I met a woman today who has children of 9 and 7 and she described to me how one child will go back to school in September but only until 2pm and the other one until 2.20pm.
She laughed when I said that the school needs to consider the mothers’ domestic and professional workload. “Ha! That school is not run with even half a mind on the parents,” she said. She said this as if it was a big laughing matter. My face turned to stone.
I set out to her all the points that I have set out here over the last week and told her that she must band together with other parents and ask the council and the school if this shortened day is really absolutely necessary.
That is not a full school day, that is not children returning to full-time education, as Boris Johnson his very self promised. More important now than ever is a full school day considering they have lost term-time to catch up on: going home at 2pm is part time education. And it is probably an unnecessarily cautious interpretation of the guidelines – remember they are guidelines and not rules. Not law, not legislation.
She looked at me really surprised and shocked and then suddenly pissed off when I told her that her needs as a human being need to be prioritised and swore to me that she would galvanise her peers.
Please, please do the same to other women you meet and talk to. Evangelise. Preach. You matter! We matter! The schools closing again is a possibility and until then curtailed hours are a reality. Do not unquestioningly accept the initial offer from your school.
You don’t have to rage around and defensively call everyone a c***, just ask questions, loudly and persistently and get others to do the same. Don’t write one email, signed from many – send many individual emails. CC your MP and anyone else in a local decision-making position you can think of.
Be chill but, with your band of sisters, be very hard to ignore. Do the children really have to go home at 2pm? Why? Please show me where in the guidelines it says this. Please show me how you have interpreted advice from the government in this way.
Please. Please and thank you.
NB PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE COMMENT FROM ROSIE WITH SOME EXCELLENT PRACTICAL ADVICE ON HOW TO APPROACH YOUR SCHOOL IF YOU FEEL THE OFFERING DOES NOT COUNT AS ‘FULL TIME’. THANK YOU ROSIE!