Birthdays, celebrations and exams

Another week has whizzed by without us hardly having time to blink.  And another year has rushed by as we are both celebrating our son’s birthdays this week.  Tracy’s son Luke is 8 today and my boy Phoenix is 7 today.  So this week has been a flurry of trying to get as much work done as we can fit in, along with making birthday cakes, sorting out parties, buying and wrapping up presents and blowing up balloons ready for the birthday boys getting up on their birthdays and looking around excitedly at all the decorations and presents waiting for them on their special days.

I LOVE IT! I really love birthdays, I love how children still get so excited and count down the days in anticipation of what presents they will get and who they will see.   The countdown normally starts at least 6 weeks before the big day in our house and with each passing day the birthday present list changes – so I know not to buy what is suggested at the beginning of the birthday countdown as it will inevitably change by the time the birthday arrives.  How every day for at least a week before they ask you what they have got for their birthday and groan and fake cry when you tell them with a laughing face – sorry I haven’t had time to get anything yet!


This week was 11+ week for a lot of children all around the UK.  Living in Australia now, my eldest son Ben will not have to do the test.  However, Tracy’s son Adam sat his 11+ this week and I know it has been such a stressful time.  I really hate the pressure that is put on children now a days to pass their 11+ and go to Grammar school.  And worse still the pressure on the parents to decide whether your child SHOULD take the 11+ or not – boy oh boy!  you basically have to say whether you think your child is clever enough or not AND let your child know what you think.  I personally think that this could be really damaging for a child to be told by their parent that it is best not to sit the 11+ because they don’t think they are clever enough!!!

When I was at school we all knew in the back of our heads that we ALL had to sit the 11+ but we had no idea when that would be – and the only swotting up we did was for our parents to buy a practice book from WHSmith if we were lucky!  One day we came into school and were told to queue up outside our classroom – that’s when we knew the day had come.  Obviously, even back then, we all wanted to pass our 11+ but it wasn’t such a big deal.  Now it is common place for children to have tutors in the year leading up to the exam, doing extra lessons and homework in the evening for preparation.  Then what happens if they still don’t pass?

I can see both sides, we all want what is best for our children and want them to do as well in life as they can, but on the flip side, if they need tutoring to be able to pass their 11+ does this not mean that they might struggle to keep up at grammar school – which in turn could make them feel inadequate and hate school?  Also, as far as I know, the amount of people passing goes on percentages – so say the top 20% of children pass.  What happens to naturally clever kids who don’t have a tutor (not all parents can afford home tutoring!) who in every day schooling find learning easier than their friends – but their friends have tutoring and get through – does this mean that the more intelligent children may be pushed down under the top 20% and not pass?  Is extra tutoring fair on both the children who have to have it and also those who don’t?  Is extra tutoring distorting the  true picture of which children should or shouldn’t go to Grammar school –  and will going to Grammar school really shape the rest of the childs life?  Look at me and Tracy, one of us went to Grammar school the other didn’t, but we have both ended up in the same place, running a business together.  It is a controversial subject and one I am glad I don’t have to face!

mandw-2014-award-logo-finalist-webAnd our other big celebration is that we got shortlisted in the mumandworking Best Working Parent Blogger Awards – so HUGE HUGE thank you’s to every single person who voted for us. The awards are on the 16th October when we will find out if we have won. But to be totally honest, although it would be amaze balls to win, it really doesn’t matter if we win or not. We will be at the awards and have the opportunity to do the all important networking. And perhaps even just as exciting we will hopefully get to see the Celebrity Parent of the Year and pass a dribble stop top onto them for their little one. The finalists are Holly Willoughby, Gary Barlow and Peter Andre – and anyone who know me and Tracy know who we are hoping to win!!!!!









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