07 February, 2013

Education in Ireland - Part II

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our attempts to get Harry into a secondary school.  Thought I'd let you know how we got on.
Firstly, the Department of Education are still muppets who have no idea how to direct your call!  That's something that is really worth noting.  When you sit down to ring them make sure you have everything you need nearby as you won't be moving from that spot for a while.  Getting the ironing done is a good way to focus your frustration.
The Politicians: Minister James Reilly said he'd get back to me and then subsequently sent a letter to me from Minister Ruairi Quinn.  At least he got in touch with the Minister for Education I guess.  The letter though, said . . nothing really.  It said that we had an option to Section 29.  That was it.  Have heard nothing since.
Clare Daly's Office rang back and said "It's too early to be worrying, I'm sure it will all work out in the end.  It usually does".  Yeah, right!  Thanks for that.  
Brendan Ryan, TD.  Well, he asked for me to send full details of what was happening and where we stood and I did.  Four weeks ago, still not heard back.
And, saving my favourite for last, Alan Farrell TD.  That was interesting.  He took time out to ring me, which I really appreciated but I have no idea what he said.  I became so baffled by him yakking on and on and talking about what he did and was doing that I came away not having a bloody clue as to what I had just spent the last THIRTY minutes discussing.  He did say that he would do his best to get Harry into one school.  Unfortunately it was one of those Doss Houses I was telling you about and I told Mr. Farrell he, Harry, would go there over my dead body.  He also said that he himself was going to run into a similar situation in a number of years when his children were leaving primary school.  Well, actually, he won't.  He told me he was sending his kids to the Irish School around the corner.  Irish school kids can pretty much go where they want to.  Which is fine by me.  Also, Mr. Farrell lists his Malahide address on all his paperwork so . . if I were him, I'd probably use that address myself.  Hah, that was the one thing that everyone kept saying to me: "Would you consider renting somewhere for a period of time?" Yeah, sure why not?  I have the money to rent an address for a year at €1,400 a month.  NOT.  Jesus, if I could afford that I'd send him to a private school.
Apologies, off on a tangent.  Whilst I appreciate Mr. Farrell taking time out to ring me at the end of the day when he is probably knackered I don't appreciate being spoken to and not listened to.  Thirty minutes on that phone call and all I know is that he is . ..  what?  Sorry??  
In the end it was us who got Harry into a school.  We got in touch with 7 more and laid out our case.  We begged and pleaded to be put on waiting lists and, out of the 7, we got two when places suddenly became available.  
He did the entrance exam last week and seemed to like the place. We like it too.  Our only issue is it's a single sex boys school.  We would have preferred co-ed.  But, beggars can't be choosers and, yeah, he's sorted.
Shall be interesting to see how this plays out for the other 21 kids in Harry's year who don't have places.  Will let you know.

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