Small School by the Sea

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It is December tomorrow, and while I’m excited because that marks the first official day of summer here, DorkySon is excited because it means he gets to open the first door on his advent calendar. I don’t think Christmas in summer will ever stop being weird.

There are just three weeks of the school term left, and they are packed to bursting with activities. DorkySon has a kindergarten trip to a marine centre, an all-school trip to a big outdoor playground, a family picnic day, a visit to a local old folks home to share some festive cheer, and a final school assembly with a Christmas performance from all the pupils.

When the new term starts in February, my boy will be moving up a grade – from three days a week of kindergarten to five days of prep. He is so excited at the prospect, but we are already anticipating a tired and quite crotchety first few weeks as he adjusts. Continue reading

High School: The Best Days of Our Lives?

 

Figure in jeans and grey shoes holding a backpack in front of a brick wall, with the text 'High school: the best days of our lives?'

High school days are the best days of your lives…

How often did you hear that nonsense line uttered when you were a teenager, eh?

Someone put a picture up on Facebook the other day of a staff photo from my former high school. According to the silver lettering embossed on the frame, it’s from 1999. I would have been sixteen at the time, and these were the teachers I saw every single day, week in, and week out.

I am shocked by how few of them I remember.

There are two or three I am still in touch with – friends of my parents, or parents of my friends – who I could comfortably stand in the street and make conversation with. There are probably another dozen or so who I either liked or disliked a lot, and their names are still easy enough to call up in my mind.

But then there’s the rest. A nameless mass of smiles and suits, made up of individuals who may or may not have once stood before me in a classroom and imparted their knowledge on noble gases, imperfect participles, and quadratic equations.

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Live in the Now January

Edinburgh in the snow

Back in December I did a Live in the Now post, for the first time in months, where I took some time to just look around at our life and reflect on where we all are. I’m going to try and keep that going throughout 2013, as a way of remembering the little things that don’t really warrant a post to themselves. Continue reading

Arts Emergency

Today’s guest post is from a small charity which I support called Arts Emergency. It was set up by the comedian Josie Long, and fundraiser Neil Griffiths, and I’m thrilled to give them the opportunity to explain a bit more about what they do and why. As well as all the info that’s on the website, you can keep up to date with their work on Twitter

Arts Emergency logo

The Arts Emergency: a generation of young people are being incentivised to disengage from humanistic study. Don’t stand for it.

It seems education as a whole is increasingly building for short term profit, and the skills we now champion are those that aid this through business and industry.

As we now know, in reality this has meant that academic disciplines caricatured as having no clear economic utility have had their public funding withdrawn entirely.

Yet those very subjects – the arts, the humanities and the social sciences in particular, are unquestionably vital to a diverse economy (the creative industries alone constitute nearly 10% of all enterprises in the UK, not to mention the fact more jobs than ever before require degree level qualifications to enter). Even seen through the relatively narrow ideological prism of those depreciating these skills and curiosities (of vital human importance) – it seems at best a counterintuitive act, at worst an act of deliberately gross cultural and social vandalism. Remember too we are suffering cuts in schools for music, and the closure of public libraries. Continue reading

Weans’ World

What would make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children?

The Scottish Government will soon be launching their National Parenting Strategy. You can read more about it here. This is a brilliant opportunity to use our voices as parents and let the Government know what they’re doing well… but more importantly what they could be doing better.

I’ve been asked by the charity Parenting Across Scotland to do a quick post with my own thoughts, but also to help gather your thoughts. Please do feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below, or if you’re on Twitter you can tweet using the #PAS12 hashtag.

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