More evidence that the world has gone mad

Boy the Elder came home from school today with the following information. There are nine hundred children at his school between the age of 11 and 14 and they have a large playing field with lovely country views … which they have not been allowed to use for recreation at lunch or break time.

They have now been told that they may use the field in groups of no more than twenty two children at a time and, if they do manage to get a go, they have to wear hi visibility tabards.

I have nothing more to say on the matter, mainly because I can’t speak properly with my fist in my mouth.

Boy the Elder has only three more weeks left, until  in September, he starts at a school where getting dirty, climbing trees and roaming the grounds is positively encouraged.  And hurrah to that.

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21 Responses to More evidence that the world has gone mad

  1. Freelance Unbound June 22, 2011 at 21:15 #

    Gah…

  2. planetcoops June 22, 2011 at 21:22 #

    Our kids have just come home from ‘Go wild day’. They lit fires, toasted marshmallows, made spears and came home smeared in mud and berry juice. I didn’t realise until now how lucky we are to have a local school which does such things.

  3. Julie June 22, 2011 at 21:46 #

    Eeeeeeeeeeer!!
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  4. alltime fishwife June 22, 2011 at 22:51 #

    Obviously the bit about hi-vis is a joke, but why only 22 at a time? Is 23 too many , 20 not really enough for a good scrap? I feel compelled to go round and interview the head teacher, and post the answers on the internet. Actually, are you sure that BTE is not just misinterpreting that phenomenon known as a game of football? I can understand his flat denial of the existence of football, it is a reasonable reaction to the national obsession for the unsporty amongst us, but he may have to come to terms with it for a period at least! Our BTY also is not allowed on the grass except in drought conditions, for fear of mud and slipping over, and they were once all sat to down to a talk from the head detailing the dangers of getting over excited in fine weather, and possibly pulling other children’s jumpers in a wild frenzy. Oh and being told off, if you don’t mind, for coming in from playtime With a Red Face. We do have a streak of the Caledonian on the non distaff side, and deep breathing for more than 30 seconds does cause a pronounced flush of the wee laddie’s bonny cheeks, but I don’t see how telling him off will cause him to rein in his offending DNA. We moved schools over that and a few other similar lunatic rantings.

  5. wartimehousewife June 22, 2011 at 23:30 #

    Absolutely bloody brilliant. I am considering abandoning my writing career in favour of yours, Fishwife.
    BTE is in bed but I will question him closely in the morning. I may even ‘phone the school…

  6. columnist June 23, 2011 at 03:54 #

    This is all entirely new to me, although I had heard about H&SA, and how barking they really are. And now I know what you’re talking about.

    On a side-related note, I read yesterday that the National Trust are being sued by the family of a boy killed by a falling branch at one of their properties. Whilst tragic, that is of course only going to tighten these sorts of rules. (I must confess I did not read the article, but only the headline, so there may be more to it, and I should not be spouting off about it.)

  7. Peter Ashley June 23, 2011 at 06:33 #

    This needs exposing. Get in touch with the local BBC immediately. After all, the Beeb has a continuing interest in this village- you could be seen explaining it slowly to Michael Wood.

  8. Toffeeapple June 23, 2011 at 10:25 #

    So, let me get this right – 900 pupils in the school building, all day long? How are they controlled indoors? No, sorry, I can’t comprehend it, I have to go away and walk in the open air…

  9. alltime fishwife June 23, 2011 at 11:53 #

    I am now also reminded of a tale of a flagship new secondary near here which had abandoned breaks ALTOGETHER apart from I assume allowing lunch to be eaten, saying that “rehydration opportunites” (no kidding here) were to be taken in the classrooms, as staff were concerned about their ability to keep control of the pupils in the outside areas, and felt that pupils did not benefit from having their concentration broken!! Unbelievable.
    I can corroborate columnist’s story too- a country house in my area also has erected fences and notices saying ” do not go under trees” because there are many large and beautiful old trees which, in a high wind, may occasionally drop boughs. Surely we can trust people to make this judgement, and not blame others for the rare piece of bad luck if it comes our way?
    However I do think the backlash is starting in more enlightened areas, and can only hope that people will remember what it was like to be adults and think independently, and say “yes, this is right ” loudly and clearly. Raise your voices folks!!

  10. wartimehousewife June 23, 2011 at 18:21 #

    I’ve heard about this school. Mental. Why can’t they just apply a bit of common sense instead of treating our children like guinnea pigs?

  11. wartimehousewife June 23, 2011 at 18:25 #

    I read this story too, Columnist. It’s a tricky one because the trees did need attention and it would appear from the newspaper that there had been a degree of negligence by the National Trust and, if that is the case, then they must be brought to book. What worries me is that no-one can ever just have an accident any more – someone else must always be considered culpable. As Fishwife says below, litigious people have to grow up and start taking responsibilty for their actions. But I fear these people may not be reading this blog.

