Thursday, 14 August 2014

going back to school

Visiting Lindisfarne castle in Northumberland
I love spending time with my kids. They're great people, and it's lovely to have a whole summer holidays worth of lazy mornings, day trips, and picnics. Oh and plenty of castles too. We've had lots of time to find out about all the fun things there are to do around here (not that we've done them all yet), and just got back from a family holiday to Northumberland.

But add to that the bickering, the whining, the refusal to get dressed or leave the house (even though they enjoy themselves once they're out), and the cry of the overtired child, not to mention having no time at all to get anything done (which might be a slight exaggeration), and you can see why I'm so very glad that they're going back to school.

I'm lucky though. The children have joined a great school here in Largs, where they've made good friends, and the teachers have been supportive of them. We've only heard good things about their teachers this year as well, so it's easy to look forward to school. Sadly, the buildings and playground are past their best, and the food since the council closed the kitchen is diabolical.

I am delighted, therefore, that the council are considering making a super school. I really hope that it goes ahead and that all the Largs schools go into it. I understand that there are some queries being raised about St Mary's, but all the schools are Christian schools (much as I wish faith was kept totally out of schools), and our children will all benefit from increased opportunities to play together.

We used to live in Moffat, which has a fabulous all through school, from nursery to 18. There is one big building which is divided into two wings – the big side is the secondary school, the small side is the primary school, and there's an extra bit on the side of that, which is the nursery.

Having everyone together in Moffat means that although the age groups rarely meet, sports facilities, some outdoor facilities, and a dedicated canteen can be shared, so PE never has to be cancelled for assembly practice and the food is great. Moffat offers childcare qualifications for older kids who can do their practice in the nursery. Also the older kids run the younger kids discos so they are a lot cooler than they might otherwise be!

Moffat Academy got a new building a few years ago, which is sleek, modern, and adaptable. It's also got a covered, sheltered (ish) waiting area for parents, which would be a welcome change to standing outside Brisbane in the 3pm rain. Moffat also built in lots of bike racks to its new building, and this assumption that kids would cycle or scoot to school bore real fruit.

Of course, there'll be some things to work out. The idea at the moment seems to be that all the schools would be contained in one area with some shared facilities. This might make sense in the short term, but I'd hope that in the long term the whole school could be called Largs Academy. As for mottoes, I am particularly partial to Brisbane Primary's: AIM HIGH.

The big kids are back to school on Monday.  The little girl will have to have a couple of weeks off with her broken arm.  Pants.

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