Monday, April 14, 2008

A bumper news day!

In the interests of preserving some sort of historic record, the last month or so has featured a few highlights worthy of record, in retrospect at least. That is to say, events that do not include 'that slave-driving company that I work for finding even more things for me to do' which may well be Nik's abiding memory of this spring.

Schools and all that

So... there was the Saga of the School Places which gripped Ruddington over the Easter period. The first we heard of it was via an email we received while in France and it darned near spoiled our holiday, let me tell you. We had applied for a place at the local infants school for next January as per instruction and the email informed us that the Local Authority had turned down our application.

I should mention that this is the only infants school in the village. It is the infants school to which the nursery Tom currently attends is attached. It is the infants school that has received funding to carry out improvements to the infants' classroom - in preparation for the arrival of a deaf boy with cochlear implants (yes, that would be Tom). It is the Local Authority that employs Tom's Teacher of the Deaf and had her train the infants school staff in all matters cochlear implant ahead of... well guess...

One has to admire the foresight, planning and communication at work there.

We came home to find a village in uproar. Okay, not quite; Tom was one of 17 children turned down, including Joe-the-boy-next-door, the daughter of 'that couple from ante-natal' and the daughter of the greengrocer. The school was full - its 60 places (class sizes are restricted to 30 by law for the first couple of years of school) taken up by children living closer than us. We tapped in to the 'word on the street' and the ruthless cut-and-thrust of school places was made plain to us. Stories of grandparents' and shop addresses being used on applications surfaced. Ruthless tactics for appeals hearings were shared and honed. Things were starting to look ugly.

Just as the torches were being lit and the posse rounded up however, our righteous indignation was punctured by the news that the school had found room (an extra classroom that it had misplaced or something) and there would be no need for the banners and marches.

So that's all fine then... but one might imagine the number of times phrases such as 'What is WITH these people?' passed our lips. It makes you think that this county just isn't THERE for us at the moment...

On a lighter note

Apropos nothing, Tom suddenly remembered our visit to Sundown last spring. In particular, he remembered a ride on a particularly tame river ride with a few strategically placed water jets.

'Yes! It wet daddy's teeny-tiny hair!' accompanied by thumb and forefinger held very close together.

Over the coming years I suspect that my son will say much less kind things about my rapidly disappearing hair than this.

A Grand Day Out

And bringing you right up to date, today Tom took part in a study being carried out by Rosie Lovett and Professor Quentin Summerfield at the University of York. Given this link, I'm guessing the project is sponsored by Deafness Research UK. The study is one of a number trying to fill the gap in terms of published research regarding the benefits of bilateral implantation.

Rosie's study involved Tom playing numerous listening games in the University's 'ring of sound', testing his ability to detect the direction from which a sound is coming and hearing in noise.

We'll get his official 'results' in the next few weeks but it certainly looked to us like he was performing pretty well.

We'd prepared Tom for his trip to see Rosie and the Professor, telling him about the exciting games they had lined up. He was a little overwhelmed when we got there, turning mute and hiding behind the furniture, and more than a little impressed with 'the Mufessor'.

As he eased himself into the day, Tom's cheekiness returned although he stuck resolutely to this title for Prof. Summerfield even after being invited to call him Quentin. On the first of many trips to the toilet during the day, he declared proudly 'this is where the Mufessor wees!'


John said...

Thanks for the update. Glad Tom has his place at school. But what is this about Dad and having "hair". Surely not!

Anonymous said...

This was a fun update! That's certainly a strange school story. I think they must have just feared the wrath of the local angry mob that would have taken them down, so they were forced to disclose the previously hidden classroom.
We also agreed to have Ethan available for research, but he has yet to be called to task for something like this. The picture alone makes it look like quite an interesting study, good for Tom for taking part in it!

'Mufessor', now that I would love to hear.