Escaping from School

My youngest son was recently hauled in front of his headmaster for slipping out of school grounds with a group of mates and going to the local Tesco to buy sweets. It is not entirely clear who the ring leader was, but my guess is that as soon as someone mentioned the word "sweets", my son would have rounded up the troops and planned their escape faster than you could say "Haribo"



See me in my office after work

When we found out about this, I left it to my husband to read him the riot act. He is normally very good at this, and in another life would have made a great headmaster. If ever the boys act up, I just have to utter the words "Dad will see you in his office" for that to have an immediate effect on their behaviour.

However, on this occasion, my youngest was summoned to the office, where upon he found an "executive office toy" stuck to my husband's desk called the Bulls*** Button, and every time my husband tried to speak, my youngest would hit the button. They both ended up in fits of giggles so it didn't have the desired effect.

In any case, we both felt a tad hypercritical giving our son a lecture about cutting school, when we have both done the same in our time. Admittedly my son has started his great escapes a wee bit early in life. I think I was 13 before I summoned up the courage to break out of the school grounds. He's just 9.

The lure of Woolworths

Like my son, it was the lure of sweets that led me to slip through the school gates. There was a Woolworths near our school (how I still mourn that shop's demise), which was out of bounds but too tempting to resist. If I got caught, I was prepared to take the punishment as long as I could keep my bag of pick n mix.

As I got older, it was make up, then hair dye, that prompted more prison break outs and led to punishment and some shocking hair disasters. One time, I left the red dye on for too long. The next morning, I had to give a reading in assembly, and at the precise moment when I stood at the lectern, a beam of light shone through the window and lit up my head like a flaming beacon.

Independence vs Safety

With my son, although we are angry with him for breaking the rules, he has a fairly independent streak as does his older brother. They will walk down to the park on their own to play footie, and I often send them to the local shops as a treat (the treat is for me - a moment's peace during the long school holidays).

So I get why he did it.

But I also see why the school have to take action. Whilst he is at school, he is their responsibility. And they can't have kids bunking off to the local shops when they feel like it. Unlike some of the schools I've seen, it's not surrounded by high security fences that make a school look more like a prison. Once when I visited a local school, I was shut in an air lock with metal detectors all around it for what felt like ages. Not sure whether they were checking my ID or giving me a quick health check. I do hope my BMI didn't come up.


Talking of security, there was an email sent out recently to parents saying that they were carrying out a "Lockdown Drill" at the school. I'd never heard of this. According to the email, this is to test the school's response procedures to an "internal or external incident which could include an intruder on the site...  or a rabid dog"! Not sure Eastbourne has ever had a rabid dog wander into the town. I once saw a teacup Chihuahua run into the grounds but not sure that counts.

All I know is that my youngest will already be thinking up ways of how he can evade the Lockdown Drill and nip off to buy some Cheewits from Tescos.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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