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

How to talk to your kids about #Brexit upset

Since last Friday when the results of the EU Referendum on Brexit were announced, the TV, radio, internet and adults seem to be talking about nothing else but Brexit. No matter which way your household voted it is highly likely that your children will be used to furrowed brows, heated discussions, maybe anger or elation, and possibly a fair bit of strong language.

“What’s going on??!!” wrote one friend of my 12 year old daughter’s on her iMessage thread last Friday morning. “Everyone’s going crazy :-(”

Upset & Relief signs Indeed. Many children, both young and teens, are confused, anxious and worried about what this all means. The older ones are angry that they never got to vote yet are all too aware that the older generation voted a different way from how they would have done. The younger ones are genuinely confused:

Mummy,” said my friend’s 8 year old son. “If we do get separated from Europe, will we feel it? Will it feel like an earthquake or something?”

So what do we do or say to allay their fears? Continue reading

Now is the time for leadership – starting with us #Brexit

The shocking result of the referendum last Thursday detonated on Friday morning sending people into either a tail spin of panic, or quiet jubilation.  The unthinkable had happened: the majority (by a hair’s breath) of the British population wanted out from Europe.

As most of my friends were Remain voters, my twitter and Facebook account was full of shock, horror and anger.  None of us really believed it would swing this way.  We knew people were disgruntled, disenfranchised and too ready to listen to disingenuous politicians pointing at migrants as the reason for the lack of GP appointments and school places.  But we didn’t realise it was quite this big, nor that a normally conservative populace would take the radical option, an option that most people had no idea of the full and very real consequences.

And so the proverbial hit the fan.   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

How do you tell the children? Talking to your kids about terrorism

New York, Mumbai, Ottawa, Kabul, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus.  Now Paris.

I love this poignant sketch by French artist Jean Julien in response to the attacks.

Poignant sketch by French artist Jean Julien in response to the attacks.

When most of those cities were hit by appalling acts of terrorism, my children were not old enough to be told, let alone understand.  Now they are 9 and 11yrs.  They are old enough. Continue reading