We are into the last weekend before the kids go back to school and my bank account is straining to keep up with the equipment requirement and uniform refits.
Our children's school inform me that once again my daughter will need more clothes in a different colour to move up to the next year (why?).
This is being conveniently provided by a lovely company call Trutex who make there wares available mail order. Delivery is not included and they give the school a kickback of 10% of the price, which is very expensive anyway.This helps people unable to afford uniform I am told in the info?
As they say on their website.
"mail order 'Trutex Direct' service where the school receives a donation from Trutex with every purchase of uniform made. Little wonder that Trutex remains the single, largest independent school brand and this year"
Little wonder indeed, my money will fund the school that I already pay tax for!I will also get the pleasure of knowing I am helping others not to pay. The sports kit may be purchased from the school and only from the school.
I remember when I went to school we also had a uniform policy and we had to wear Blazers and tie plus black trousers but there was no specified supplier and everyone was able to get their uniforms where they wanted to.Now there are many more options, due to competition in the market, prices have fallen,the essence of a healthy free market economy. Yet we are forced to buy from a company operating as a monopoly the essence of autocracy.
Then there are the incidentals WHSmiths have built a business on the fact that kids need new stationary every year, I have lost count how many calculators,rulers,rubbers,pens and protractors I have bought!Then there is the pencil case where all these items are put till they are discarded and it must be the "right" one.
Finally there are the shoes, another expensive job that I have nothing to do with if possible, as the choosing of shoes is more than I can cope with. Thankfully my wife has volunteered for that job this year.
Then once we have paid for the books they write in, complete with adverts.The coursework books, so that they can revise at home, and bought the art book that my son will use for his work.
We might just have enough left to pay for my son to get chips on the only day they serve them, Friday. He tells me that it is mad you have to run to get some before they all go!Then ketchup on his chips costs 10p a sachet.
Aside from the expense my son starts his work on his GCSEs this year and is dreading it.
The pressure to do well at school is much worse now than when I was at school,and with the dumbing down of exams, the pass rate required for a good pass is ever rising.That coupled with the continuous assessment element mean that the pressure is unrelenting.
When I was at school it was simple, you mucked around for four years, then panicked for a couple of months and kept your fingers crossed that you did well in the exams.
The year I left only 10% achieved A-C passes at O level and CSEs were there for those who didn't do O levels.Now it is all one exam GCSE and 90% pass but in the end many more fail because the exam is considered a poor judge of ability by employers and Universities and quite often a A* is all that will do.
Never mind I am happy that they will be off to school again. Once again I will again have the pleasure of moaning about getting homework done.Giving them access on the computer to Facebook so they can find out the details of homework that they didn't copy down .My daughter can spending hours composing her written work while I try to read my emails and I can use up all my printers ink on printing out work that will be discarded.