I found a sausage roll wrapper on the kitchen counter today. I knew my daughter had chosen a quick school lunch on a busy day. But why had she taken this sausage roll out of it’s wrapper and put her lunch in a sandwich bag?
I asked her when she got home from school. She explained that it was a Waitrose sausage roll, she didn’t want her friends to know we shopped at Waitrose.
In grammar schools I wonder if an alternative scenario might play out? Perhaps in these schools everyone will have expensive sausage rolls and the poor children hide Aldi and Lidl wrappers.
I know it’s all rather ridiculous, but the timing feels appropriate. Just yesterday I posted my conference speech about the differences between Kent grammar schools and comprehensives. One incident with a sausage roll wrapper explains the class divide in our schools far better than any of my words.
Education is about lots of things. I think my son might pass the Kent Test and go to grammar school. But I worry that his education will be lacking. I worry that he won’t learn that some people buy cheaper food and don’t eat out on a whim. I worry that he’ll think everyone can afford new cars and foreign holidays. I worry that he’ll think everyone is smart, and finds school work easy, and then goes to University. I worry a grammar school will teach my son a one-sided world view.
My daughter might have failed the Kent Test, but she has learned the difference between Aldi and Waitrose. She has got wise to the fact our family are lucky to have financial advantage. She has learned that people are different, that some people pick things up quickly and some take longer to get there. She has learned many things my son will miss out on if he gets a grammar school education.
I am sure they will both turn out fine, and the things a parent teaches are just as important as anything children learn in school. Which reminds me, I need to teach my daughter to put wrappers in the bin not leave them lying about.
Unfortunately it may be harder to teach her the confidence to take sausage rolls to school wrapped, and tell her friends her family are Waitrose types.