In November, you may have recognised a hint of my exasperation what passes for schooling in Puddlecoteville.
As a parent, I am already fully aware of the lackadaisical approach of the state to schooling. Without my intervention, the little Puddlecotes' (by no means dull kids) would quite simply not be fully conversant with their times tables. Other kids in their respective classes aren't because the teaching is expected to be done by the parents during homework whilst more important matters are injected at school. Both little Puddlecotes' (taught in different schools within one LEA) can tell you all about Nelson Mandela, the religious festivals of Islam, the number of chemicals in a cigarette, the effects of alcohol on the body (science class), and most of all, environmental issues.
They haven't been taught capital cities yet, though.
In the last couple of months, the boy has been to the town centre on a school trip to pick up litter to help the environment, the girl has come home after a lesson on water preservation with a bag for the toilet cistern. She has also had a lesson whereby the kids were told to write a letter to the local MP asking for measures to save the planet and she keeps turning the heating off after being told that our staying warm kills people in Africa. Similarly, when I last told the boy to turn the light off when he leaves a room, he eagerly said he had been taught about that at school. "It's to cut down on gas in the air, isn't it Daddy?", he enthusiastically volunteered, "No, it's to bloody save money", said I. And don't get me started on the guilt-laden school concert songs, or choice of non-religious carols for the upcoming Christmas play.
By way of consolation, the elder of the two has just started to learn about the Romans.
By way of update, yesterday the boy described a book his class were reading:
"There's these girls and they have to walk 300 miles and they have to avoid the nasty men who are out to get them"
I hazarded a guess. "Are the girls black?" I asked, yes came the reply, "and are the nasty men white by any chance?", you know the answer. The girl, who is a year older (and attends a different school), piped up excitedly that her class had read that book too - she helpfully informed us that it's called Journey to Jo'burg.
Now, it's no doubt a well-written and heart-warming story, but the constant forceful injection of Guardianista pet fascinations is starting to be very wearing.
Then today the girl, who usually cops a deaf 'un to any talk radio channel, jumped to turn up the volume when weapons grade cocktrumpet, Billy Bragg, who was being interviewed about his weekend gobshitery, mentioned Benjamin Zephaniah - "we're learning about him at school!", she shrieked. Of course she is.
Opening the boy's bag on reaching home, a missive from his school informed me of his curriculum for this term. Including such vital educational cornerstones as ...
Geography: The topic this term is about life in Chembakolli Village in India. We will be using maps to make comparisons and identify features. We investigate Indian patterns in Art.
ICT: The children will learn to use Dazzle to create patterns with symmetry and to use ICT to design Indian patterns.
RE: We will be studying Hinduism, festivals and imagery.
It never ceases.
Meanwhile, I pay a tutor for weekly top ups to their maths so they can FUCKING ADD UP, TAKE AWAY, DIVIDE AND MULTIPLY PROPERLY!
We pay £3,780 per annum for each primary school kid in the country to be taught in the image of an Islington mung bean muncher.
Can't they give it a fucking rest?