approach to x, y or z.
And yet, it’s all ok. CM is a ‘good average’, in a class of ‘above average’ children, CM and some of her classmates have already progressed passed the end of year 2 for reading, something I suspected was a strength for CM but is the case, CM is near the same level for maths, which surprised me slightly- recent tests at work have revealed that I am good at maths but I still hate it with a passion, CM is a very creative and artistic child- again reinforcing what we know, and again, reinforcing, her writing is a little messy, but correct in terms of punctuation and spacing.
I am pleased, but I reiterate, for myself and CM’s teacher, this is far beyond what I was at her age, and in many ways beyond comprehensiveness. Growing up, as a child who had learning difficulties means I find benchmarking difficult, I now have an MBA to my name, and various other qualifications, but probably until I was 12 I was deemed in need of supportive measures. For me, encouraging CM’s love of reading is the best I can do. To see her writing, words with more than 8 letters, in year 1, is more than I can comprehend.
But, above all else, and whether I believe it to be a repetitive statement to all parents or not, CM is a well-mannered child, polite, eager to help, eager to please, and eager to contribute, cautious and a little shy, when CM’s contribution is welcomed she involves herself fully.
And, of course, this all offered me a pause to reflect, what I love most, about the school and my children, is that in all the time they have been there- CM since she was 3.5yrs and B & E for the past year, is that they have never not wanted to go to school, they are annoyed when we keep them off for illness, they miss it at the beginning of the holidays, and look forward to it when they are due to return.
I love this about my children and the school. An enthusiasm to be somewhere, a positive outlook, a receptive attitude, in my mind is all it takes to be the best you can be. That the school does not diminish it, that the school take it and nurtures it so continues to be that way.
This Thursday, three bits of mail arrived: letters for B & E confirming they can progress to ‘big school’ and a card for CM, from mummy and daddy, a thank you- for being her, for being her best, and for the compliments we got to hear about her.
Year 1 has not waned CM, not even a little bit.
Nursery has made B & E even more enthusiastic about ‘big school’.
I can’t wait to see this photo as they begin Reception and Year 2.