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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lisa and I embarked on yesterday's school trip holding hands and with sweets in our pockets. I suggested that we also attach mittens to our coats with elastic, but in the end we opted for the more adult approach of freezing to death on a hillside. The school in question commands spectacular views over Brighton, but is essentially halfway up a mountain, with a climate more suited to Nepal. I refused to tour the playing fields without Sherpa Tenzing and a pair of snow shoes.

The meeting for prospective new parents was scheduled to start at 2pm, but as luck would have it, Lisa mis-read the instructions and booked us in for one-thirty, giving us the chance to spend half an hour sitting outside the school office next to a life-size painting of Jesus and a collection of tins for the homeless.

When 2pm finally came, we were joined by about fifteen other parents, and treated to a talk by the head teacher, who gave us a copy of the school prospectus, and pointed out some interesting facts. One of the most startling was that 30% of their pupils have English as a second language. I was quite shocked by that, but when I stopped and thought about it, I realised that the same statistic applies to my friends, and it hasn't really held me back. Although I find Canadian quite hard to follow. And let's face it, there are days when Amelie uses words rarely found in any dictionary, so it's probably not a great problem.

Of course, there comes a time when the talking has to stop, and in this case it was 2:30pm. At that point we were joined by the six members of the school council, a group of nine-year-olds who had been elected to a position of power by their peers, and selected to show us around the school. Our personal tour guide was a lovely little boy who informed us that when he grows up he wants to be a rapper, a footballer, a scientist or an inventor, but he hasn't quite decided which yet. I encouraged him to combine the first two and be John Barnes.

Our tour took in a number of interesting displays, including a Year 6 project to learn Microsoft Excel by creating a spreadsheet of their favourite characters from The Hunger Games, and whether they lived or were slaughtered horribly. We also saw displays about tigers, recycling, foreign food, and one boy's trip to London to pray for peace in Palestine. That clearly didn't work. In addition, our guide warned us about the teacher who tends to shout a lot.

So it was quite a useful exercise. I did have a few reservations about one or two aspects of the place, and I regretted heading out into the playground without my thermal underwear, but at the end of the day, it's still our first choice for Amelie's future schooling. And as a bonus they have a daily breakfast club and lots of after-school activities. For a total cost of £10.25 a day, we wouldn't have to see Amelie from 7:45am until 5:30pm. That could be money well spent. If only they'd take Toby as well.


Zed said...

Oh, that's interesting.  Are they likely to be over-subscribed?  Hope Amelie gets in.

Oh blimey, I've been signed out again by disqus, dammit.

Phil's Mum said...

Encourage them to start a nursery.

Lisa said...

They are likely to be oversubscribed, Z. Any tips on charming the Governors?