Wednesday 12 September 2018

School absence.

My wife and I went to The Goodwood Revival at the weekend and had arranged for our grandchildren and their father to join us on the Friday which is generally the quieter of the three days, which should have made for an easier day with two youngsters in tow.

It was the 20th anniversary of the event and there was a most splendid atmosphere all over the weekend seeing friends old and new, which unfortunately meant we were rushing about from pillar to post and not taking any photographs with which to liven up this post.

Prior to taking the grandchildren to Goodwood we had written to their school to inform them of the need for the children to be absent for a day but as it was only their second day at their new school we had assumed that as they are only 11 years old they wouldn't miss a great deal in such a short time away. Even if they had taken up studying the finer points of "War and peace" or started to learn Latin, or battled with the more complicated aspects of trigonometry, none of which in fact happened, I very much doubt if their fellow pupils would have managed to be greatly advanced on our grandchildren in such a short time.

We have now been informed by their father that we have contravened some sort of school protocol whereby one has to fill in a form should one wish to request a days absence for one's offspring, how indicative of modern life that a days absence should require the completion of reams of paperwork before permission is granted, a mere letter of explanation not being sufficient. 

The school has sent the relevant paperwork to their father but we have yet to see it so I am unsure whether our explanation that it made more sense to take the children on the quieter day, which unfortunately required a days absence from school may not cut the mustard and it appears that the boys are to be penalised by not being able to take part in any after school activities or school trips for a period of six months.

Call me old fashioned if you like but this seems to be a tad harsh especially as the children had no say in what day they would be absent, however we have devised a contingency plan should this draconian punishment be put into place. Whatever trip the boys may miss we shall arrange to take them on the exact outing at the first available opportunity and make sure they get every extra treat that may be available.

That should take the sting out of the punishment for the boys, although as grandparents we are unsure as to what sort of punishment may be inflicted upon my wife and I. We have though thought of a contingency yet again, for should we be called up to see the Headmaster we shall both go wearing our forties outfits from the Goodwood weekend. The reasoning behind what may seem to be a strange choice of clothing is, my suit trousers are very loose and my wife will be wearing a suspender belt which should give both of us the opportunity to secrete about our nether regions a copy of a substantial weekend newspaper, so should the headmaster wish to lay upon us with a large cane to administer six of the best we are adequately protected.

I'm led to believe that in modern schooling it is no longer possible to punish pupils or even grandparents with a sound thrashing but I'm not taking any chances should our form filling not result in a verdict of not guilty.

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