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School Holidays part One

Rachel Fearnley
School Holidays part One

Hello, Over the next few weeks I am going to include in my Blog my thoughts about school holidays. Here I will be referring to the school holidays in the United Kingdom (UK) where children typically have six week’s holiday starting mid- July to early September when the new academic year begins. One of the themes running through the blogs will be the relationship between school holidays and children’s lives when living with a parent who has a life-limiting illness. I hope you enjoy my writings, and I would welcome your observations, experiences and thoughts. I would also be grateful if you would share the Blogs so that as many people as possible can access my musings. I thought I would begin this short series of blogs by reflecting back to when I was at infant and junior school. Firstly I need to recognise that that was a very long time ago and I am sure that many things have changed for children in our modern world. But I also suspect that many things are the same. The excitement and anticipation for the holidays usually began mid-June and coincided with my birthday. That was the unconscious marker that we were on the downhill race to the end of term and the long holidays. My memories of June and July in the late 60s and early 70s are that the days were always hot, sunny and dry and lasted ages. The six week’s holiday lasted forever and it was a time for playing out and going on holiday! School seemed to take on a different feel as we neared the end of term. It all seemed more relaxed and the pressure was off with maths and English and all the other subjects that I was only mediocre at. Once Parent’s Evening was over our need to excel academically seemed to lessen. The class teacher had written our Report and our parents had been informed about how well / poorly we had done throughout the year. We had an annual Sports Day – now that was a trial – I was always either the last or the second to last to be picked by the sporty pupils who always got the role of team captain. Oh the humiliation knowing that as my classmates were picked for their sporting prowess I was again going to be very visibly invisible. I wasn’t sporty and had little inclination to be competitive or even try to be good at something I knew I would not succeed at. To compound my feelings of inadequacy I was painfully shy and quiet. I tried hard to be the best scholar I could (without always much success) and also was a complicit little thing who didn’t challenge and just got on with it. So the end of term always came with some relieve to me as I was not going to be part of the school community for a while and not at risk of being the one the more confident children would pick on – easy prey. I remember how on the last day we were allowed to take a game in to play. I suspect that gave our stressed out teachers time to take down the wall displays and put all our work into big homemade paper folders bearing our names. These folders were taken home to show our parents our achievements from the year. I remember being particularly proud of the toilet roll Womble (a children’s TV programme) I made with lots of glue and cotton wool! On the last day of term we always finished early and with whoops of delight we were off for six glorious long weeks. What are your memories of the long summer holidays? I would be interested to hear them x

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