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Confessions of a Grumpy Mother

School’s back then. Or for some it is. For the little ones just beginning at primary schools in Lewes, it can be a slow start, three weeks in our case. It is a thoughtful, child-oriented approach, which feels hard to rail against, but I’m going to anyway. The problem is this. The schools assume the presence in the family of a full time, 1950s style housewife. Not many Lewes families have one of these in 2006, many are single-parent households, and most of us are scrabbling through life with either full or part-time work or study. Many of us don’t have families around for back-up, and however guilty, I for one wish school started more quickly. A gentle first week to adjust maybe. Very few 4/5 year olds are new to being away from their mums or carers. Most kids have been going to one of the many nurseries in the area anyway, often for much longer time periods than the 9-12am sessions we will be having at school until Easter. As a family, we are managing by juggling taking time-off work separately, which means reducing whole-family holiday time, and negotiating child-care swaps with friends, but our nursery was at the university, so not many of our son’s friends live locally, and Brighton schools seem to start back more quickly. I want schools to be child-focussed, but is it possible to find a way to do this that supports whole families?

Why are our schools still geared to the fifties housewife?