5 Reasons NOT to Lose Your Shit Over a Primary School Choice

Chill out, love - you can always appeal... [Psycho, Paramount Pictures]

Chill out, love – you can always appeal…
[Psycho, Paramount Pictures]

Today your Facebook feed will no doubt be littered with people celebrating and lamenting the primary school places awarded to their children. At the time of writing, I don’t know if my four-year-old will be placed with our first-choice primary school and while I would ideally like to send him to a non-religious school (because, for me, there’s nowt scarier than a small kid declaring that Jesus loves you), I refuse to be drawn into the hysteria. With or without a religious assembly and the odd bit of bible-bashing, I believe we will all be fine.

If your primary school news has left you feeling a bit blue, I truly commend you for caring so much – and of course, there are many wide and varied reasons for becoming impassioned about it. But, presuming your needs are typical and the school awarded is not so chronically troubled your kid’s future is entirely fucked, perhaps I may assist you in a little perspective with the five points below…

1. A place at a primary school is not membership to some wanky, exclusive club
People who like to bang on about the better infant schools ‘to get into’ are generally snobby knobs. They often care far too much about their standing in society and the right sort of branded van delivering their online food shop, and other such similar shit. This is not a club you want to belong to. So today, when a friend or relative smugly asks you ‘how you got on’, barely able to supress their hope that maybe you have been blackballed from their imaginary elite world, smile benignly for a lengthy amount of time – just enough for it to be awkward and borderline menacing. Then bellow: “IT’S NOT A FUCKING SCHOLARSHIP TO OXFORD, YOU MORON!”

2. You’re a very good and clever parent
See that cute kid wearing his coat backwards, pretending to be dentist? You made him. You were there smothering him in congratulatory kisses when he uttered his first word. You were there shaking his chunky fists in delight when he took his first tentative, wobbly step. And it was you who burst with pride (and into massive laughter), when he observed the poo he’d just excreted looked a lot like his baby sister and then declared: “That’s because my love her so much.” The point being, your good ethics and intention as a loving, kind parent will help put him on the road to becoming a decent human being. The primary school you send your kid to will not be responsible for this.

3. You will rarely hear a Nobel Peace Prize winner say: “Well, I guess my hugely successful career began with the primary school my parents chose for me…”
Of course, education matters and true, there is stuff at stake at secondary level, but while they’re young, preoccupied with pink custard and have you as their amazing, influential support network, the likelihood is they will be fine. So, step away from the performance tables open on your laptop and bear in mind, that big and clever people, from Barack Obama to the plumber who fixed your U-bend, will generally thank their parents for their successes, not their primary schools.

4. Ofsted, league tables, the woman round the corner – they can all be, frankly, fucked and flawed sources of recommendation
A school’s ‘bad reputation’ can sometimes be a bit like a hotel with a poor review on TripAdvisor. You don’t really know the story behind it, but once the negative word is out, its character is tarnished and in this digital age, that’s pretty hard to shake. And what’s really sad about that is that it undermines all its previous success, rave reviews and sterling effort of its hardworking staff. The woman round the corner might swear blind it’s a shit school because her friend’s babysitter’s auntie sent her kids there and now they’re all nit-infested illiterates – but your experience could be completely different and entirely positive. Nits, badly-behaved children and yes, some rubbish teachers, exist in a variety of schools – with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reputations – but that’s doesn’t mean the school is necessarily a shit one. And you don’t know the agenda of the woman round the corner. She could be deluded, or a goose-stepping Nazi who took exception to a couple of brown faces she saw milling around the playground, or just making shit up while waiting for Ocado to deliver her kale – who knows…

5. Armageddon (according to certain religious types), is the end of the world apparently – not your primary school choice
Is everyone alive? Is there food on the table? Is your family a loving one filled with fond, happy memories? Is there enough wine to last until your next Tesco shop? This is the shit that matters. The end.

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