Thursday, 24 March 2011
I have three sons. The eldest has been educated at a wonderful private school since he was three years old. It is a traditional school with old fashioned values and an equal mix of male/female teachers. When he first started there in the kindergarten I was a single mum, spending most days running myself ragged working in Marketing and driving several times a month to Swindon and back for meetings, trying to earn a good living and provide the best I could for him.
One day whilst motoring down the M5 after a meeting that had over run, trying to get back to school to pick him up, I was stopped for speeding. I finally arrived at school distressed and teary about an hour late. As I ran down a corridor the headmaster walked out of one of the classrooms. "Miss DuBois, you are always rushing about, and why are you late again to collect your son?" I explained to him what had happened. "you need to get a job that puts your child first, come and work for me, I need a secretary"
At first I was afronted ! Does this man not know what I do ! I'm not a secretary ! but that night when I gave it some though, it actually seemed like a really good solution. I could work in an office, not having to drive all around the country to dealerships and also be in the same place as my son was being educated. I could see him, at work and at play everyday.
I accepted the headmaster's offer and received a heafty discount off No1 Son's fees and a modest salary. I worked for him for eight years. It was worth the change in lifestyle. No 1 son has had a first class education and is in the process of taking his G.C.S.E's this year (twelve of them), he will stay on for A levels.
After meeting and marrying my OH the twins came along and life changed dramatically for us. When they were 3 they started at the kindergarten of No1 son's school but it soon became clear to us that we would not be able to afford to pay for three boys to stay there. When they reached reception age we transferred them to the local state school. We did our research and believed the school to be the best in the area. I was concerned about the fact that there was only one male teacher but had my concerns airily dismissed by the headmistress.
Always someone who relies heavily on my instincts I became increasingly worried that they wouldn't get a rounded education because of the lack of male teachers. Seven hours a day five days a week, in the company of only female teachers is not ideal for little boys.
I have read several articles on the subject, and all seem to agree on one thing, that boys need positive male role models when at primary school in order to develop fully. If you have boys please take a moment to read these articles The Telegraph Guardian The Independent
The twins have had their fair share of "incidents" since starting school, initially described as "settling into school routine" and now rolling over into Year one. My husband and I are really concerned that it is becoming a pattern of their daily school life, that if not checked will " label" them for all their school life. Desperate not to overreact, but also tired of the almost daily "Mrs Jones, can I have a chat please" with the teachers, we are now asking ourselves whether we need to look elsewhere to educate our sons.