Opinion: Problem of PJ parents

The school gates are a place like no other, a venue which brings together people who, other than their children, have very little in common.

Tuesday, 9th February 2016, 10:00 am
Blaise Tapp leaves the LEP, as associate editor Mike Hill gives the speech

Personally I am fan of gate talk, owing to the fact that I am nosy beggar who is never in too much of a hurry to get on his way to the office. It is a place where I have formed friendships and certainly learned a thing or two.

But I am acutely aware that some find the ‘social’ side of the school run terrifying and would rather listen to Phil Collins on repeat for an entire day than make polite small talk as they breathlessly herd their offspring to and from the classroom.

It is a place where people are generally on their best behaviour, which is why mums and dads everywhere will have shaken their heads after hearing about the headteacher who wrote to parents asking them to refrain from wearing their pyjamas on the school run.

Head teacher Katie Chisholm from Skerne Park Primary School in Darlington who sent parents a letter home about wearing pyjamas to pick up their children from school.

I have lived in many different parts of the country but I never noticed a pair of tartan jimjams or suede slippers during the madness of the morning rush to work, school or college – but apparently it happens.

Of course, mornings are dreadful especially when a child (or children) are quibbling over what hairband to wear or recovering from a Coco Pops-induced meltdown but there are standards which need maintaining.

What puzzles me – the not giving two hoots about what fellow parents and teachers think aside – is how these people manage to get their unimaginative choice of attire approved by their children. There is no need for mirrors in our house as I have a searingly honest daughter who will gladly tell me if I look like I have slept in the shed.

I will hold my hands up and confess that there have been occasions when I have nipped to the shop for a paper or a bacon barm before hopping in the shower and, maybe, wearing under garments from the previous day but you’d never know. Unless you get too close.

Head teacher Katie Chisholm from Skerne Park Primary School in Darlington who sent parents a letter home about wearing pyjamas to pick up their children from school.

But regardless of how much of a rush I am in or how sleep deprived I am, pride dictates that I scrape away what little facial hair I can muster each day and put on a clean shirt. Wearing a Homer Simpson onesie or a Yoda dressing gown as you struggle out the 4x4 with the Year Three art project homework betrays a series of fundamental character flaws.

There has been much debate in many days as to whether the headteacher of the primary school in question was correct to tell parents to get washed and dressed before they set off for school, with one commentator claiming the sight of a parent standing in her nightie on the school path tells her that they have probably been baking cakes since 4.30am and are putting their kids first.

Er, no it doesn’t. The message I am getting is that they got out of bed at latest opportunity and chose breakfast over getting dressed.

The fact that there is any sort of debate troubles me as surely it is beyond any question that the headteacher was correct? This sort of thing did not happen when I was at school and is yet another example of how people confuse choices with human rights, allowing them to do what they want.

Pyjamas are most definitely best left in the bedroom.