Friday, July 28, 2006

Other people's children

I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a secondary-school teacher. We met in the library. In the course of normal conversation (she's off to Prague at the weekend), I mentioned that the Tadpole will need a passport form signed, and that the list of people allowed to sign Irish passport forms is very short and doesn't include teachers, and she talked about a student whose British passport form she had been asked to sign. Only the form wanted her to sign a statement that she knew the child's parents, and she didn't, because they never, ever came to parents' evenings.


I made a remark along the lines of "What hope does he have?" and she said that yes, he is constantly in trouble, and his parents are often summoned to meetings with the head or the year-head or whoever.

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall
cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable
(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have, either
by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

I quoted that to her, and she didn't get it. I clarified: "It's the parents' responsibility to ensure the child gets an education, even if they get someone else to do it." She didn't seem to see how that tied in to the child's behaviour, though.

I was and remain baffled. It's obvious to me that this child's parents have seriously damaged his/her chances of ending up either educated or in a position to educate him/herself. Is this really so obscure?

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