Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bloggers: When Its Time to Disregard the Negative and Concentrate on the Positive

I've been around in blogging circles, both parent and otherwise, on and off (briefly off mind) since 2006 (I know right? Before Twitter and everything).

So, I've kind of seen a lot in that time, drama, spats, unhappiness, passive aggressive fuckery, the whole nine yards.

I've joined in with my fair bit of what I like to term "bitch blogger baiting" and I've had differing levels of success. Sometimes I have felt justified (and still do, cough, holiday camp, cough), other times, I have woken up the next day, and thought "well that was a bit daft" and done a mouthing off walk of shame back on to Twitter to apologise.

But you carry on.

In blogging, as in life, you cannot possibly please all the people all the time. Whereas you may have 100,000 followers and hits per month, there will always be a few nay sayers who hate you, your blog, your cat and anything else you hold dear.

Its how we deal with these moaning minis and trolls that counts. Trust me, I have had enough of these to know what I'm talking about. I've been called, thick, unintelligent, a shit blogger, a blagger, mentally unstable, ugly, fat and my own personal fave, a chav. I laughed.

I don't really believe in don't feed the troll, cos to me, in my position, I love them, they are bloody great for stats after all! No I'm kidding. Really.
What I feel more like is that, if this troll is so intent on making you miserable, that actually, rather than slipping away from my blog and my twitter and retreating to a safe distance (or Facebook) the best course of action is to ramp up your blogging. Go out of your way to be all over social media like a persistent rash.

I know far too many bloggers who are lovely ladies (and gents) but each and every week one of them is attacked in some way. Sometimes its a comment, other times a tweet.

However, I think that to write a nasty comment without writing your name smacks of a lack of bravery and acute awareness that they are, in fact, a fuckwit. And that's how we should all see these people. Fuckwits, causing fuckwittage, to be fucking fuckwits and to make people as fuckwitty as they are.

I also feel that, actually, these said fuckwits should be patted on the head, told "there there" and laughed at. Not gotten worked up over. I would even go as far as to say that, should you have a fuckwit at your virtual door, you have truly made it in terms of blogging, its like being in a boyband and having a crazy stalker, but in a virtual sense.

Clearly, such is what you are doing, and doing well, that these much maligned , and clearly delusional, people are that jealous as to try and knock you enough to even out the playing field. Rather than, say, improving their own space online, writing good content, and engaging in a positive sense, they would much rather act in a childish way. They aren't here to make friends, and even if they are, they are so scared of being found out for what they really are behind the cloak of anonymous that they do just that- write anonymous. Or Guest. Or something similar.

Don't get me wrong, we all have bad days when we hate the world and we find ourselves jumping feet first and end up insulting people. Its those who do it all the time and think they are clever about it (when actually, one such troll is so well known in a certain blogging community (cough parent bloggers, cough) that it makes a mockery of her use of "anon") that are the problem.

So, keep doing what you do, write for you and those who like what you write, disregard those who don't and keep on keeping on.

And let those trolls up your stats whenever they like.
 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Is It Just Me: Or Has There Been a Serious Shift in Power Between Kids and Their Teachers?

Did anyone watch BBC One last night? 

No, I'm not talking about Bake Off and the Baked Alaska scandal that swept Twitter last night with fury only Britain can manage over a baked good.

I'm talking about the show which followed it (when no doubt half the UK was bemoaning said Baked Alaska Sabotage).

It was a Panorama documentary called "Last Chance Academy"  which  centred on a school in a deprived area of Birmingham.

The kids of the small Pupil Referral style unit were, as the title suggests, on their last chance to get an education of any kind. I believe what the school and programme makers hoped to do was to make us all feel sorry for these kids and to anoint the staff with sainthoods.

Well, I watched it but I didn't feel sorry for the majority of them at all. I felt that this £6,000 per pupil was, in the most part, a gigantic waste of money.

I also felt sorry, in actual fact, for the kids in the school- the majority who turned up, in their uniform, on time, with their homework.  You know, like you were meant to and like I should imagine the majority of you reading did in those days when you were at school.

I felt the Head of the "Leap" as it was called was being walked all over and came across as a bit of dick head. I can see most of the kids- as it was filmed- showing no respect at all for this so called maverick.

From pupils turning up when they could be bothered, to telling this Head that they wouldn't sit through 3 classes, they would only do two, while he rolled over to them, I was left completely shocked that the local authority let it be shown.

