If there's one thing you hear about as a parent it's something called 'choice'. Apparently when it comes to education all of us who have bred and successfully spawned are entitled to choice about education for our kids. I am yet to reach the time where secondary school beckons but the idea that there is choice in primary education, at least where I live, is nonsense.
Last week, the better half and I went to the local school which has a nursery attached. We had to meet the head and make sure that Mini-Me had his name down for said nursery. Now, whilst we live within spitting distance of the school - you can see it from our front door - we learn that we are by no means guaranteed a place. The head infomred us that they have to follow guidelines about intake that is not just about location, gender diversity plays a part.
Now, call me a nerdy engineering type if you must, but what happens if during the year of one offsprings birth there are more girls or more boys born? Do they start turning people away based on the number of XX and XY chromosones in the population? Or do they start offering the parents of three year old from miles way places and then chastise them for doing the school run?
On the point of choice though, the only choice we actually have is where to apply. The decision about where we go is not ours at all. However, it got even more silly when I asked about the school entry system from nursery. It does not follow that attending the nursery at the school 100 yards from my front door will mean that the nipper gets a place at the school.
In fact we have to apply again. When we do that though it is not, as with the nursery ,the school that decides. No. Instead some bureaucrat takes the decision in the local education authority, presumably based on "key indicators" and some other management-speak nonsense.
If we get the boy into the nursery and we really want him to go to the school at the same place, because he has friends there, and we liek the teachers, we can still find ourselves told, for arbitrary reasons, that we have to send him to another school further away. So where's the choice in that exactly?