Thursday, September 08, 2005

Back to school and don't forget yer regulations...

THE sun is out, the weather has been on the whole stunning so it can only be back to school time.

It’s been, so far, a good back to school time (everything’s crossed). The young wan has settled right down to second-year and seems to be knuckling down to work, thank god. *BIG sigh of relief*

Her transition last year (September, 2004) to secondary school was tough, don’t get me wrong, not on her, not at all, it was bloody tough on me. She breezed in and out without a care in the world.

However, for me it began with the uniform in June 2004.

I remember my own uniform outfitting and at the time for our school the basic uniform cost £200, which was wild expensive in 1981.

But being the first girl in the family to go to a grammar school (its mad to think that even at that time, it wasn’t the good old days, that would have been such a big deal to my family) I got the bare minimum of what I needed.

We even had regulation knickers, your ehm… regulations (no seriously that’s what they were called). In our school your regulations were maroon and in theory we were supposed to wear them everyday.

The stories of how this was checked struck fear into even the most-savvy of first-years ie those who had older sisters in the school.

The joke was that at morning assembly, we would be told to stand in a line and well you can guess the rest…

Course this was complete nonsense. In reality we were expected to wear them for PE and then in the summer we would sew a white strip onto them to make them into athletic shorts.

I think I was in fifth year before a nun spotted us and went absolutely ape-shit.

However, we were still made to wear them – only we had to wear our tracksuits down to the hockey pitch where PE class was held to protect our modesty on the way and THEN we could get semi-naked.

Most girls I went to school with still get the hee-bee gee-bees thinking about them.

But we are not talking about my back to school days but the young wan’s.

Her uniform cost an arm and a leg. The coat alone cost €60 and it all had to be a particular coat from a specialised shop. And thankfully not a regulation in sight, not one pair.

Of course in keeping with the tradition of the young wan, the zip is broken but it's gonna be a couple of weeks before I can get either the coat mended or failing that a new coat.

Then there were the books. We had a list to get as long as your arm. And it felt rather like owning a car, not that I have but I imagine.

You know if the car breaks down, it doesn’t cost €20 to get fixed, no, not at all. You are more likely to be forking out either your week’s wages or a large percentage of your month’s wages.

The books were costly. There were few costing around the €10 mark, but there were many costing €40+.

One gloating parent was scathing about these prices (and I mean scathing) and went on length about how they were able to shop around. They would phone around all the book shops, the second-hand book shops, etc, etc hop on their bike, cross town and make their reduced purchase.

However in fairness to me I just would not have been able to do that, it was a lot of work, and the parent who did it is at home full-time, which would make it easier to do.

I thought I was being smart buying the books at a book and uniform fare at the school the previous June.

And here is the confession I thought it was a second-hand fare, D’OH, second-hand me arse.

A realisation later and queue redmum thinking b*ll*x!

When in Rome as they say and so she was kitted out in the finery and I turned down the shirts, opting to buy my own at some point over the summer and did saving some euro.

Then we attempted to get her books. I thought we had the list mostly covered but there were some that they didn’t have.

I turned down the school’s recommended art kit, I would compile that myself. And I refused to buy the calculator and other stuff like that.

But I still spent hundreds.

Towards the end of the summer we set off to get the rest. And Jaysus, we spent another couple of hundred.

I was bloody floored.

The whole thing cost more than a grand.

Seriously, MORE than a grand, about €1200ish.

Does that not shock you? Do I need to go on about how to pay this when you have a couple of kids in secondary school? Do I need to tell you how often the curriculum changes and the books are updated? Do I need to tell you how bloody difficult people on low-incomes would find this? And do I need to even mention those on social welfare who get a pittance towards this mad expense? Let’s not even mention growing kids and their penchant for destroying things.

The vast majority was put on credit card and no it’s not cleared, far bloody from it. But I won’t complain cos she went with everything well nearly everything that she needed.

Free education! That’s the biggest joke ever. Fianna Fail and the PDs should be ashamed of themselves.

Oh and my next post has to centre on my interpretation of her secondary school start but don’t get me started now, Jaysus no I am just about relaxed now.

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Anonymous said...
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doris said...

I hope this second year goes well for the young wan :-) I too know what it is like to output all that cost on the bits and pieces, but in our case our daughter left school within a couple of months in favour of home education so it was all 'wasted'!

Interesting this supposed free education. As home educators we pay our tax contributions towards the "free education system" and then don't get any help towards our costs of educating ourselves. Though with the start of the school year, I was glad not to go through the rigmarole of buying school uniform. Instead, went out and bought a new and solid fold-up table and other essential materials and son is already talking about us doing a "school trip" to France. Not today anyway!

What gets me is when childless adults in the workplace get upset about any extras us parents get in order to support us in our extremely expensive role of bringing up the next generation of workers. Ooooo, there are times I feel very Marxist!

JL Pagano said...

I don't see any reason why the scholl cirriculum cannot be stored on CD-ROM at the school and printed out as needs be for the pupils throughout the year.

Well, no reason, that is, except for the fact that the book companies may have a thing or six to say about it!

It's the whole electric cars vs oil companies thing on a smaller scale.

cc said...

Dear Lord, the humiliation of those regulation knickers...the untold suffering caused to hundreds of thunder-thighed teenagers, our self esteem in tatters!! What a pretentious load of old b*ll*x we had to put up with at that school.

Le laquet said...

€1200?? Good god - that's obscene! Free education is such a laugh indeed!

Badger said...

Regulations in 1981?? I thought they died out years before.

What was the rest of your uniform?

Maroon regulations takes me back, huge tightly elasticated waist and leg holes with at double back panel, what was that for?