The strait-jacket of the State just got tighter: UK Supreme Court Ruling against Jon Platt & school absence

Jon Platt speaking outside UK Supreme Court today (taken from his FB page Jon Platt – School Fines Refunds

Reading the news today that the valiant Isle of Wight father, Jon Platt, lost his case in the UK Supreme Court comes as a sickening, if hardly surprising, blow to ordinary, law-abiding parents.

Mr Platt bravely fought the state on its insistence on fining him for removing his daughter for one week so they could go to Disney, because his daughter had been ‘regularly attending’ school having a 92% attendance rate. According to High Court rulings between 1969-2006, he said, this could be defined as ‘regular’. But no longer.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who’ve had children in State school for more than 5 years. In that time, we’ve felt the tightening of the strings on the strait-jacket that school has become. Firstly, the imposition of fines for parents who take their children out without permission in 2013, the connection of attendance rates with Ofsted ratings and the de facto removal of the Head’s authority to grant up to 10 days absence per child. Continue reading

Parenting ‘quiet’ kids: with the help of Susan Cain and Quiet Revolution

My daughter, and son, are both ‘quiet’ kids.   I know that sounds like an oxymoron.  The words ‘quiet’ and ‘child’ aren’t exactly two words you’d put together, right?  What I mean is, they’re not boisterous, loud, on the go, ‘out there’ kids.  We all know those.  And they’re most likely extroverts.QuietRevQuote

Ok, my son definitely has his moments when he can’t stop talking and can be very very funny.  But overall, and most definitely out in public, they’re both reserved, deferent of adults, the last to start a conversation. Basically, quiet.   This doesn’t mean they’re not sociable.  On the contrary, they love company; they were never the type of child to hide behind my legs when someone came to the door.  But when in company, they will always be the responders, not the initiators.

In this respect they are their father’s children.  Put it this way, if you met me and my kids without my husband, you’d wonder if I’d adopted them. My extrovert, talk-to-anyone personality is what prompts the regular label of ‘Embarrassing Mum’!

So it’s not hard to imagine my delight at stumbling upon the website Continue reading

(End of Primary) School Report

Best Teacher cardMy daughter is about to leave primary school.  It’s an emotional time for us all, but particularly me as I know how she has thrived in the small, relatively cosy environment that she has enjoyed for the past 7 years.  My nerves about secondary school are probably greater than hers, but they’re mixed in with a nice dollop of excitement too.  More on that in another post!

We received her report the other day, her last one for this era.  I honestly don’t think I could’ve read a better, more glowing report.

Forget the SATS results, the new ‘Working Above, At or Towards age related’ levels system that the government have introduced, forget how well she’s progressed in ‘working mathematically’ or in ‘reading with understanding’.  Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t bad, in fact, far from it she’s done incredibly well.  But what jumped off the page for me were the teacher’s general comments: Continue reading

Dreading the Summer Holidays? Think again….

“The clock, for all its precision in measurement, is a blunt instrument for the psyche and for society” Jay Griffiths

Two years ago, I wrote this post as the summer holidays drew to a close.  If I’d read the newspaper article that inspired it earlier, I most definitely would have posted it before the holidays: it’s a fantastic reminder of the priceless value of down time that the 6 week break brings and that our kids so desperately need.  So, for those of you feeling a tight knot in your stomach building as the term draws to a close, read on! It won’t make the sibling spats and interruptions every 60 seconds any easier, but it will help you see value in those 6 weeks…. Continue reading