Tomorrow Miss BG becomes a school girl. She has been counting down the sleeps to the big day, and I have been labelling books, hemming dresses and getting everything ready. We have visited her classroom and saw where she was going to put her bag, and we have spotted her name on the wall outside her room. She has a big brother there already, and knows half the children in her year already, through siblings and through kindergarten and creche. She knows the ropes. She knows her letters and her numbers, and she is so ready to read and learn!
She is one of the lucky ones. Our school is walking distance and is a great local primary school, with a committed community of parents and teachers supporting it. We chose to send them to a government school, because it’s a good school with a good reputation.
We didn’t get the $300 school start bonus as we did 2 years ago (which definitely helped in kitting out Master BG in his uniform), but a lot of his polo shirts and school jumpers will be handed down to her. Hopefully when she gets to Grade 1, she won’t need a reading recovery teacher, because there won’t be one, due to funding cuts.
However there are a great many families at the school that are greatly affected by this slash of the bureaucrat’s pen, and which will impact upon their capacity to learn. I know of a mum who is quite worried about the reduction of reading recovery time for her child, who desperately needs it.
It is really concerning when programs and financial assistance to disadvantaged families or young people with learning disabilities are cut. It has a disproportionate affect upon the more disadvantaged members of the community and creates an even wider gap between the haves and the have nots.
I’m not calling for handouts or middle-class welfare- I mean it’s nice when you have it, but it kind of smacks of the whole ‘bread and circuses’ that Roman emperors were fond of dishing out to the plebeians. All I would like is a properly funded, public education system, that helps the helpless and guarantees those who have had a poor start to life a chance to catch up. I’d like to see some return on the tax I have paid over the years, and I would rather it be spent here than lining the pockets of a diminutive Brit :).