It seems not a blink of an eye ago that I myself inhaled deeply the smell of my freshly-polished school shoes, and entered the battlefield of Primary School. Yet soon, I will follow the little rip- zipped soles of my number two son down that same path. I will undoubtedly stand idly and wave him off into a sea of white shirts. Whilst others may wipe away a quiet tear, I know in my case, I will be more occupied with hoping the white shirt doesn’t come home with too many stains. Lacking in sentimentality you might say, but having paraded number one son screaming through the school grounds day after day, I am calm with the knowledge that this time, my new student will be fine.
The journey of a child into their educational career always brings back my own experiences of these early days and a sense of wonder at how things have changed. Gone are the days of stencils with a printing aroma so strong you could get high at your desk. No more can kids consume spatulas full of Perkins paste as a mid-craft snack. There are no monkey bars littered with little girls with their dresses round their necks, knickers blowing in the breeze, risking broken limbs with every spin. You can’t spend your lunch time (as I did) scavenging the dust under the play equipment for dropped coins to spend at the canteen. Tuck shop inflation means you still won’t be able to afford the tofu bites on offer. Once upon a time, school shows meant dressing up in a hessian sack with a crepe- paper streamer round your head and singing “We all live in a yellow submarine”. Nowadays, there is the full production with stage, sequins and six acts of cabaret. Oh, and don’t think the curriculum hasn’t come along in leaps and bounds also. Classic Early Reader texts like -” See John and Jane run” now read as, ” See John and Jane walk carefully for fear of a public liability scandal”.
Those were the days. Carefree and politically incorrect. We survived them and became reasonably good citizens .Whatever the conditions, glue stick eating or not, I say let the adventure begin.