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.