Sunday, 18 December 2011

What is Normal?

This year I’ve made a distinction between ‘normal’ and what I call ‘posh’ schools.  I don’t wish to qualify this, except to say that neither ‘public’ nor ‘private’ schools can be described as ‘posh’ any more.  Both are exclusive, in that they exclude those who do not (or cannot) choose to use their money to improve the education of their offspring.

I think my views on how tax is spent on warfare, to the detriment of decent education, public services and healthcare for all make my position clear when it comes to what I see as ‘normal’ schooling.  But this, like the nomenclature of privilege, is just a name.

What’s in a name?
My dad’s old school was indeed called The Normal School (it was thus, on the front of the tram whose route the Normal School was on.)  It is now a business centre.  And my alma mater, which moved several years ago (to a former Naval College – a fine location despite all that); the old building where I studied is now a School of Economics – surely the antithesis of an Arts Conservatoire?

I am of the type of personality for whom ‘normality’ is strange, and ‘ordinariness’ is at best a watchword; at worst, an area of utmost avoidance.  Yet I’m glad my dad went to a ‘normal’ school.  Being ‘ordinary’ doesn’t mean, lacking unintelligence, or talent, or ability.  My dad has this and more.  I just wish he didn’t have to spend the end of this anniversary year in hospital, at the mercy of an under-privileged National Health Service.

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