Dec. 19th, 2012

dorsetgirl: (DG1)
When my oldest first went there, my sons' secondary school was very aware of the fact that their students' families didn't automatically have lots of money just because it was a Grammar School. In fact, as they take anyone who passes, rather than only the top-ranked candidates, they're very much the plate-glass end of the grammar-school spectrum rather than redbrick or Oxbridge, if I can borrow University labels for a moment. Until five years ago it was only necessary to buy two things direct from the school - the tie and the blazer badge. Everything else could be sourced wherever parents could find the right-looking stuff. I used to buy blazers in BHS for about £16 and they lasted reasonably well for the 2-3 years it took to grow out of them.

Then the school started supplying blazers with the badge ready-embroidered onto the pocket and that was fine because they were still only about £16. It was only three years later that I realised that an outgrown school blazer could no longer be passed down as a pleasingly cool black jacket to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, unless you actually cut the pocket off.

Then the PE kit started sprouting school emblems on every item, and had to be obtained from the school. No more Asda shorts.

And today I've had an email from them. Apparently from January they have a new uniform supplier. It's a specialist school outfitters' and as such, one of the most expensive shops in the area.

The school is still plate-glass. The parents are still very ordinary people who just want their children to have an academic education and think a grammar school would suit them best. We don't have pearls and BMWs and ambitions for our children to be world-beaters. For my part, I just want my children to survive their schooling without being crushed and broken too badly; to come out still full of interest and intelligence while having hopefully ticked enough boxes to get the right bits of paper. I would rather use my limited resources to buy them books and computers and thought-provoking Christmas presents than spent lots of money pandering to the headteacher's wish to run a school for "the right kind of people".

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