So here we are at the end of the school year – my son’s first – and it feels as if it has gone by in the blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday I was writing about standing nervously in the playground dropping my little boy at his new school. I joked about the mums in their gym kit in the mornings, all highlights and tans, and of my concern that I wasn’t up to the job of being fabulous in the playground at 9am. Ten months on and the school report is in and I was right, I wasn’t up to it, but I’m learning and progress has been made. It has been a joy, a lot of hard work and a sharp learning curve, but a joy none the less. Those hoards of chatting mums are now people I recognise when I pass them in the street, the catchment area being so tiny that you can’t get very far without bumping into someone connected to the school; there are pros and cons to this of course.
But before I store away the piles of artwork and transport models made from the teachers’ recycling supplies, it’s time to face the music…
Class: Reception – 2014 / 2015
Reading & Writing: Emily has shown a good understanding of the thrice daily emails that come through from the overworked class reps (who put themselves up for the job when they can’t possibly have known the bucketloads of crap that would land in their laps from that day forth) and initially showed promise by responding promptly and positively with offers of support. However, over the course of the school year Emily appears to have become distracted and has clearly failed to read the majority of the emails resulting in missed deadlines and a complete inability to secure a babysitter in time for mums’ nights out.
Mathematics: Emily is not a natural mathematician and never was this more obvious than in the last week of term when she brought in packets of sweets for the whole of the class and overshot by 12 packets (it was the 5 for £1 offer at Asda which did it). Also, if the school bell goes at 9.10am and Emily leaves her flat with her son at 9.09am to walk the 170 metres to school intending to arrive on time, they both need to run the distance. Very Quickly Indeed.
Technology: Four/five year olds attending school in 2015 use computers from day one. Most of them already know how to use iPhones and SkyPlus. That’s modern life. Emily needs to learn to Deal With It. And also to find out what I.C.T. stands for before the start of Year One.
Creative: Emily has appeared in a variety of outfits at school drop-off and pick-up and her footwear is not always appropriate for the sprint required when she is inevitably late. If she has dressed herself sensibly in a coat on a cold windy day then surely it stands to reason her four year old should be similarly attired rather than in his nativity costume from two months before. Crocs are not allowed at school as they are considered a safety hazard however trainers with laces that are constantly undone on a child who does not yet know how to lace them back up again are equally unsafe, not to mention REALLY F****NG ANNOYING FOR THE TEACHER. Please invest in velcro strapped trainers for Year One. Must Try Harder.
P.E. : Emily appears at drop-off on a Friday in her workout gear so she can run around the common. She has done it come rain or shine and can without fail, be relied upon to respond to comments of “Are you off for a run?” with a grimace and “Yes, so I can feel smug and stuff my face at the weekend”. Emily should be aware that she is in danger of being really tedious and should perhaps occasionally run on a Thursday instead.
Overall: Emily has made a satisfactory start in her first year of reception and has proved to be one of the oldest mums in the class. However she should consider that other far younger mums have several more children to deal with than her and they seem to manage just fine. Emily easily descends into silliness and giggling over the (very alpha-male) school caretaker when he is trying to rid the playground of tittle-tattling parents is (we perhaps wrongly assumed) beneath her. We were grateful for her contribution of a colour analysis session worth £150 for our PTFA auction evening which raised over £20,000 but think perhaps she was over sensitive about the misspelling of her name in the program. Who wouldn’t want their surname to be replaced with the name of a small, not very cuddly animal from the weasel family?
It’s been exhausting but fun and because my son has made some lovely new friends, I have met their lovely mummies (great kids = great mums, what are the chances?) They all make better cakes than me (that is to say, they make the cakes in the first place) and they snigger with me about the school caretaker. It’s a drawback that leaving my home without make-up on is no longer an option but then so is living on a road full of boutiques and bars. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. Happy school holidays everyone!