There are many unwritten rules at school and not just for the children. I have just come back from the secretary’s office fuming at the injustice of it all. Thinking myself well organised and ahead of the game for once, I popped in to return the Holiday Sports Club form.
“I’m sorry your too late – there’s no more room.”
“What do you mean too late? The form said get your reply back by Monday -it’s Thursday afternoon and you only sent them out yesterday!”
I am given a pitying look and before I can say anything more in my defence she answers the telephone and I realise I am being summarily dismissed.
I flounce out of the office and although I would dearly love to slam the door I am prevented by the mechanism at the top - mentally I berate Health & Safety.
Normally I would not be worried by this setback. So what if my son can’t play cricket and football during the holidays but it matters - trust me
The car park at picking up time at the end of term had been alive with rumours about the latest 11-year old sporting prodigy at the school. He was spotted at a Cricket match by one of the leading private schools’ sports masters, who was acting as umpire, and there and then the boy was offered a bursary. As the child was already accepted at another school the father approached the aforesaid school to say sorry that the child would not be accepting the place as he had been offered a golden opportunity elsewhere. Short story long the school he was meant to go to offered the boy a Sports Scholarship on the spot without even seeing him play only for the other to offer a full Scholarship. It was, as they say, too good an offer to pass up – what a position to be in especially in the light of the Recession.
How I had laughed at the increasing number of mothers dolled to the nines who had come to watch their little darlings at After School Sports Club. I thought it was because everyone had heard that the new sports master Mr French was rather dishy and more excitingly, recently divorced. Now I realise that it was for far more sinister motives -to secure little Johnny a place on the Holiday Club list.
Those lucky enough to get into the Holiday Club will get the notice of Mr French, which will stand them in good stead for the rest of the year, and those with sporting prowess no doubt will be fast tracked. For sport at school is not just about keeping fit and working as a team it is about the kudos the top teams bring to the school and about the rewards that those individuals can earn – those unwritten rules of life.
The more I learn about the system the more I realise that it is a far cry from the civilised and polite environment I had always thought I was paying for. Getting ahead here is not about money, it’s about being cut throat, determined, even underhand. It was quite obvious that the word had got out and there had been a run on places even before the rest of us were officially told.
Luckily I have been given an even better tip off. I have found out that if I want my son to get the best sports teachers in the school he will have to secure a place in the Under Nines’ A or B teams by the time he’s eight otherwise he’ll be taught by the Gap year student and have even less of a chance to succeed.So I have grabbed the yellow pages and frantically called up all the Cricket, Rugby and Football clubs in the area expecting them to laugh at my pretension but lo! they even have Under Six training sessions and my boy is signed up for the next three years. If you can’t join ‘em - beat ‘em…