Taking Stock - December 21, 2015

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School, when you’re seven, is a secret place. My eldest, and I’ve checked I’m not alone in this matter, refuses to give up any information on what happens in the classroom.

“Can’t remember.”


“Just stuff.”

All the kind of answers you get to what should be a perfectly simple question to answer.

I’m sure there is some learning going on – the occasional shred of evidence is flung my way as proof.

For example, a reading book came home this week on the topic of the Big Bang.

Having grown up with titles like The Ladybird Book of Jam and How Post Works (not real books, but a hint at the kind of racy subject matter in the school library) I was rather impressed.

And not only does the eldest read very well (not a brag) but she seems to understand the basics of the physics too – sending this reporter racing ashamedly to a website entitled ‘String Theory for Dummies’ in the hope of catching up.

This, as it happens, is the only time of year when you do get to find out what’s gone on in class.

That’s because, for the two weeks up to Christmas, the curriculum appears to consist of watching movies on the classroom screen.

I’m sure that wasn’t the case 30 years ago, when trousers stopped above the knees and sums were still being done almost until the doors opened at midnight mass. It’s not as if the holidays don’t offer up enough time to watch a festive flick or two.

How annoying will it be for parents to find out every movie has been watched at school in a fortnight-long big screen binge?

I bet the boffins who worked out all that science business didn’t get where they are today watching Frozen at the end of term.

Yes, of course, there’s time for a treat. But wouldn’t it be great to hear the kids coming home with the same enthusiasm for science and books?

My eldest literally can’t put the big bang book down – not that she’d want to tell me if she’d been reading it inside school.

That’d be a secret.