Okay, I’m on a rant. Brace yourselves.
Schools advocate uniform as a way to stop peer pressure and discrimination to all pupils I get that. I understand that. It’s a good thing. All looking like clones of each other stops the single parent, out of work parent stigma. No child is identifiable by their family’s wealth. I agree here, here. So this week my youngest brings home a letter and a booklet. Entitled Activity Week, I finish up what I’m doing make a cuppa and sit down to read. Wow, I wished I had carried on cleaning. The steam coming out of my earholes would have anti baxed my kitchen and bathroom for a week.
So get this.
I am delighted to be able to launch activities week 2018 which will run Monday 2nd July – Friday 6th July.
Activity week will provide your son daughter with a wonderful opportunity to get involved in and experience an exciting activity of their preference. The aim of the week is to provide a variety of new and interesting opportunity’s to help your child develop their social, emotional or cultural skills.
In order for your child to be allocated and participate in their chosen activity, it is essential that you adhere to the payment deadlines. IT WAS AT THIS POINT I STOPPED READING THE LETTER AND OPENED THE BOOKLET.
Activity Number 1 – Paris and Disneyland Theme Park.
- Total Cost – £621.50
- 1st Deposit – £221.50
- 2nd Deposit – £175.00
- Final Payment £225.00
A wonderful, creatively written piece on what the child is going to do, see and experience. What the price included and more importantly what it does not include and a suggested spending money amount. All I read was “you can’t afford this, you are a failure, and you can’t provide for your child, your child is going to be ridiculed for coming from a broken home”.
Quickly bypassing Activity number 1 I turned the page.
Activity Number 2 – Fun in the Sun
- Total Cost – £700
- 1st Deposit – £100 – Due date 6th October (bearing in mind its 2nd October I am reading this)
- 2nd Deposit – £200
- Final Payment -£400
My heart is sinking quicker than a margarita I could imagine downing on my Fun in the Sun £700 quid holiday. It’s a week of beach days and water parks!!! I could get a last minute all-inclusive in a 4-star hotel for the pair of us for this price and fly not coach and ferry that this is offering. But I read on………..They do get access to the campground swimming pool and a free t-shirt. Well fuck me let’s all go for the T-shirt (excuse my French or should that be Spanish?)
I was ready to rip the booklet up but I looked over at my kid’s face and those eyes, they get me every time. I turned the page. Okay, it was looking better. I wasn’t even looking at the names anymore, just the prices.
Activity 3 – Start with a Splash
- Total Cost – £260
- 1st Deposit – £100
- 2nd Deposit – £100
- Final Payment – £60
Monday – get on a coach to Alton Towers, Check into Splash Landings hotel. A day of swimming and waterpark Fun.
Tuesday – check out of the hotel and spend the day at Alton Towers get coach to come home
Wednesday – Chester Zoo
Thursday – Zip wires and monkey land or something I wasn’t really reading now I was seething about the cost.
Friday – A trip to Warner Brothers making of Harry Potter – okay that got my attention. I’m taking an interest in this one now. I’m feeling hopeful.
I turn to my daughter, “this one looks amazing, what do you think”? She replies “Nah all my mates going to Disneyland”.
I want to strangle her, no take that back. I want to strangle the person at her school, which gives kids detention for wearing the wrong pair of trousers because they are not uniform policy, so they all look like clones to stop peer pressure discrimination. But they think it’s okay to create upset at home, making parents feel worthless and kids being ridiculed for not being well off?
I carried on through the booklet, getting more and more annoyed at the flagrant disregard for anybody’s feelings. My feelings! Yeah, some parents can just pay £700 quid out because their kid wants a jolly with their mates, tell me how spending a week on a Spanish beach enhancing any child’s social, cultural or emotional needs? Maybe I’m just bitter because I can’t afford it if I could maybe I would think my child has benefited. I don’t know.
Reading pages and pages of amazing activities or that should be amazing prices pushed me further and further into a pit of wallowing self-pity and self-loathing. The last few pages did nothing to add to that. FREE in big bold letters. Could have easily said FOR ALL YOU PARENTS THAT DON’T DESERVE KIDS AND ARE SHIT AT IT for all I cared. FREE – spend a day in your local area researching local facts. FREE – volunteering at the local old people’s home, plan a show and create a tea party. FREE – unlimited use of the schools PE department (while there are no other activities taking place) FREE – Spend the day at the local college to see if this is what you want to do when you leave school.
I don’t mind admitting I sat and cried that night when the kids went to bed. I even went so far as to look what I could sell. When I die my estate would total a tin of beans and a loaf if you are lucky by the way lol. If I was ever burgled they would feel that sorry for me they would stock the cupboards up and stick 50p in the meter lol.
So the next day, I asked her. “Any thoughts on what activity you fancy”? “Yes,” she replied, “I told you Paris” and off she went to school. So I waited and pondered and festered. I called the school. I told them this was cruel and discriminatory. I was told my input would be noted and thank you for taking the time to call. Well up yours!
But every star has a silver lining, they say. My daughter came home from school that evening and told me she changed her mind. She rather fancied the Splash Alton Towers one. I suspect her best friends mum also said no to Paris but hey ho I wasn’t going to force it. Then I had another silver lining. I know they won’t be happy I have told you this but I was ranting to my Diva’s about it, and how shit I was feeling. Failed mother. Social Services at the door. You know what they did? They all bunged in £20 each to help me out. I tell you, friends are like gold dust. Takes you a while to find any sifting through the dirt but when you do find that gold, hold onto them because they are priceless. But not as priceless as a week in fucking Spain with a FREE pissing T-shirt.