Archive for December, 2019

Skool’s out!

December 11, 2019

I blush now to admit that I went to a private school for my secondary education.

A vital part of that so far as I was concerned was the extra weeks of school holidays which private schools had compared to state schools – usually a week at the beginning and end of the long summer holidays and a week in each of the mid-year vacations.  Even at Easter, you got an extra day on the Thursday before.  This gave a clearer run at the Easter Show if that was your thing.

I’m not sure what I ever thought justified this privilege.  Was it a reward for enduring boater, short hair and Saturday sport?  – I cannot have thought this, especially since I managed to evade Saturday sport after just one term of first form (Year 7 these days).  Was it for the sake of the boarders?  They were an ever-diminishing band.  (I’ve always suspected that equal wages for women is what really struck the death blow for boarding schools at this time.) 

Perhaps it is a reward to the teachers for the extra-curricular burden they shoulder.

If I were a parent, I’d be more likely to conclude that the private-school holidays are a bit of a wheeze – rather like the way that the price of peanut butter goes up by making the jar smaller.   Not only do you have to pay the private school more than a state school, but they take the kids off your hands for less time to boot.  They do it because they can.

Just now, at the beginning of December, the city swarms with be-uniformed school children from those more “prestigious” schools which have hired the Sydney Town Hall for their annual speech day.  This makes sense for a school which can afford it. It would be extravagant for a school to build an assembly hall able to fit all the students AND their doting parents.

For a while, the Opera House also took speech days and school concerts. I’m pretty sure the SOH has retreated from that business these days, so the pressure on the Town Hall must be pretty intense – a bit like time slots at the crematorium.

I guess each school does roughly the same thing in the time allowed it.  There will be some musical items.  Prizes will probably be presented (this can drag on a bit).  Some prominent figure will give an address and the principal will probably also present a report.  The big organ will be played and at the end we will all be free!

Or so it seemed then.