Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Well, here we are in London ... well in the outskirts of the capital at any rate. My son’s first day at his new school was last Tuesday – rapidly followed by two days off due to the inclement weather conditions (which didn’t actually stop US from getting there but “Health & Safety issues” made it necessary to close the school for fear that children may have thrown a few snowballs at each other).

He was rather circumspect after his first day ... he’d been off school since I removed him from the Arts & Media College in Bournemouth in November 2009 and, to be honest, I think ANY school would have been anathema after that length of time. He’s been partaking of private maths tuition and his Ma’s slightly deranged take on home education since I withdrew him from the Bournemouth school. I’m not exactly sure how much he’s learnt over the past couple of months but he’s now not quite as fearful of dealing with all things numeric as he used to be, he knows all about The Goon Show and can sing “The Ying Tong Song” very well indeed.

I was VERY edgy about his reticence after his first day and you can only imagine how relieved I was when I collected him on his second day (which turned out to be last Friday) when he was grinning from ear to ear and telling me how much he’d enjoyed himself, how great the teachers were and how puzzled he was that two young ladies had asked him out. I am blessed with a son who’s neither aware of how handsome he is, nor how cool. He was very bemused indeed that anyone of the opposite sex would be interested in a “nerd” such as he thinks he is!

He had homework to do over the weekend and even set about that with gusto. I expect the novelty will wear off soon and we will settle into a less excited routine but how very good it is to have a kid who can’t wait to get to school each day.

The house is all but sold in Bournemouth – we’re due to complete by the end of this month and, not being a great one for “hanging around”, we’ve already found a house very close to his new school indeed and have had our offer accepted on it. Hopefully we should be installed therein by the end of February which will be marvellous ... the house is truly nothing special – just a three bedroomed, solid, terraced family home – but how good it will be to move out of the tiny rented flat we’ve been in since the first day of the year and once again be able to have our “own” stuff around us. It will also be very good not to have to travel 48 miles each day on 2 school runs!

My last blog "The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum" attracted a great deal of publicity thanks to that ever-delightful and kindest of Tweeters, Stephen Fry, but - inspite of hearing responses to it from the Headmaster of my son's previous school and a representative of a large teaching union on the BBC's "South Today" and on Radio Solent - I still have had not ONE word of explanation nor an apology for the mismanagement of my son's education at that school ... other than the Union representative stating during his interview that my blog had not been "helpful" to the "professionals". Oh, I am SO very sorry ... would that these "professionals" had have been "helpful" to my son!

So, we’ve had a tumultuous few months – an emotional roller coaster during which there have been many occasions when I’ve questioned the logic of the decisions I’ve made and the decisions following the “big decision” haven’t been easy at all. We’ve sadly had to have our much loved big dog re-homed as it just wasn’t feasible to bring her with to London; we’ve had to up sticks and move from a very comfortable home indeed firstly to a rented, furnished flat; we’re still coming to terms with the implications that moving may have for our business and a lot of time is spent HOPING that trade will be as good as or better for us in London than it was in Bournemouth – but the main thing is we have a son who is now enjoying going to school and is getting the sort of education that every kid deserves to have. And THAT is worth all the doubts, fears, uncertainties and soul-searching.


  1. Brilliant. Thank heavens for your son that you had courage to take him out; many would not where to start. And the means of venting some of your anger in the previous well balanced piece!
    We had similar problems with my daughter and moved her just months before her GCSE/s. Bad timing but the right decision as her confidence was being eroded daily by a bullying head teacher! The LA asked me to pursue a grievance, which I began but dropped as my father became seriously ill- only so many battles you can fight at once!
    I wish you tremendous happiness in your new home, Karen, and your nerdy beautiful boy a fabulous secondary school career!

  2. I have had some catching up to do ..cant believe whats been going on and the comments and discussion thats followed .

    Blogs and twitter are comlex beasts as we feel we live our lives in some form of public gaze a big brother for the Radio 4 generation .

    I feel for you and everything you have both been through in the past 10 months or so .

    Best wishes in your new home will bounce back ,just as I have .


  3. Excellent sequel to your previous blog Karen. As I have said to you personally, what you have done for Joshy is absolutely wonderful and I am sure he is incredibly proud and thankful to have such fantastic parents.
    It is an utter disgrace that you have received no apology from THAT school.I am sure that the principal would have faced and uncomfortable time with the school governors.
    Welcome back to London, Happy New Year and a Very Happy New Start Much Love A-C xxxx

  4. Great to get an update on what's going on. Pleased to hear you've made your Cranford-esque journey to the smoke and that the nipper is a happy camper. Keep us informed madam. :) x

  5. Great to hear things are moving positively forward! Here's wishing you a very productive and happy time in London.

  6. Sounds like life is picking up again. Hopefully young Josh will settle in and you can get yourself back into some sort of routine. Wishing you all the best for 2010. ps Enjoying following you and your exploits on twitter.

  7. Delighted to read this, long may your ride into the sunset continue. Well done for standing up for your family.

  8. Great update Karen. So glad things are going to work out for your lad, and I daresay business will not suffer, being nearer to London.

  9. Tracey Anne Davies24 January 2010 at 00:23

    My heart broke when I read your blog about your son back in November '09, I have been following you on Twitter since then and am so pleased that your son seems to be enjoying his new school and you will all soon be settled in your new home.
    My eldest daughter had a nightmare 15 months when she first started senior school, with verbal bullying by large groups of the so called "popular in crowd". Despite numerous visits and phone calls nothing seemed to be sorted out, then one day it turned to physical bullying.....probably the worst thing they could have done, as my daughter had been doing karate for quite a few years, and although was timid and did not know how to respond to verbal abuse, she certainly knew how to defend herself against physical attack!! Even her year head congratulated her on her excellent blocking technique! Thankfully she never had anymore trouble.
    The school she attended has just recently gone into special measures, which is a shame because although she had her problems at first she is a very bright girl and did very well there.
    That said we did move so that her younger twin sisters wouldn't have to attend the school, and they luckily go to one of the best secondary comp schools I've ever come across, they are very bright confident girls who are flying and gaining grades way above their years.
    The twins are one exam away from their black belt in karate as well, but they are like bodyguards for one another and will take no abuse from anyone against themselves or one another!!
    I did check with the karate instructor about the use of their discipline, he said that as long as it is used in self defence there is no problem, and that the blocks they use are just as powerful as the punches and kicks!
    Anyway enough of my rambling, good luck with your move, and heaps of good wishes to your son in his new school.

  10. Things are looking good for you now!