Somehow or other, oldest is starting secondary school in just six months. He has a place at our first choice and we’re impressed by what we’ve heard about it so far. But I’m so not ready for him to move up from primary school!
As soon as he got his place, my own experiences of secondary came flooding back. So my memories are no longer confined to those random anxiety dreams in which I haven’t done my geography homework. Oh no, they’re consuming many of my waking thoughts too.
My time at secondary was very much a game of two halves. I was bullied for the first two and a half years moved class midway through year nine then mostly enjoyed the remainder.
On the whole, though, I cringe when I think of those years. I imagine most of us do – none of us is the end product until way after secondary school. Plus the early 1990s were horrendous.
P.E. lessons were the absolute worst – and I actually like sports. We often used the local leisure centre where, due to a mysterious shortage of bibs, we had to play ‘shirts vs skins’.
Yes, there was a public viewing gallery. And, yes, I was always on the skins team. It was only marginally less humiliating than the communal showers afterwards.
Science was utterly terrifying. As a timorous young lad, the combination of naked flames, gas taps and burning magnesium with nothing but flimsy plastic goggles for protection worried me somewhat. CDT was similar thanks to its range of James Bond villain apparatus.
Elsewhere, I don’t remember the canteen selling anything other than pizza and chips and the boys’ toilets were often locked all day due to vandalism. The best years of your life, eh?
Now, obviously, I don’t expect any of the above to apply today. That all ended 25 years ago. Since then, basic human rights have become a thing. As has health and safety. But I’m still afraid of the unknown on my son’s behalf.
Things have changed so much – and for the better on the face of it – but I’m a natural worrier and casual catastrophist.
His new school seems really nurturing so, hopefully, my fears will just prove to be the result of my own unresolved issues and nothing more.
I’d love to hear from parents a little further along the line to put my mind at rest. Do you have kids at secondary school? If so, how does it compare to your own experiences?