School visits


Summer of year 5 and L & I take Gabe on visits to five secondary schools in two weeks. With L at All Boys Grammar South, Gabe frets at its serious academic air, won’t participate and pesters to be taken home. At Grammar North, he’s tight-lipped and anxious to keep moving, his warning to me not to talk to teachers futile. Outside, he regains his fluency and slams to school for trying to be too perfect. At Grammar West, we meet his friend R on the way in who tells us it’s a great school. Maybe freed by this approval, or simply because it is a great school, he relaxes enough to play keyboard in the music studio. For the understandable reasons of its distance from home and that his friends won’t be going there, Gabe isn’t keen. Then to Grammar Local for an over-crowded tour of its unimpressive estate. Gabe gushes – what a great school. It is, but his senses while looking around the schools haven’t been allowed to challenge his preconceptions. Finally, to Secondary Modern Local, and Gabe concludes he wants to go to a grammar school.


I took the kids to Crocky Trail, a health and safety-free park featuring large rides made from decommissioned industrial machinery and a long trail that follows and crosses a muddy stream. While the boys ran ahead, Eliza paddled in the mud, traversed the stream on chain bridges and savoured the experience. But in quick succession, she was kicked on the hand, dumped by Robin from a wobbly barrel into a puddle and dived face-first into a roundabout. Upset and asking to go home, I assessed the degree of her discomfort with the ice cream test. A vanilla cone, with flake and raspberry sauce, was an effective remedy for a sore face.


Robin’s reception year report was full of positive comment from his teachers: ‘always motivated to explore new activities and resources.’ ‘contributes well to group discussions and is keen to share his broad general knowledge.’ ‘he has shown he can persevere with even the most challenging activities’. ‘He is always proud of his achievements.’ ‘Robin has excelled in phonics’. Across 13 dimensions of attainment, Robin scored 109 out of a maximum of 117.


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