Illustrious bunkers all – and it didn’t do them any harm.
Well, those days are gone. Bunking is no longer a creative lark, it’s a financial doom. Why? The National Curriculum is the only marketable knowledge. It’s got tots by lock, stock and module. And the grim paradox is – the worse it gets, the more they want to bunk it, the more it is their doom.
Take Rosie in the 10th year. She has talent, flair and imagination. Everything seems to be moving along nicely, until September. Suddenly she’s sitting at the back, pretty vacant and weeping. Then she starts to bunk. Panic. There are some lethal distractions out there.
The school is quick on her case and summons her parents. They sit distressed and guilty, with scrunched frowns, puffed eyes and whitened knuckles. Rosie storms out, burning many bridges.
What’s gone wrong? It’s easy to rehearse the clichés. Hormones, rubbish sexism, social networks, crisps, insufficient boundaries or simply being 15, another middle class child in the moronic inferno.
Whatever. School is no longer a nice place, most teachers bore her and that curriculum is a killjoy prison. So she displays the classic symptoms. She quits piano lessons and the Christmas pantomime and starts smoking and cursing her mother and hanging with bad boys in flats listening to the likes of Tupac Shakur. What’s to do? Most schools are pretty good on the pastorals. Not Rosie’s. Management have the modish Zero Tolerance – bunkers bugger up the stats.
Will I talk to her? I’m not sure. I’ve got previous. I too bunked. I preferred the Shangri Las in Mac’s café to the Gallic Wars in Latin lessons. My own daughter also bunked. She was a walking migraine and disowned me and once took elephant tranquilisers and pretended to be a helicopter in mathematics. It did nothing for the numeracy. I too panicked and felt guilty and did a lot of shouting. Daughter did a lot of yawning. The truancy did end, but not because of my attentions.
I used to think a bit of bunking could be romantic. Cavalier even. No more. Not in these Roundhead times. John Lennon would have failed all ends up today. Too much talent, flair and imagination – like Rosie. My only advice to her will be just to shut up and suck it up and survive.