Thursday 5 March 2009

Responsible parenting

Last night was open evening at the boy's school. Parents and pupils of the Lower Fourth (public school talk I'm afraid, and sorry no idea what that is in the real world...he's half way through his third year). We were summoned as part of the process to choose GCSE's...although we've had the form for a couple of months now.

But it was a chance to listen to a very stiff master explain everything in the minutest detail. All the children (Children? most of them tower way over me) take 10 GCSEs. And not more. And they can only take the courses on offer. Evidently it's all about texturing. Which I've translated as this is the best way of ensuring the school achieves the best grades irrespective of what pupils and parents might want. Still no reason to be petty about it eh?

After the short speech, we all had the opportunity of visiting the sixth form common room where each subject had an exhibition stand. There was also wine and nibbles on offer to sustain us through the evening.

What I hadn't expected was that each teacher was desperately flogging their wares. I dread to think of the atmosphere in the staff room before and afterwards. Even the Reverend was pitching RE as the best foundation for a legal's all about morals you see. Not that I can see any relevance to the legal profession myself.

I should now point out that the boy had firmly decided his options a couple of months ago, so he decided to treat it as a social event. Not to be outdone, I thought I should too, so headed to the bar, where I spent the evening pouring a fine red wine (well the fees are high enough to pay for it) down my throat. I should now also point out that I'm not much of a drinker. So I was enjoying myself....and did manage to engage one or two of the teachers and plenty of other worried looking parents in animated conversation. Though never about geography or history or Latin, or anything else which vaguely resembled academia.

The boy came over and suggested I "chat up...erm I mean chat to" his German teacher. At this point I should also mention that she had once attended an Old Boys dinner, and two of us had mistaken her for a girl that had been at the school at the same time as us. She had been HOT STUFF. In our drunken stupor we failed to notice that she was in her twenties, a couple of decades off the age she would be if she really was HOT STUFF. So we had engaged in earnest chatting up mode, as if we were still 14. She humoured us and has continued to do so ever since. Foolishly I had told the boy this story. And I'm glad to say she continued to humour me last night.

So the evening passed in a jolly way. The boy claims that in true St Trinians fashion the headmaster (she doesn't use the term mistress)was sozzled too..I'm not so sure. But given my head this morning I'm probably not in a position to judge.

The boy escorted me home with me keeping in a pretty straightish line. I'm pretty sure I didn't disgrace myself. I think.

Anyway its a great school. Really.


  1. I wish open evenings were like that at Kay's school!!!

  2. Yes, the odd glass or two would have made our Y9 (that's the state-school equivilent) options evenings a great deal more enjoyable for the staff, too. We had the competing stalls (and as a former Head of RE I can vouce for the chaplain's sales pitch - it's the use of and creation of argument in modern RE that helps lawyers!) and some colleagues would resort to underhand tactics. There'd be winners and losers, and some subjects went bust. BUt as far as I can remember, nobody was paiud off with an enormous pension.

  3. and now for the correction...
    Write out one hundred times, Dotterel!

  4. Dotterel:
    That is what happens when you've had a few!

  5. yes- this rings lots of bells with me. Such as noticing that teenager's geography teacher is rather hot..
    And drinking the lovely wine and eating the canapes at school events to make myself feel better about the fees... and experiencing the hard sell of the music teacher who suggested teenager really should consider music GCSE. ( I would need a thumb screw and an electric cattle prod to do this as as starter...).
    Yes- all very familiar, and I really enjoyed every minute of reading it.
    And... I think the school is totally brill.


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