I do not like anger. I do not like it in other people and I do not like it in myself.
But it's nearly 3 am, I haven't slept and I am still angry. Very angry. I am burning with rage at the phone call I received from school yesterday lunchtime about one of my boy's education.
Over the last 15 years, since my eldest started school, I have had to contend with a number of school issues that have frustrated, appalled and angered me. I have watched on the sidelines as the state school system has slowly deteriorated into a politically correct, mediocre, babysitting establishment which is breeding a generation of illiterate children. Government statistics which say our children are all little geniuses with bucketfuls of A stars are a complete distortion of the truth. And I don't know anyone who doesn't think that is the case - including many teachers I know - some of whom will quietly confirm the rumour that pass marks are being set lower to give the appearance of greater success is not a fallacy. It is, in fact, very much true.
In the last two years or so I let my finger slip of the pulse of my sons' education. It started the day my mother died - I couldn't keep up with marking the extra Maths and English papers I made my boys do, the constant cajoling them to do their work, the extra pressure it was for all us. I was fed up with chasing things up at school and the continual nagging. I still took the teachers to task at open evenings for their failure to mark spellings and punctuation - and sometimes even to mark the books at all. But I was fundamentally tired of fighting for a decent education for my boys and supplementing it to the cost of £200 a month - money we could ill afford when both younger boys had serious prospects as tennis players. So I accepted everything was fine, I made myself believe the teachers when they said all was well - even though when I looked at their books I knew it was a lie.
I accepted mediocrity - even though I knew it was wrong to do so. And I failed my children. For now mediocrity has become below par mediocrity. Now the school says;
Oh, I'm sorry Mrs Turley it suddenly appears your son is not doing so well as we thought. We can't tick our end of year mediocrity box. We need to do something. So we've decided to ring you and tell you we are sending some extra work home for your son. Hopefully, if you pull your finger out Mrs Turley we might be able to tick our box again next year. We'll give him some extra lessons just to encourage you but well I wouldn't rely on us - after all we've pretty much fucked it up so far haven't we? Never mind though, Mrs Turley- there's plenty of other children like your son. He won't be the only one!
So the government tells us all is well and the teachers say what they're told to say. But I have eyes that see and ears that listen - I do not need government statistics or class teachers to tell me what the state of education is in this country. I already know it. It is not good. It is not good at all.
So now I must pay the penalty for not keeping up the fight, for foolishly accepting all that meaningless drivel they told me at parents' evenings. I must pay with my time and my money. I will not allow my brightest child to succumb to the sickness that lies within our failing education system. He will not become one of the illiterate masses.
Tomorrow I shall make appointment to see the Deputy Head and the Head of English and the battle will begin again.
This time it's war.