The thing is I may be slightly biased but I went to a school in a deprived area where we were not seen as having much hope beyond 16. I worked my arse off through little reprobates like those shown in the programme to get my grades. I did it with respect for my elders whether they were right or wrong.

See, when I was at school, that's how it went- you sat up straight, you said yes sir or no mam, you had respect and you did as you were told. The Teachers and the Heads ran things, not us. And no matter how many little buggers tried it on, they never got far further than detention. However, there was a newer breed of teacher who felt they needed to nurture these kids who couldn't be bothered to behave, meaning people like me faded into the background and were left to fend for ourselves. Hence, when I found it cripplingly hard to comprehend even basic maths, because I behaved and turned up on time without a bad attitude, no extra help or consideration was given.

Most of these kids talked over- if not shouted over- their teachers, You would not have dared in my day. Yet these teachers kept bending over backwards regardless.

Even though they supposedly had this extra help, all that money being spent, it was not until the end of her school life that it came out one child had a below par reading age. How the hell did they miss that? What are they being paid for?

I'm sorry, but it's time for Teachers (not all, as I know some great teachers who do a great job) to take back the power from these kids who show no respect yet get all the help and guidance in the world.

Or else I wouldn't like to be them when they find themselves in work having to bow down to a boss.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Is It Just Me: Questioning When Our Sense of What Constitutes Racism is More Important to Protect Than Children?

If I say the word Rotherham to you, unless you have yet to catch the headlines last night or this morning, than you will be, no doubt, disgusted by what has come to light.

It was revealed yesterday that children as young as 11, in fact 1,400 of them (or that's what we know of), have been used a currency by a gang of Asian males. They were raped repeatedly, and passed between friends in different towns between 1997 and 2013.

That in itself in the modern world we live in is disgraceful.

But the story takes an even more "are you fucking kidding me" angle when we find out that Social Workers- those whom are responsible for the welfare of those unable to care for it themselves, knew about the attacks. Did they intervene?

Well, you'd think owing to their job description they would have done without question. But they didn't. They did nothing. Not one thing. Hence the length of time and severity of the attacks on these 1,400 children (again, we know of these, but I would not be at all surprised that there are more who are still too scared to come forward).

According to reports, the main leader of this pack of, and I'm not sorry if this offends, and would invite you to get the hell off my blog and never return if it does or you sympathise with these men in anyway, utter animals walked around like he was King of the World. He was well aware that the Social Services knew, and well aware they stood by and let it happen. He goaded them frequently according to reports. He knew they knew and did nothing, so he simply carried on, safe in the knowledge that he could do what he wanted and not face what rightfully should have happened (and has, thankfully, now happened) and be jailed.

So, why did this carry on for so long? Why were so many of these poor kids allowed to have their lives ruined forever for the sick sexual desires of these freaks? (again, not sorry for offence, they're freaks).

Its that word again, the one we hear over and over increasingly when the Powers That Be who are meant to protect the rest of us fail.

Racism.

They were scared about being accused of racism. More scared of that than of what was happening to these children.

One could ask how they could sleep at night, knowing that this was going on, under their noses.

Do they have kids themselves?

To top it all off, and to further reinstall that racism is more important that children's welfare in this country these days, how many have been sacked, resigned or given their wages back?

One.

Out of a whole department of people, paid to do a job, one person, the head, has resigned.

You can see this being a Sharon Shoesmith all over again.

And what are our mates the Tories doing? Are they sacking people?

Are they feck.

If it's not an excuse to kick a disabled person or similar, they don't care.

Its the usual round of solemn looks to camera and "lessons will be learnt" yet again.

Yet these lessons are not learnt.

I'm not a racist person. Far from it. But I really hate that these so called do gooders are ruining the country by marking everything as racist at the drop of a hat, meaning people are too scared to speak up and people like these sick individuals can walk around, knowing that, should they have their collars felt they can cry racism and it all goes away.

No doubt the same will be true when the deluded UK ISIS fighters decide they've quite had enough of beheading people are raping and pillaging a land they've probably not had family members in for decades and want their cushy UK lives back.

Frankly, they should have their passports revoked but it wont happen.

This time, we do actually need a public referendum on what constitutes racism. What levels it takes and when this is nothing compared to what children like those in Rotherham (and no doubt other boroughs we're yet to hear about), some of whom had petrol thrown over them when they told their attackers they would speak up, have had to go through and the future they face trying to live a normal life.

And you can't help thinking, had these children have been mates of David Cameron's party members, this would have all been dealt with a lot quicker.