  12. wartimehousewife June 23, 2011 at 18:37 #

    In the interests of balance and fairness, I rang the school today and spoke to the very sane Deputy Head. This story is correct although different members of staff have been telling the children different things. One teacher says they can sit on the field as long as there are no more than 22 children and they must wear a sports tabard. Another teacher says they have to be playing football if they want to use it and that two teams of 22 may use it any one time.

    The reasons for this ruling are thus:-

    1. Several parents have sued the school because their child sprained an ankle or hurt themselves on the field in the past. If the field is muddy it is considered too dangerous to play on.

    2. The education authorities who issue directives to the school are hysterical about H&S

    3. Teachers are no longer obliged to take part in lunchtime or breaktime supervision duty, which used to be part of their job. Therefore any breaktime supervision has to voluntary and unsurprisingly, not many teachers want to do it if they don’t have to.

    So a combination of litigious parents, frightened educationalists and strident unions are conspiring to deprive children of the opportunity to run about in the fresh air, on grass that is surely less hazardous than concrete, which surely common sense tells us is vital in a large, diverse school.

    Greed and Laziness. Sloth and Mammon. I sincerely hope that the next generation sees sense and puts a stop to all this, because if they don’t we’re all going to end up like the amoebic blobs in ‘Wall-E’ who have become completely infantilised and disabled by their own iniquities.

  13. wartimehousewife June 23, 2011 at 18:39 #

    I would happily explain anything slowly to Michael Wood. In great detail. For quite a long time. etc etc

  14. alltime fishwife June 23, 2011 at 22:34 #

    Can anybody explain to me why it is that at our fine public schools parents are queueing ( this looks wrong so probably is) up to give their offspring the almost daily opportunity to break collarbones, dislocate shoulders, tear their ears off (rugby), sprain or break fingers ( netball) , knock themselves out (hockey, rugby, cricket, most things really) and generally get properly knocked about and exhausted; whilst at our sometimes fine state schools they are not allowed on the grass because it is muddy for heaven’s sake? Actually come to think of it, most state schools do have some sport still, so why is breaktime more dangerous? I really don’t understand this thinking.

  15. Mrs Albion June 24, 2011 at 13:18 #

    I so need to come a visit your blog WH and read the comments for a daily dose of sanity!

    Sometimes I think I must be a very slack parent as I’ve allowed Master Albion to have suffered concussion, a broken nose and torn knee ligaments. However, these were accidental injuries sustained whilst doing something he absolutely loves (rugby) – Popping in here reassures me that perhaps I’m not such an oddball afterall.

  16. Joy June 24, 2011 at 13:48 #

    Unbelievable. Sue-happy parents have a lot to answer for. I currently have yet another form to fill out from my son’s insurance company. About a year ago, 16yo son was playing a friendly game of baseball with friends on an empty lot in a friend’s neighborhood. My son was hit by a line drive ball which knocked his tooth out. We put the tooth in milk, went to the ER (it was Sunday afternoon, of course), had them shove the tooth back in, and off we went. The tooth survived, hurrah! However, the insurance company is looking for someone to blame–the empty lot owner, the baseball company, the company that made the glove, etc. in order to get out of paying the ER bill. Argh! It’s insane. Personally, I think that if you have boys, you will have injuries. Boys play hard if left to themselves and accidents happen all of the time. Life happens but everyone seems afraid to let their children live anymore. It’s sad.

  17. wartimehousewife June 24, 2011 at 14:04 #

    Mrs Albion and Fishwife (above) – I firmly believe that if you want children to grow up confident, competent, useful, robust and kind you have to expose them to situations where they have to make judgements and take risks. I sometimes have to grit my teeth and mutter prayers to the God of Plaster Casts under my breath when they do some things, but how else will they learn? When Boy the Elder was small, we practically named a treatment room at Kettering Hospital after him; he was bold and adventurous and a really good climber. He is now tall and lanky and still a good climber, he just climbs rocks and trees instead of medicine cabinets and crockery cupboards.

    Maybe the parents who have thought long and hard about sending their children to rufty-tufty private schools understand that these activities contribute greatly to how they conduct themselves in later life. That’s not to say the others don’t but certainly the private schools seem operate with the kid gloves off.

  18. wartimehousewife June 24, 2011 at 14:07 #

    Come and live in England Joy, we have a fabulous National Health Service!!

  19. penny June 24, 2011 at 16:52 #

    As a teacher, your story wants to make me rant about so many things. But I will stick to one increased behavioural and learning disability problems, especially ADHD have been linked by more than one study to lack of play outside and connection with Nature. So much so that more than one expert has called it Nature Deficit Disorder (see Richard Louv, Last child in the Woods.) Let our children play and stop trying to wrap them in cottonwool!

  20. wartimehousewife June 24, 2011 at 18:23 #

    How extremely interesting Penny, I shall look out for that book. I have ‘views’ on ADHD but I fear I would be lynched if I expressed them.

  21. Morag June 27, 2011 at 00:47 #

    As someone who has left the state school system behind, I can honestly say that the boy’s prep school revels in sports and play. All I had to do was sign a tree climbing consent form. And as for that arrant nonsense about not allowing kids to take risks, well how else are they to learn how to recognise and assess them??

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