The Removal of Humanity 370


Occasionally I post about my personal experience of butting up against the consequences of the removal of both common humanity and common sense from the administration of the systems which govern us. It is not that my experiences of this are worse, or more consequential, than those of anyone else. It is simply that I have a forum on which to rail against the contempt with which we all are treated.

Tomorrow we move home, within Edinburgh but about six miles away. Cameron has finished P5 at Royal Mile Primary School and will now be entering P6 at a new school. Hopefully. In Edinburgh there is no entitlement to a place in your local catchment area school if you move there after year 1.

About six months ago I phoned the primary school of our new catchment area to ask if they would have a place. They replied – in a rather brusque manner – that they could not give me any information and that I could not apply for a place until after we had moved. At that stage I had to send in a form direct to the school with a council tax demand plus utility bill as proof of address (making it impossible to apply until you have not only moved but received those bills).

As instructed, now we are moving I contacted the school again. It is closed for the school holidays. As Edinburgh schools restart on 14 August, I contacted Edinburgh Council. They reiterated that applications must be made straight to the school itself. They confirmed that applications cannot be made before moving and must be accompanied by a Council Tax bill and utility bill. They told me that school offices reopen on 12 August and I will then be able to apply for admission on 14 August. They told me that they hold no information on pupil numbers in schools beyond year 1 and that there is no entitlement to a place in the catchment area school after year 1.

So I have no idea where Cameron will go to school on 14 August – I suspect he will for a while end up not going anywhere – and no means of even beginning the process to find out before 12 August (which is the earliest I can submit the form, presuming I have somehow procured a utility bill after a fortnight). Doubtless there are people who do not worry about such things, and that may be admirable. But we, and I suspect many others put in this position, find it very worrying.

What is undoubtedly true is that this is a system formed around the convenience of bureaucrats which shows an utter contempt for the needs and feelings of parents and pupils. My small family problem is but an example of the deliberate hollowing out of normal human helpfulness from societal interaction which comes when you stop caring about people as individuals.


370 thoughts on “The Removal of Humanity

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  • MR. PETER LISKUTIN

    I identify with your situation. There is a continual problem from clerical minded individuals with the power to block the most simple and reasonable request. Assuming good will, basic intelligence and training all people responsible for assisting customers, public inquirers, doctors’ patients, tax payers and all folk with a legitimate concern should be given full assistance. Attitude is cental to the problem.there may be a cultural problem in some staff that a proffessional employer should correct by training. However, the system may be defective and the staff perplexed by it and incompetent managers.there is a need to steel ourselves to be alert to obstructive behaviour and defective replies and drive questions and complaints higher and further. If performance is unacceptable. It needs confronting. It is not easy and can be costly in time, energy and money. Not all battles are worth fighting and often we haven’t strenghth or rescources. I wish you well and everyone on both sides of the problem. Do not let the illegitimate grind you down!

  • Mr Millwall

    Dear Craig

    That is why we want a small state so it is not run for the benefit of the bureaucrats and mandarin class which offer little benefit to our society.

    I hope your boy finds his place.

    Remember small state equals happy lives.
    It is a shame that the SNP do not understand this very simple relationship.

    Tax lovers take note.

  • Muscleguy

    The systems do seem unnecessarily sclerotic. When we moved up to Scotland from London my wife had to home school the kids until we found a place to live. The council would not talk to us until we had moved in. In fairness it then gave us a choice of three primary schools and we visited two before falling in love with one.

    In New Zealand I went to two temporary schools while moving and living in Motels. The first on arrival from Scotland and the second from an internal move from one end of the country to the other. NZ has a highly mobile population and thinks kids should be in school so you move, into school you go.

    Edinburgh though is unique in Scotland in not having school zoning after P1 with the system heavily warped by so many choosing the private sector and where you went to school being so important in later life, even trumping university. Thankfully elsewhere in Scotland is different and the council has much more of a say. At least we only have one Academy school.

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