Knowing that at least two of my readers are teachers, I have to tread carefully here so as not to cause offence. I’m sure that they at least are a credit to their profession, but it has to be said that the staff at my son’s school are completely and mind-bogglingly fucking useless.
In blog as in life, I’m not one to revert to industrial language, preferring to keep it in reserve for its shock value, so you can guess that I am less than happy with this particular branch of the teaching fraternity and sorority.
I won’t go into the catalogue of reasons for our lack of confidence in his school, just the latest example of their uselessness — organising Master P’s work experience placement.
Earlier this year we were told that we could either let the school choose a placement for him or we could arrange a self-placement ourselves. Now I’m sure we’re very grateful to all those local businesses that go out of their way to give the kids a taste of work, but mooching about an old folks’ home or stacking shelves in a warehouse isn’t the height of his ambition.
unsurprisingly we went for the latter option. My son is a bright lad and really fancies a career as a research scientist (no money in that son) but it is something we were happy to encourage, so we fixed up a placement in the research labs at Manchester University.
Of course, nothing is ever simple in these risk-averse days. There are all sorts of forms to fill in, health and safety, police checks etc, and we honestly thought we had jumped through all the required hoops when on a Wednesday afternoon in April he came home with a letter from school saying that as not all the forms had been completed he would have to go on one of their placements.
Our fault, I suppose not being sufficiently bureaucratic minded. I rang the school and explained what we had arranged and that we really wanted him to take up the opportunity only to be told that all the completed forms had to be in by the close of play that Friday. 48 sodding hours!
I won’t go into the detail but after much frantic to-ing and fro-ing the very helpful and quaintly named Public Engagement Officer at the university emailed me to say she’d completed the forms and they were in the post to the school on Friday evening. I rang the school and they said Monday morning was okay.
We took silence to mean that everything was sorted which was probably a mistake based on past experience. Then yesterday Master P arrives home with a note telling us that he has been placed with a Methodist children’s playgroup FFS!
I was on the phone again this morning. “Oh, you must have read my mind Mr Parrot. I was just about to ring you,” said the organiser who had obviously had an ‘Ohmigod!’ moment after speaking to my son who reminded her of what the arrangement should have been.
She claimed not to have received the forms, a claim I’m not inclined to believe on recent form. ‘”But I’m sure it will be fine. If you let me have the university contact details, I can send the forms again and we can get it sorted out.”
But if it’s ‘fine’ now in July, how come she had me running round like Jack Bauer with a doubly generous 48 hours to save the world in April? And having gone to all that trouble, why no note or phone call to say the forms hadn’t arrived? As I said at the start, mind-bogglingly fucking useless.