I leave you, disgusted that this story has happened in the UK, a supposedly civilised country. And hoping that, these poor mites may be left alone and never failed again.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Camp Bestival Diary Part 3: Saturday Evening

You join me back in the field by the crochet trimmed Castle Stage!

Sophie Ellis Bextor, someone who I have never really thought good or bad on in the sense that I wouldn't buy an album but am not offended if she comes on the radio, stormed the sunlit stage.

I would love to ask her how she still looks about 19 at this point, she looked fab compared to us by now weary festival dwellers. And dear Robbie is wrong, she definitely does not have legs like his Gran, unless she was blessed with an enviable pair able to dance for some time in sparkly heels. I was pleasantly surprised by her act, I loved the disco styled melody she did at the end of her set, throwing in Moloko was a good call. Everyone in the crowd danced like loons including Littlest. I am now left wondering both where she got her vintage first stage costume from and how I can look good enough after children to wear a spangly leotard with ease.

Next it was time for tea and back to the camp where dinner was served in the tent whilst the Brats joined their new found Yellow Camp mates from next door.

It was still hot most of the afternoon and well into the evening, but knowing how open the field is we wrapped the Brats in onesies and brought their blankets ready for the evenings entertainment. We briefly stopped around the field to admire the scene of a wedding party going into the blow up church and so Littlest could wave at more Policemen, then took our spots in the middle of the crowd for Laura Mvula.

Now, I like Laura, I find she's a bit like Amy Winehouse in that soulful mixture of old and new she conjures into your ears with her velvet voice. I've seen a few people suggest she was a bit dull for later in the field and they'd prefer something to dance to. But, after an afternoon full of high energy, it was quite nice to sit back and relax whilst she whispered in our collective ears.

A consummate professional not at all bothered by technical niggles, Laura was a cool breeze on a hot day, and I am now in a rush to download as much material as I can find.

By now, the Brats were yawning and, up until earlier today it would have meant rock, paper, scissors between Elder and I over who got to see Headline act De La Soul. But, no, they now have ear defenders-yippee! So with blankets on the floor, warm and cosy as they were, they nodded off.

At this point, things got a bit tense as those technical buggers had reared their goblin like heads again, and the start time moved further and further away.

Too Many Ts, acting once again as Compères did a marvellous job of trying to keep an increasingly concerned crowd happy with jokes and songs, and I would not have liked to have been them.

Finally, at just before 10.45 instead of 10.15, the mighty and frankly unbeatable De La Soul stormed onto the stage and the crowd went bloody wild with joy (including myself).

I utterly love their brand of hip hop, I have the vinyl original of Three Feet High and Rising twice as I love it so. I also didn't mind Little Mix in Hyde Park so much due to their (not quite as good unless you are Mini) version of Ring Ring Ring.

They smashed it, I liked their newer stuff but did jump far more over such classics as Saturday, Ring Ring Ring and Me Myself and I.

However, the set was meant to last an hour and sadly, it came to an abrupt halt at 11.15.  I'm not going to moan too much, but it was disappointing for me and many others in the crowd, and many thought they were possibly taking a break before coming back, but it was not to be.

Amidst chants of "Say No Go" using their much loved classic song, we made our way back to the tent.



It can't be helped that tech issues arise in a field full of people, but I would have thought letting them stay on for their full hour wouldn't have been an issue when other fields carried on into the small hours (in fact, we were at the bottom of the hill in Yellow Camp but could hear everything going on at the big top and in the Soul Park quite clearly).

That's not to say we didn't enjoy what we did see, it was everything we had looked forward to and more, but it did make it a little more annoying that it was cut short.

So, we woke the Brats up and took them tent wards still half asleep, discussing how next year we will definitely buy a trolley and transport them!

Camp Bestival Dairy Part 2: Saturday Day Time

Hello from a now very sunny and hot Lulworth and Camp Bestival where we're lucky enough to be having a ball.

Saturday started off with scary levels of rain and cold, at points from 5.30am I was convinced the tent would blow away. We're in yellow camp at the bottom of a steep hill, so we definitely pitched in the wrong place.

Happily by 10am it was starting to clear and after a jaunt for a breakfast must haves in nearby Wareham, it was back to wander round the camp.

We took in the Upper Kids field, the beautiful cathedral and then off we went to the Roald Dahl museum.

The Brats love Roald Dahl so enjhoyed the exhibit, albeit a small one, and loved dressing up as Oompa Loompas and Willy Wonka.




