S is for Software

I sat at my desk looking at my phone and wondering whether or not to ring Karl.  Should I tell him that MP’s were now coming into school because of our son or should I wait to see what it was all about first?  Probably better.  He’d only irritate me and I wanted a bit more time to lapse between us from after the brownie incident.   I couldn’t possibly go to school this afternoon because I’d already rolled in late but being late again tomorrow was just royally taking the piss.  I put my phone down and went to Colin’s office. He was on the phone but beckoned me in to take a seat until he’d finished.

“Colin, I need to take a few days holiday.” I said quickly.

“Oh?  Late deal or something?”

“I wish!  When do I ever go on holiday Colin?” I laughed.  However it wasn’t funny.  I could die for a break somewhere in Europe.  The sun glistening on the blue Mediterranean; flip flops and floaty frocks; long glasses of sangria and lazing by the pool.  I couldn’t afford such luxuries and I wouldn’t leave Brendon with anyone else and he would not go on holiday unless it involved sport and snow.  My time off was usually spent decorating, gardening and catching up with the ironing.

“I need to go into school again. Apparently Victor Churchman has been in regarding Brendon.”

“Victor Churchman? What the hell for?” Colin looked quite surprised.

“I’ve no idea.  They will only tell me when I get there.  It’s Mr. Fothergill’s way of asserting control, like I’m one of his pupils or something.   I was thinking about going tomorrow which is why I need to take a few days. I’ll still work at home but I’d rather take it as holiday.”

“Just go, it’s not a problem.” He smiled.

“No Colin. It is a problem.  It’s very good of you to be so accommodating but it’s not fair to everyone else.  It makes me feel bad and like I’m getting preferential treatment. That’s going to cause resentment sooner or later.”

“Everyone knows how hard you work Soph.” He sat with his chin resting on his hand looking at me as though trying to figure me out. “It’s only a phase and you get your work done, so I don’t mind.” He gave a hopeful smile.

“But Aspergers isn’t a phase.  I need to get him sorted out Colin and I’d rather take it as holiday but still work in-between to make up for my time off.  Please." I urged.

“How long?” 

“Maybe three days, starting tomorrow?”

“OK – It’s yours.” 

“You’re the best Ed in the world.” I grinned at him as I stood up to leave.  He leaned back in his chair smiling as he watched me leave.

I got my head down for the rest of the day which was a lot easier without Johnno there. I’d received   a text back from him.

JOHN SMITH: I’m in severe pain Soph, but scored a hat trick!  Better than Frank.

SOPHIE RHODES: You’re not even in Frank’s league Johnno – He’s premiership material.  Plus he wouldn’t be wussing about a little groin strain!

JOHN SMITH:  I bet you’re missing me!

SOPHIE RHODES:  How can I miss you when you won’t stop texting me.  Go away.  I’m busy.

I actually was missing Johnno but I’d never tell him that.  It was nice to have a bit of banter whilst you worked and he was so easy to reel in.

I arrived home about 6.30pm to find Bryony, Brendon and ‘new girlfriend’ at the Starship Enterprise watching youtube videos.   I’d wanted to talk to him about the ‘MP’ coming in and get the heads up on what he’d done.  However, when I’d rang Janice Armitage earlier to make an appointment she’d asked me not to so we could all go through it together.  I hated being on the back foot.

Brendon came through to the kitchen with his new chick. “This is Jessie, Mother.” He said as he put his arm round her neck.

“Hi Jessie” I enthused “Lovely to meet you and I LOVE that scarf you’re wearing.” I picked up the delicate turquoise material around her neck that was imprinted with multicoloured butterflies.

“Oh, you too!  And thank you.” She smiled “It’s from Top Shop.” 

I loved her instantly.  Well spoken, friendly and pretty to boot. 

Brendon remained on his best behaviour all night and even sat at the table for dinner because Jessie made him.   Who’d have thought that all we'd ever needed was a nice girl to sort him out.

The following morning I let Brendon and Bryony walk to school together whilst I did a bit of work from home.   My appointment wasn’t until 10.am and they wanted to see me on my own first.

I arrived at reception and Janice was already downstairs waiting to meet me.  We went up to her office and sat down.

“Right.” She said as she removed a piece of paper from a file. “This is what’s happened.  Apparently Brendon is unhappy with the way the IT department is being run and so a few weeks back, he took it upon himself to write an email to Victor Churchman.  Quite frankly, I think it’s a very well written letter for his age but it is Brendon we are talking about!   Mr. Fothergill is slightly upset as we had an impromptu visit from Victor who is now looking into the school system." She handed over the printed e mail for me to read:

From: Brendon Rhodes

To: Churchman, Victor

Subject: Hillfields School Improvements.

Dear Victor

I am a pupil at Hillfields School and I would like to address a few issues with you seeing as you are our MP.

Firstly, I have no big problem with the school.  I’ve learnt a lot in the past few years, not just from an intellectual point of view but also socially.  However, there are a few things bugging me that I think you may be able to help with.

Well, first off I think the technology is very, very behind- this includes all Adobe products (around 5-6 years behind) and the computers are even further back than that.  Seeing as this school is a technology college I find it incredibly annoying and frustrating that we don’t have, I hesitate to say a new...but at least up to date technology.  Adobe CS6 has been launched and I have tried and tested it myself at home, the school has Adobe CS3, which, as I said, is half a decade behind.  What’s the use of teaching someone to edit in Photoshop CS3 when there’s a different, easier way in CS6.  This will negatively impact the jobs of pupils in the future when they’ve only learnt about CS3.  This happens with all programs in school associated with Adobe.  Another thing is, in my information Technology class, we’ve been learning to create websites in Dreamweaver CS3.  I was very excited to help out my class mates because I learnt about this at home (mostly because I was so interested, I finally began to create sites for my family with up to date methods) And when it came to the lesson, the teacher started to teach them how to work with tables. You might not know, but if you go to any website in the entire world  you’ll only see them made with CSS, which is a programming language, easy enough to learn, in Dreamweaver.  I was extremely disappointed finding out that the school were teaching people wrongly so I told the teacher that he should show the class how to make websites using div tags and CSS.  His reply was, “What are those?”

If you haven’t got my point already, then I’ll put it clearer. This school has many people that would like to work in the IT department.  It’s one of the reasons I chose this school from others and I’m extremely disappointed finding out that all the years I’ve been here that I’ve been taught the most out of date methods ever.  If there’s anything you can do I’d be extremely appreciative.  I realize it’s not the schools fault that they haven’t got the budget but I think you could remedy that situation.  I have even made a tutorial on how to create websites using CSS and div tags and sent it to the entire class year.  This hasn’t made a significant impact but at least I’m trying eh?

They may not have the biggest budget what with the 6th form center being burnt down and money being invested in other places, but the whole of CS6 – which would drastically improve learning and success rates- is only £800.00.  They could pay this onetime fee and install it on their servers during a half term and it would be ready for everyone to learn to use.  If they have problems with CS6, which I don’t think they will, why not get CS5?  They’re neglecting the schools IT department and whilst most other schools won’t have it, THIS school is based on technology and I don’t see any reason not to pay £800.00. 

  Don’t think of it as a program but as something that would increase learning to those interested in IT, designing, etc,- by 10 fold – CS6.  Maybe also update their computers, though this is not a necessity because of the massive costs.

I really do hope you can help and I’ll thank you in advance for just giving your time to read this letter/ email.

Regards, Brendon Rhodes.