Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A nest of (uniformed) vipers

Remember Gulliver's Travels?

I don't, not really. Don't tell anyone but I haven't ever read the actual book, although I did have a highly excellent (probably ladybird) illustrated version. 

As I say, I don't remember much about it, but I do recall the Big-endians and the Little-endians. Two separate factions of Lilliputians (technically, I now learn from wikipedia, some were Blefuscans, but we'll gloss over that bit, as I suspect my source text did) caught in vicious internecine squabbles about which end of an egg is up.

Personally I'm a little-endian, but I can cope with the alternative, if I must.

Anyway, I digress.  The point is that this has nothing on what's going on at school at the moment.

We have a new(ish) head.  She has arrived with a lovely, equally new, broom, with which she intends to sweep clean any corners she's not so keen on. 

One of those corners is uniform.

As it happens, I think she's right.  Bearing in mind I went to a school that required me to have (and my parents to invest large sums of money in), in addition to my every day uniform, a full length cloak (with lined hood), as well as a blazer, a boater and a suit for Sundays, asking everyone to look reasonably neat in matching sweatshirts and polo shirts (secretly I'd rather they were wearing proper shirts but you can't have it all) doesn't seem to me too much.  And, if the truth be told, lots of the children, particularly the older ones (whose parents, I suspect, have wearied of that particular battle) were beginning to get rather scruffy.  I also happen (and I realise it makes me sound a bit Daily youknowwhat) to think uniform makes a difference.  We dress up for things that are important and we make an effort for people we respect, so I think asking children to dress smartly encourages them to think of school and what they do there as something that matters.

And most of the other parents agree.   There is universal approval for the idea that the children should be neatened up a bit.

There is no agreement on how.

The playground is full of secretive huddles of whispering parents you are frightened to approach for fear they'll ask you what you think.  Are you a Little-Endian or a Big-Endian?  Should jerseys be red or black?  Trousers be black or grey?   Have they realised that the local supermarket doesn't stock black?  (Though that particular problem seems rather chicken and egg (whichever way up) to me.)  Can girls wear trousers? Or cardigans?  What if it's cold?  And where do you stand on the irresolvable problem of gingham dresses?

Everyone has their preferred choice and everyone has a (invariably contradictory) story about some child hauled before the head for wearing it.

And no-one, but no-one (and yes, I include myself), is saying anything about the new literacy programme she's also introduced.


  1. Surely they have given you a list of what they wear and when. We were given a powerpoint showing exactly what the children should look like for 'normal' days in winter and summer and 'PE' days in winter and summer (Although I admit we are in the 'excessive spend in the uniform shop' camp. £36 for a hat for a 4-year old. I ask you.).

    I'm more interested in the literacy... what's afoot?

    1. I'm not sure the state system in the Scottish Borders runs to powerpoint...

      Literacy sounds awesome. Instead of being just phonics or just word recognition (probably a technical term for that but you know what I mean) it allegedly combines the two. S and A will be guinea pigs starting in August, but I'm pretty excited about it as are all the staff.

  2. I like uniform because the alternative is too hard. Loved the grey polo shirts at my daughter's high school because it also meant no one could judge the state of my white wash! Loved the BHS gingham dresses in summer, they washed so well, no ironing. Loved the M+S teflon(probably not teflon but it sounded like it) trousers becuase they don't need ironing - catching my theme here?! grey, black, red, blue, - whateveeeeeer just make them cheap, easy to wash, comfy to wear and save the parents sanity :)

    Ps I think literacy programmes in school are equally as important as long as I don't have to wash or iron them


    1. I think it is teflon, you know. Always struck me as weird too.

      ps B doing the ironing while I blog...

  3. They should definitely have clear rules on what's expected. Otherwise, how do you know? (And by the by, grey trousers are much more widely stocked than black - in my experience.)

    Wot duz 'literacy' meen?

    1. I agree. Am firmly in the grey camp, but sadly she's come down on the black side - apparently that's what was decided in 1965 (or something) and rather than stir up a storm of controversy (too late for that) she's going with what was originally agreed.

  4. "Full length cloak (with lined hood)"? I always knew you went to Hogwarts...

    1. House colour hood, in fact. Which we wore when walking in crocodile, all 500 of us, through the centre of town to the parish church.

      We used to stop the traffic. Literally.


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...