If there’s one lesson they learn …

Sucking up to schools is over; we have visited and spent long days at five or six or seven. I had lost count by the end of our first week here. I – and especially the kids – can relax. Nobody has to put long trousers on again this hols (Ben), nobody has to get trussed up in a skirt that hangs below the knee (Amelia) and nobody has to decant contents of handbag into something that resembles actual handbag instead of habitual you-never-know-what-you-may-need rucksack (me). It’s a relief.

Whether it will have paid off – our grovelling – I don’t know yet. Whether we’ll be granted an astonishingly generous bursary I must wait and see. Of all the schools we saw, we loved two (warm, funny Registrars; friendly children; enough discernibly different accents for me not to worry my kids would come home with plums in their mouths and airs above their station) and hated a third. Mainly because I was continually reminded – by every member of staff I met – of all the money ‘sloshing about’. Not in the bursary bucket but in the bank accounts of most of the parents. They could offer to educate my kids for nothing and I’d decline; if there’s one lesson my children learn please may it be that having cash to flash isn’t important. And because we’re never likely to have much money, me and their dad, I’d hate to put them in an environment where they felt compelled to keep up.

Or justify the fact their mother lugged old Gap ruck sack about at Speech Day (from which she dispensed bubble gum, pens, plasters, paper hankies and lollipops) and not a Prada handbag into which she popped the keys to her new Range Rover.

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