We then popped by to see an old fave of ours in the shape of multi talented  Rory McLeod, who treated a large crowd of devotees in the Big Top to a brilliant performance of his brand of personally penned folk songs. There is not a single instruments he can't play, including the spoons. The song Mum certainly brought a tear to the eye. We were lucky enough to meet him afterwards amongst a big crowd of fans, and finally Elder got to ask for a signed CD for a close friend.

Next up was the group Too Many Ts, who were good at getting the crowd ready for the next big act, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. They put me in mind of Rizzle Kicks actually, and I'm pleased I got see them for the first time.

Sophie is on now, and look out for the next part of the diary, which will include Sophie, Laura Mvula and De La Soul (so excited!).

Friday, 1 August 2014

Camp Bestival Diary: Friday

Camp Bestival- yippee!

We arrived around 5pm yesterday and set up base camp in the Yellow Zone, straight away Mini and Littlest had made firm friends of our next door neighbours and after a dinner an early(ish) night was declared.
How many Family Panel Men does it take to put up a wonky Wind Breaker?

Of course, the Brats were raring to go by 7pm, and so we took a brief detour for supplies (including waterproofs for us adults who had managed to forget ours- doh!).

We took our lucky pit seats for Horrible Histories which Mini has helpfully given her view on below:



We were then treated to an amazing performance by Courtney Pine. All I can say is, wow. If you haven't caught him live (as Elder did 20 years ago) or heard him perform online, what are you waiting for, you need this guy's music in your life. If you can find it look for his version of Happy. Best. Version. Ever.

We had wanted to all see James, but I had designated this Elder's definite one to watch alone if the kids moaned about how late it was, and true to form they did. So off we went back to the tent, stopping off to look at all the lights of the camp at
night time.


Elder did report back though, and good news for James fans is that there is a new album coming, and it's set to be a good one. They of course pleased the crowds with some old favorites, although down the maximum capacity no one could do the sit down bit of Sit Down, due to a lack of room (or old age? Perhaps!).

We are now looking forward to day 2, which promises Rain but also Laura Mvula, Rory Mcleod and De La Soul.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Leaving Book: Update

For those asking on Twitter and Facebook, the book did indeed get signed.

Elder had a chat to the Head, who was baffled, and who over ruled the tit who had an issue with me and my family being not middle class enough for them  it (although the fact they were too lazy to do a book themselves, heard about it, then moaned says it all for their intelligence level frankly).

It did exactly what I wanted it to do, the book. It stopped Mini being as upset as she would have been had she not had some, absolutely lovely, messages from her closest mates to distract her. 

What I found sad was how few of anyone grown up actually said good bye or good luck, bar the few who have always just been damn normal human beings who chatted to us regardless. The type who don't look over your shoulder while they chat to you. The type who don't foist their opinions on you about stuff that has nothing to do with them.

The thing is, with that school, Mini has had it leave two types of mark on her. The first is very happy memories of her close pals, who she will undoubtedly miss, and who, via the medium of giving out our number to a chosen few, she and Littlest will hopefully still keep in contact with. She has passed exams, she is a clever kid, as is Littlest, despite being written off by a few who failed to look beyond his illnesses and his time off school. 

To be fair, exams don't fuss me at this age. They are hardly likely to go for an interview one day and have someone say that down to not passing an exam when they are six they can't follow their dreams. Exams, by design are more to see how good the teachers are teaching, not how clever my children are.

However, that said, the fact Littlest passed his phonics screening felt like a massive achievement for him, bearing in mind how at the beginning of the year, down to him being kept behind for months and thus being half a year behind his peers,(something we felt bullied into)  he was written off straight away and given books with no words despite being more than able to read and write at home.

The sad, and second mark Mini has is of being bullied and it falling on deaf ears.

This one child made not just her life hell but most of her class and a few in the other classes too. No matter how many times I tried to get others to go as a group to complain, no one else could be bothered. They were quick enough to sign up for making cakes and helping with trips, something which no doubt made them look good. It made me mad and baffled that women who would berate each other, and who were so competitive when it came to their kids, so forceful of them doing educational stuff, would happily allow one kid to make their lives appalling. Are their kids nothing but show off material to them?

I was thus on my own when it came to the battle to stop Mini coming home with bruises and scrapes and the damage it caused to her confidence. Even when not at school, she would bring the child involved up. And woe betide telling the school you wanted to speak to his dead behind the eyes Mother, apparently that was deemed unacceptable too.

