Just a note – I published this blog entry earlier when it was still unfinished. Ham hands syndrome! This entry is the finished version. Thank you dear reader. Enjoy.
‘Mrs Ormerod, how are you? When are you going back to your boat in the Caribbean?’
Ohh. She remembered. And I’d only spoken to the deputy-head, Mrs Griffiths the one time before, months back in a quick parents’ evening of GCSE options. She must have met at least fifty parents that night.
‘In September,’ I replied, sitting down opposite. ‘If we don’t go, there’s no point keeping Quest. I’m still figuring out Lulu’s options for school. There is the possibility we could return after a year away and I’m wondering if Lu could return to mainstream school.’
‘She’d be attending InterHigh in the meantime?’
Boy, this lady was good. She had remembered everything about our five-minute conversation. I nodded.
‘Well, I’ve been thinking about it. In order for Lulu to keep up with a new curriculum, she might have to drop some GCSEs. She would need also to catch up completely with the Welsh.’
I nodded again. I remembered Mrs Griffiths had said, in order for Lulu to return for Year 11, mid-GCSEs, she may have to drop the triple Science option she’d already signed up for. This was my concern. Since going back to mainstream school, Lulu has been doing so well on science, better than any of us had expected.
The unexpected benefit of doing school away from normal school was Lulu was more academically mature then we’d realised. After working with her to build it up, I don’t want her to lose it – and definitely not through our travelling. I know, when in Rome, but still. Welsh GCSE over triple Science – Biology, Chemistry and Physics?
‘This is my feeling.’ Mrs Griffiths said, ‘Could Lucia complete her whole triple Science IGCSE with InterHigh in one year? Then she’d have it under her belt and she’d be able to catch up with her other subjects quite easily when she returns.’
Huh. I sat back. Mrs Griffiths’s advice was surprising for two reasons. Number one: since leaving mainstream school, I’ve developed this feeling that it’s me versus mainstream school. Which of course, is totally crap. I am reminded that, every time I speak to a school or teacher, they couldn’t be more supportive. So put your defensiveness away, Hannah. Number two: Mrs Griffiths had a pretty radical plan, I had to admit. And not a bad one. It had a certain in-the-bag neatness about it.
‘I’d have to call InterHigh and ask whether this is possible.’
‘Ok.’ She nodded with a teacher’s efficiency. ‘Let me know what they say.’
I did as I was told. I went back to the car and called InterHigh. I gulped when they answered. ‘Hello. I was wondering if my daughter, who is coming back next year, could do the whole triple Science IGCSE curriculum in a single year.’
‘Years 10 and 11 in a single year?’ The voice was understandably incredulous.
I explained Lulu’s situation. How Lulu had told us she didn’t want to go away for two years – one year was more than enough for her. And how she was torn, that she did want to finish what we started four years ago, but she is still fourteen at the end of the day. And when you’re fourteen, you want to be with your friends. So, if we are going to go away on Quest then occasionally she was going to cry about it. Jack agreed with her, once he said he’d understood the differences between male and female displays of sadness. Bless him. I told Lu I’d go and find out if she could re-join mainstream school after a year. Which led us here. Sorry – complicated I know. But that’s how it goes if you travel. Juggling everything can get real complicated. Plus, there’s never a right time to go.
‘Ok,’ David at InterHigh said finally. ‘Let’s see what we can do.’
Meanwhile, school was over and Lu and Amalie came out of the gates. Amalie was spending the night at our house.
I explained the situation to them there and then in the car – if Lulu wanted to rejoin mainstream school – Mrs Griffiths recommended doing her Science GCSES in one year.
‘Well, I don’t want to do that,’ Lulu maintained.
I looked through the rear-view mirror. ‘You don’t?’
‘No, not at all. I’d rather do them all normally over two years.’
‘Even if it means staying at InterHigh for two years?’
‘Yeah, of course.’
‘Well, ok, then. I’ll call them back tomorrow.’
‘Lu,’ Amalie broke in, ‘you want to watch movies tonight?’
Lulu sighed happily. ‘I definitely want to watch movies tonight.’