Books, High Schools and Roots – The Isle Of Thanet News

Matthew and Bryan

Have you heard of World Book Day? It’s every March, and it’s a time to celebrate books (hence the obvious name).

Bryan had various activities at school, including having to assimilate something about a fictional character in one of his favorite books. He chose a book by Rick Riordan and decided to draw the Greek god Poseidon; well, you would, wouldn’t you? Bryan also returned with a book voucher, which he was delighted with; we ask him to spend it (which makes me happy – he wants to buy a book!), so we go up to Westwood Cross to find something he likes.

I went to a school in Ashford as a guest writer for a day; the school was reopening its library and the librarian in charge was a wonderful woman named Lisa. We had worked together twenty years ago at the start of our respective careers. I have a hard time understanding how this is possible; I had a career for twenty years? I didn’t know I was old enough for this to happen, but that’s a conversation for another day. I had a lovely morning with the students and some of the staff, and it was a real pleasure to be there.

We also had some big news this week; the sixth graders all found out which high school they were going to in September. I imagine that all the parents were as anxious as the children to know; I certainly was. Bryan was lucky; he got his first choice from St George’s, which he was delighted with. I was happy too; knowing he was going to a school he wanted to go to and that excited him – that’s half the battle.

The selection criteria for a secondary school were interesting; it had changed a lot from when I went through it (gulp) thirty years ago. Distance was a big deciding factor back then, but now it’s not; other factors are considered instead. Children who are (or were) in care are in group one, staff children are in group two, children with siblings in a school are already in group four, and so on. to group eight. Because of Bryan’s background, he was in pool one, so I was hopeful he would come in as his first pick, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous enough to pretend I knew for absolute certain.

However, Bryan now knows his school background in September; he is delighted, and I am very proud of him. He joined his primary school in the middle of year three, and year six is ​​his first (and last) full year at school here in Kent – covid saw fit to disrupt years 4 and 5 for him and for everyone else. We are currently in our first full year of “normal” education since becoming a family in 2019, and that makes me happier than I could imagine; I loved learning at school and I see Bryan enjoying it too.

People experience their school days in different ways; I was very socially awkward when I was younger and just refused to socialize outside of school because I was having a hard time. I’m more confident now, so it’s not really a problem, but Bryan isn’t me (thank goodness); he is much more socially extroverted – an extrovert compared to my introvert. He has beautiful friends, some of whom will go to the same school as him; it’s a real boon, because he will have a connection with his past and can make new friends.

For a kid who moved across the country when he was eight, so he has no connection to the kids at his previous primary school, that’s huge; he now has roots in Kent and a history that gives him a connection to his home. I’m in awe of his ability to make friends, and his sense of what makes a good friend – which we’ve talked about a lot – is quite developed.

Another milestone for Bryan is just around the corner; his transition to secondary school. I try to capture all those moments because it grows so fast; the little boy who came into my life three years ago isn’t quite so little anymore…

About Stuart M. McFarland

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