Friday, 12 September 2014

What is this world coming to?

I don’t normally do a mid week blog but I am definitely making an exception!!

SO Thursday was one of those days that started off well but went downhill rapidly. Lucas’ guinea pig died. She was six year old and had been ill for a while. Thankfully I found her after he had gone to school and by the time he came home and I told him he was very good and understanding. In fact his response was, “okay can we get a puppy now.” Guinea pigs are very sociable animals and the one we have left is now showing signs of stress and loneliness. So here is my dilemma. Do I let her be lonely and probably end up shortening the poor animal’s life or do I go and buy another two for her to befriend? My head is telling me not to be so bloody stupid but my heart is urging me to go shopping. Decisions, decisions.

Wes has started his A level studies and he is finding it tough but manageable. I have to say though the stress has nothing to do with the actual learning or the teaching. His school has lost my support this week. Of course I will support Wes in his studies but in all honesty if it was up to me, I would be ringing around local colleges now to find him an alternative place. Last year the dress code for the sixth form was smart/ casual. We bought clothes over the summer conducive to the rules and based on what last year’s intake wore. A week before Wes was due to start, and after I had bought all his gear the school decided to advise the dress code. The shoe code for boys is smart shoe. That’s it! ‘Smart shoe’ so we had already bought VANS canvas shoes (not pumps - shoes). In addition we spent an astronomical amount of money of smart black trousers, not jeans but similar. Wes was advised both shoes and trousers were not ‘business like’ and therefore unacceptable. Nowhere in the letter they sent to us did it say ‘business like’ so I challenged them on their definition and I am still waiting the courtesy of a response. So today, whilst still waiting for a response, Wes came home from school to advise that unless he has the right trousers before Monday they will send him home from his studies. 

Really? Really?  Am I the only one that thinks this is just so incredibly ridiculous? I understand they don’t want hoodies, trackies and snapbacks. I get that but what is wrong with smart casual? The school has spent the first two weeks of term on what the students are wearing!! Yes two weeks. Never mind teachers have not been available to actually teach, never mind four A levels on top of the Academy is tough going, never mind the stress it has caused in this house. So sending them home achieves what exactly? Oh yes, they fall behind on their studies, they become demoralised and they give up!! Great going school! Really proud of your stance on pupil engagement. There are a number of issues:

  1. Why ‘business like’ – the 6th form should be a prerequisite to University – sorry but I never wore business clothes for Uni.
  2. 6th form is supposed to be enabling the transition to University. How is that working exactly?
  3. I teach mine that appearance is not as important as substance and hard work. You can be the best dressed and the least productive worker! Appearance is now such a big issue we forget the real reason why they students are there – TO LEARN!!
What makes me laugh even more is that girls are allowed to wear leggings (providing their bum is covered!) and flowery trousers, ballet shoes, etc. Don’t tell me there are not double standards in play here and gender differences that are bordering on equal right infringements. Schools need to understand, listen and practice what they preach. They want independent learners, committed to their studies yet are very quick to threaten exclusion even in the 6th form. Instead of studying we spent five hours looking for trousers that fit their brief (no pun intended) and that Wes was comfortable in. So another £60 down (after forking out over £100 on books too) we have trousers that comply with the ‘business like’ requirements. Which are – CHINOS – the most ‘unbusinesslike’ trousers I have ever seen in my life! Why? Why? What real purpose in life does it provide? It’s not about looking smart, it’s about control! So often we surround ourselves with insignificant constraints and rules. If we actually stopped and thought for a moment we would see that the majority of these decisions really pale into insignificance in the grand scheme of life. 

GET A GRIP!!! This has truly been a waste of everyone’s precious time and damaged relations between us and the school. No longer will they get my backing if they continue with meaningless, pathetic rules. No school books, cheeky, disrespectful, answering back, not turning up to lessons are all reasons why schools should take steps towards sending pupils home NOT because they don’t wear CHINOS!!

Now I’ve got that off my chest. When at the White Rose we grabbed some tea. A KFC, not great but the best of the worst in the time we had. We headed for a quiet spot of the food hall and sat down to be greeted with ‘sorry you can’t eat that here – this is the Spudulike seating section, not for KFC customers.’ There were two other families sat in the section eating? – Yes, you got it right, KFC!!! Really, the world has gone SO completely MAD!!!




In spite of the ridiculously stupid rules, the world is full of inspirational and fabulously courageous people and my heart fills with pride when I hear and read stories of them overcoming obstacles and achieving what most would regard as the impossible.
I greatly admire people who don’t give up. Sometimes you have to turn your back on things so you retain your sanity but that is not the same as giving up. There is no one braver than the armed forces, giving their own life selflessly to protect our liberty (even though liberty means stupid, insignificant rules – sorry, just had to stick that in). However, even more courageous than our armed forces are those that serve and end up with life changing injuries. Hat’s off to Prince Harry. It would be easy for him to sit at the palace and do absolutely nothing but his legacy of the Invictus Games is too amazing for words but then it is not the only legacy of the young royals. If the media stopped bashing them, they would see all the benefits of the work they actually do, not just here but all over the world.

Back to the Invictus Games. I am in awe of every single competitor and their families because, to go through what they have been through and pick themselves back up and compete in front of millions is just, well inspiring and totally and utterly amazing. I cried through the opening ceremony not out of pity or sorrow but sheer admiration and pride that these people, not only served their country but now represent that very same country in sport. I know it’s a cliché but sport is a great healer and motivator.  The motto of the games is “I am the master of my fate.” BRILLIANT. That is what we should be teaching our children. That one sentence, I think the whole country should adopt it as our motto but then again I am sure some politically correct know it all would render it sexist and unusable! BUT we are going to adopt it in our family from now in. “I am the master of my fate.” SAYS IT ALL.

So many unsung heroes in this beautiful world and I hope I leave a legacy that my children are really proud of.

I also read many stories of people overcoming adversity to be where they are today. You just have to remember that you CAN do it. Keep going, surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and keep going. 

The Scotland debate has been enthralling this week but I have one question. Why has it taken politicians until one week before the vote to get out of their ivory tower in London and go on the road? It is also interesting at the spin the media are putting onto it because quite clearly the editors of Sky News are behind the NO vote. Whatever the outcome, I just wish more people would show this amount of interest so we can openly debate the NHS, Education (again!) and other issues so fervently.

Two years ago the Independent Panels report was released into the Hillsborough disaster. My thoughts are with the inspirational families and supporters that have fought with dignity and determination. 

Justice is coming.

I am off to write now but wanted to share these thoughts with you. We are back at Sheffield this evening for pre, pre-season training and that makes me very happy because it means my son is working towards doing something that he loves for a living and that is the secret to a happy life, okay it’s not that much of a secret! Sunday we have a rugby league game so I will be doing my usual book blog later after the game.

Have a safe and happy weekend. In spite of silly people and silly rules, this world is a great place filled with great people.  If you get chance look up the Invictus Games and Help for Heroes - truly inspirational. Be someone's inspiration xxx

You can purchase my debut novel, Beyond the Past from 
Pegasus Publishers  
Amazon UK  
Amazon US




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