Have we failed?

Have we failed these kids? The question that occurred to me, driving through Berkhamsted this morning, watching smart kids from the local independent school arriving for their end-of-term prize day.

Did we fail them by not striving our utmost to get them into a school like that? Of course, on my salary, that would have been impossible. To educate both of them, we would require a minimum of £40k for fees annually on top of normal living expenses.

In that regard, my shortcomings go back to my own youth. I didn’t put down those foundations. I was too busy struggling with my nature to develop the self-confidence of my privileged peers, who went out into the world to stand at the pinnacle of their professions. I could never provide for these children as my siblings have for theirs.

Like many parents in our county, we believed a place at grammar school would be the next best thing. But, alas, despite spending a fortune on tuition fees to help them through the eleven-plus, that was insufficient. Instead, we must hope and pray that they will thrive in the local state school.

There is, of course, no reason why they shouldn’t be succeed. We know many successful people locally who went to that school, amongst them doctors, barristers and accountants. Indeed, many of the most successful people I know went to some of the worst schools in the country, but were driven and motivated, aiming high.

We want the same for these children. We aim to help them make good decisions, to strive hard. We hope they will emerge educated with the confidence to pursue whatever they desire. These, some of the challenges of being a parent, forever wondering, “Are we doing enough?”

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