Well, this is the big day. The sandy flip-flops have been packed under the stairs and it's time to put on your new school clothes. Of course, there will be lots of new things to get used to. Like teachers. Don't expect to be taught by just one friendly 'Miss' like your mum and dad were. Because of something called the national curriculum, your normal teacher will be spending a lot of time away on courses or marking. So you must get used to different supply teachers.

The Government thinks this national curriculum is very important. So important that since 1988 it has spent pounds 744m on it. Unfortunately, this has meant that not much money has been left for other things. Take the little boy who can't read and who distracts you by messing about. He isn't used to learning. If he had gone to a nursery school he would know how to get on at a proper school. And the cost of all little children going to nursery schools could have been paid for with the money the Government spent on the national curriculum.

Spending all that money also means you won't get much chance to use computers, so beg mum and dad to buy you one. It will be vital in the future that you know how to use the new technology, but you won't learn much at school by sharing a computer with five other children.

On the subject of pressurising parents, it would be a jolly good idea to scream and scream until you are sick if Mum and Dad don't sell the house and move to a nice posh area. You see, children, after the little school you have to move to something called a 'comprehensive'. If you live in a pretty district where there are lots of trees and streets called 'avenues' you will probably go to a nice school where all the big children do well. But if you stay where you are, near the tower block, you will go to a nasty school where children swear a lot and offer you drugs at playtime. The Government says that mums and dads can choose which school you go to, but this is a whopping fib. Everyone wants to go to the good school, so there isn't enough room there and only the children who live near it can get in.

I hope that I'm not putting you off school, children. I wouldn't want to do that because it's very important, and learning things can be super fun. Try to work really hard, even if the teacher can't spend much time with you - it will be worth it in the end. I know that by the time you leave school absolutely everybody will be going on to university. It will still be worthwhile, even if you go to the scruffy overcrowded one which used to be a cycling proficiency centre. I know, too, that by then employers won't believe your qualifications are worth a lollipop. Never mind, learning is worthwhile for its own sake. So let me just say be good and good luck,

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