Return to being British, gently seething while not complaining


I think I may have reached my complaints quota for the year – or possibly even the entire duration of primary school education.

By nature, I am not a public complainer. I’m a British introvert and don’t like uncomfortable situations, atmospheres or rocking boats.

Despite this, over the past decade or so I have become more adept at complaining when I really feel something needs to be said. Restaurants, companies and government departments have all received verbal or written messages of protest when I’ve felt the situation required it.

And then there’s school.

I remained fairly quiet about things I didn’t like to begin with. New school, new parent-of-child-at-school-itis, trying to work out what was normal, expected and approved of by the general parent mass.

Then things happened…

Like my eldest daughter managing to talk her form tutor and headteacher around to letting her wait to meet me in a completely different place after a school disco, despite the school making it clear that all parents should collect their kids from a single pickup point.

Or clarifying (not complaining about) the really ambiguous letter outlining the summer term school social trip.

Or being rather irritated at the school cancelling a trip the day before it was due to happen because they hadn’t properly planned staffing levels.



Or wondering at why it was appropriate to use a highly sexualised pop song as part of a Year 2/3 school assembly.

I think I’ve reached my limit, given the terseness and tone of replies which suggest I really shouldn’t be making an issue of such things.

Perhaps they’re right.

After all, it does come across as a school where “our way is right”.

At least I take encouragement (mixed with a dash of trepidation) that the majority of a child’s education actually comes from parents and other trusted figures outside school.

In no way am I playing down the abilities of teachers – and there are some fantastic ones around – or suggesting I can teach the finer points of every academic subject they learn.

What I’m saying is that many important life skills, morals, ways of behaving, compassion, relationship building, and learning to love and respect people, is not primarily sourced from school.

It comes from the home.

From now on, when there’s conflict with the school over the best way to handle things, I will try to hold on to the hope that we have a bigger influence on our kids’ lives. At least until they start stretching their wings as teenagers.