Navigating parents’ evenings

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Parents’ evening at high school is not an easy gig.

At primary school, the whole meet and greet with Miss feels like the opening sequence to the Teletubbies. Everything feels nurtured, the teacher spends so much time with your kid that they know them better than you know them yourselves and the whole thing is over in 10 minutes.

It’s like how everything goes at the start of a relationship, all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Nasty GCSEs and horrible A-levels are in the distant future. Digging in the sandpit, looking cute in the Nativity and keeping away from the class nutter who drags kids around the playground by their hood were all that mattered way back when.

At high school, the near future is broadcast in 4K Ultra HD with surround sound while you’ve got the best seat in the house – for five minutes until you race off to the other side of the school to see the next teacher on the list. Rinse and repeat seven or eight times.

It’s a tough night for everyone concerned. Teachers, who have spent the day talking to classrooms of largely disinterested teenagers, then spend three or four hours in the evening hooting their traps off to parents. And guess what? They don’t get paid any extra for it!

Mums and dads rush home from work to be dragged around what looks, feels and smells like an open prison by their children who seem to know every inch of this giant, labyrinthine rabbit warren like the back of their hand.

And as for the kids, well, it’s the stuff of actual nightmares isn’t it? All your secrets laid bare, by your teachers, to your parents, while they have to sit there and nod, smile and pretend to agree.

A scene so humiliating that rich and powerful businessmen have been known to pay ladies who specialise in that sort of thing eye-watering sums to recreate the experience on demand in later life.

Anyway, thanks to daughter #2’s expert navigational skills and tips to leave just 10 minutes between appointments, we were in and out of the place in an hour and 15 minutes.

The teachers seemed pleased with her progress and said if she brushes up on her exam technique, she’ll do fine.