Child number 3 is between schools. Primary over and secondary not yet begun. Exciting times ahead.
I remember the summer when I was 11 so distinctly. Our gang marauded around on bikes and thought we were untouchable. We had it all planned out. If anyone tried to report us for being bad and asked where we went to school, we would just tell them that we didn’t. How cool was that! Needless to say, we didn’t do anything naughty enough to lead to the question being asked.
It was all so exciting, starting secondary school. I had a uniform for the first time. (Bottle green and lemon yellow – quite foul!) I would have a new class and a timetable and lots of lovely new subjects to learn about. But best of all, I could reinvent myself. I liked this idea a lot. I’d practise new ways of moving, a new smile. I spent hours deliberating on which particular shortening of my name I would encourage amongst my new friends.
Over the years, I got quite good at these chameleonesque (spell checker is hyperventilating) transformations but then I had a lot of practise. I went to five different schools in eight years. Each time, I would leave a little part of myself behind, a bit I didn’t much care for and try and add something new. It was kind of fun at the time.
Now though, I wonder how I would have turned out if we hadn’t moved so often. I might have been better at Chemistry, for example. I could have had stronger friendships if I hadn’t had to keep abandoning them.
However, there are some disadvantages to staying put. That girl who didn’t like you in the Infants because you nicked her crayon may well still have it in for you in the sixth form. And woe betide if you step out of line because someone is bound to tell your mum!
My children won’t have the advantages of reinvention. They are likely to see out their childhood in the same house and with just two schools under their belts. However, what they will have is a sense of belonging, an understanding of how things work in their environment and the confidence that comes with being secure in a place that you know.
But they’ll only get that new school buzz once so they had better make the most of it!