I always end up feeling it’s the parents being judged

Ian Brady

CLIVE SMITH: Who you are shouldn’t make any difference to sentence

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It’s that ignominious time of year that all adults dread, the falsely-branded ‘parents’ evening’.

It sounds like it should be a relaxed, sophisticated event where mothers and fathers from across society gather together from, say, 5pm-8pm to enjoy a few canapés, a glass or two of Malbec and calmly discuss their offspring.

There’s even potential for a teacher to join the fun…always nice to have someone else to pour the wine.

But the reality is a million miles from that.

It’s a nervous, quickfire salvo of information; an eight-minute summary of your child’s achievements from the previous three months and target-setting for the next three.

My daughter was fine about the meeting this week and her teacher was professional, calm and measured. Yet I entered the fray like a bumbling fool, worried about the outcome.

Of course it is Molly and her academic and social application that is being judged.

But when I walk into a potently disinfected building, where the chairs barely square up to a single buttock, I feel that it’s us, the parents, who are being scrutinised.

‘Mr Bunker, I’m afraid your daughter is a year behind where she should be, mainly because you’re a lazy twonk who says he is ‘too tired’ to listen to her read at night.

‘I hope you’re happy, because at this rate you’re lining her up for a pathetic, miserable life.’

That’s what I’m expecting to hear. Like most parents, every waking moment is filled with guilt that we don’t do enough to help our youngsters flourish.

Fortunately, Molly is a bobby-dazzler and impresses on all levels.

She also staves off any character assassination that could be directed towards me.

There was a moment that melted my heart too.

Upon reading her ‘Thinking Book’, a book of scribblings that make her happy, I noticed she’d drawn a picture of England comprehensively thrashing France in a rugby match, with one second remaining on the clock. This kid will go a long way.

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