I doubt its all schools, in fact I know its not, but sometimes I think certain parent's and their wishes outweigh others. Its such an outdated way to run things, were X child gets preferential treatment due to his Mum's involvement in the PTA, and Y child is over looked time and time again. It was the same with the Leavers assembly yesterday, same old faces doing the readings, rest of the kids may as well not exist. Maybe its a church school thing? I don't know!

It should be a case that each child and parent is treated on an equal footing, and I hope (and from spending time with the new school and the welcoming attitude received on Facebook on asking a local group what the school is like) that that is the new schools way.

It certainly wasn't that way at their old school, and I was far from the only, ignored by the staff and the snobs who felt they run things there, parent to voice anger at the running of the school.

That said, not everyone in our old town is a snotty idiot with too much time on their hands. We have some great mates we made over our time there. These are the people that made life bearable, the like minded people who liked us for who we were, not what they thought we were. 

You cannot at any point favour one over others, and I was never in the position of asking for that to happen. It was a sodding book, with about 8 pictures in, that made a 7 year old leaving everything she knows behind, happy.

And at the end of the day, what type of individual would deny that? 

***And in a rare move for me, comments are closed down to a persistent troll. Who will be reported to the necessary online people if need be **** 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Is It Just Me: Or Do Some School Gate Mums Need Reminding Its the Kids at School, Not the Parents?

This post should have a mammoth  gif that has a red alert warning on it. Unfortunately, I'm yet to manage the wonders of the gif so you'll have to picture it in your mind instead.

I make no apologies for ranting and possibly swearing in this post, so if you aren't keen on rants, look away now.

As you know, we have left Maiden-Snoot for good, and have gone off fourteen miles down t'road.No, they don't talk like farmers where we are but its homely and villagey and bohemian and nice. The t'road was meant to encompass that warm fuzzy feeling.

Unfortunately, despite everything else having moved, the school hasn't, and we're stuck driving (OK, Elder, stop pulling a face, you're stuck driving whilst I sit on my arse admiring the view) 28 miles twice a day to drop them off.

Its costing a bomb, and has caused nothing but grief as its not good for Littlest to be in a car and up early every day for long distances. Its not good for Elder's slipped disk either, and in this heat, its a bloody nuisance.

Regardless, Mini and Littlest want to make the most of being at the school as no doubt, come tomorrow at 2.15, I shall need a man sized box of snot rags due to the floods of tears both of them will be in, and their mates too.

You see, they have a lovely set of friends, who they have become quite close to. Sadly, despite the kids being lovely, and with a few exceptions, most of their Mums are ignorant, self important toads.

Yes, I've said it. Self important, snobbish, ignorant and condescending toads at that.

I don't have to see them after tomorrow, and I'm over the freaking moon at that. They have mostly gone out of their way to be ignorant to me, simply as they spoke to me a couple of times and then on realising I'm not an up my own arse, middle class bore with high up aspirations,  and that I wont be any good for social climbing, I was dismissed. Unless they wanted to up the quota to pay for their Christmas dinner. 

Oh, I've had snide looks, I know I've been chatted about. I know one of them, the leader, the Queen Bee (self appointed I may add) is on occasion downright nasty to my kids cos she can't stand me and I have, on occasion been forced to sarcastically respond the odd time she has deemed it necessary to grace me with an unwarranted opinion. Like telling Littlest we "over exaggerate" his allergies. 

The thing is, they can kiss me arse as I walk out the door.

I have no issue with lifeless twats like these. Frankly, I pity the sad unfulfilled lives they must lead that being some "Mum Army" of Mum-upmanship, and all dressing in gym kits (with various degrees of success) on the same day becomes the highlight of their lives. As for being a part of it, hell to the no my friends. I hate in blogging the types who are nice to everyone's face but love nothing more than bitching to all and sundry about everyone over private messages.

With this crew, they are so saccharine sweet to each other's faces, and nasty as sin behind each other's backs, it makes the mind boggle. Yes, because, get them on their own or in small groups away from the Queen Bee, and they can be OK to chat with. They do, however love to be as unkind and critical of each other behind each other's backs as they are no doubt about the likes of me out of ear shot.

I find it hilarious, but Queen Bee has gone too bloody far this time, and as a swipe against me, she is basically picking on Mini.

Out of the two, Mini is by far the most upset at losing her mates come September. So, I decided to make a memory book, of photos of her and her mates.

