Back to School

After a few days going through endless lists, and making seemingly endless trips to stationers, school clothes suppliers, sporting goods stores and so on, the children returned to school this morning.

Miss 14 returns to “Year 10”. I’m never going to be completely comfortable with the year numbering system - when I grew up the year numbers reset at Junior school, and at Comprehensive school - her 10th year would have been my 4th year. She has two years now until exams, and then college. As far as I understand, the government is leaning heavily on preventing children from leaving school at 16, so she will almost certainly carry on into college education. At the moment she is following her nose in the same manner I did at her age (and into my twenties) - she has no idea what she want’s to do with her life, or even what she might be most interested in or talented at. She has now “taken her options”, meaning she has dropped the subjects she wasallowed to drop. I think I’m right in saying that there are five compulsory exam subjects (English, Maths, etc), and four elective exam subjects (Art, Media Studies, Computer Science, etc).

Miss 11 returns to “Year 7” - which would have been “1st Year” for me. She moves from Junior school to Comprehensive school, and the nerves have been building throughout the summer. She moves from a school of perhaps two hundred children to a school of one and a half thousand - the school that will see her through to her college education in six years time. Compared to the school she has known, it’s going to seem like a self contained city - with lecture theatres, gymnasiums, astroturf football pitches, and a maze of buildings stretching in all directions.

Miss 10 returns to “Year 6” - her final year of Junior school. This year she is on her own - her sister has moved on. We suspect this year may be the making of her, for all sorts of reasons. She has battled through a number of developmental delays in her early school life, and is just starting to wake up - surprising us continually with progress in all sorts of ways. She has always made friends easily, has always been the most compliant, and has always been the happiest of the three. We worry for her while she drifts along - seemingly without a care in the world.

Of course the morning couldn’t goentirely to plan. With minutes left before leaving the house, Miss 14 retreated to her room to do whatever it is that teenage girls do before leaving the house. After many shouts, threats, and repeated shouts and threats, she eventually came back down stairs - looking the same as she had when she disappeared. The result - everybody else was late out of the house, and we didn’t get a chance to take the “back to school” photo of them all in their new uniforms.

Fingers crossedthe dinner table will be filled with excitable stories this evening.