It took me a bit of time but it was worth it. I asked the school was it OK to come along to the Leavers Disco on Friday, and take some snaps. I was told they'd need to to ask the PTA (or the Parent's Talking out their Arse society as I shall now nickname it), and they'd ask them to let me know either way.

Except no one did. Queen Bee is part of it, but the leader is a very quiet woman, who went out of her way to avoid me even glancing at her and locking eyes.

So I thought, fuck it. I'm there Friday anyway to pick up Littlest, I shall just get me snaps and go.

Which I did, and lovely they were too. I didn't force anyone, Mini went over and grabbed who she wanted, which amounted to about 8 photos and off I went.

No one said anything from the little gang of that firm. 

I then tried to hand it, sneakily, to her lovely teacher yesterday to be told someone had complained that it wasn't fair on the other kids to do a book for Mini.

The thing is, the school hasn't done a book, they haven't bought it, paid for it or supplied the pictures. I have. I have made it, just as any other Mum or Dad could've made it for their kid. It wouldn't take up time, I was just giving it to the teacher so the few kids in it could write a little bye bye message. Most of her mates were in on it. Mini, however,was not, she thought that I was simply taking snaps as I always do.

So, who complained?

It's fairly obvious, and several of us normal parent's agree that, as usual, petty behaviour has come to the forefront of the school, unchecked.

The thing is, yes, all the kids in Year 2 are leaving the school. But 99% are going to the next school up the road, or one in Maidenhead. Mini is not. 

Elder did a sly rant to a Dad this morning in front of Queen Bee and apparently she couldn't look him in the eye. Only she would be petty and self important enough to pull that off. None of the other parents had an issue at all and according to the Head it didn't come from the school and they had no issue with it.

Thank God we got out of that god forsaken pit of a town. It makes Stepford look bloody normal.

What would you do readers?


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks School Attendance Nazi's Have Gone too Far?

School is important, that's a fact, and of course, missing days is a cause for concern. 

These days, all schools expect pupils to achieve a yearly average of 95% attendance. Such is the importance of this number, that new laws came into force last year to say that all absences must be worthy of the amount of time off from studies they cause.

However, what constitutes an authorised, and acceptable reason to be off school?

As usual, whereas many schools exercise sense and will allow pupils lee way for special circumstances, others are just taking the piss.

Take this story in the Mirror of 11 year old Maddie Stevens, who was banned from her schools end of year Leavers Dinner due to not having the prized 100% attendance (bearing in mind the government's 95% rule).

Why did Maddie miss out?  Did her parent's let her bunk off? Did they go on the much maligned and debated mid term holiday to cut costs?

No. 

She went to her Mother's funeral. In fact, Maddie had only that day off despite losing her Mum, as she wanted to be as normal as possible and get on with life. 

This isn't the first time a child or family have been demonised and held up as poor examples of parenting over a funeral or spending time with a dying loved one. In recent months stories have appeared in newspapers of parent's taken to court and given a criminal record and massive fines for taking time out for family who are dying or their funerals.

Yes, there needs to be less time off for frivolous reasons, but there also needs to be a line drawn under what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable absence.

The other issue is children like Littlest, who have lots of time off at different times of the year due to illness. We nearly incurred the wrath of the Education people in January. I had to justify why Littlest is absent a lot between October and April. To someone I had never met and who had seen Littlest on a list and had then decided to treat me like a criminal, demanding a meeting without even a nod to his illnesses at all.

Yes, I was angry, and frankly I felt like the school had let us all down as they have always been told and given letters from his consultants to prove what we say. 

Even now, a letter came home last week suggesting the school is now looking through everyone's attendance ad should they decide a fine and court date will be winging its way in due course. No doubt that will be in my letterbox soon as there seems to be no full guidelines regards situations such as Littlest's.

At the moment, we travel 28 miles twice a day to get to school and back, but that will cut no slack.

I say stick to kids whose parent's can't be bothered to get them up and out and who value an easy life over their kids future. And don't even get me started on the double standards of Teacher strikes or those who disappear on holiday themselves.

To my mind, in a time when school's are having their budgets cut, these "any excuse to fine is valid" attitude of some authorities makes school fines the education version of the speed camera. Where does this money go? Why is there no legislation so every school has the same rules?

Yes, education is the foundations of the rest of the child's life. But please, before you bring in sweeping change, work out who really needs the swift kick up the arse of a fine and leave those like Maddie alone.