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‘My son doesn’t like school, he never has – and I’ve finally accepted I can’t change that’

Judith Cuffe knew very early on that her son didn’t like school. Now in second level, he is still adamant it’s not for him. A bright and determined child, he is counting down the days until he can leave — and she will support him, whatever path he takes

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Judith Cuffe tried everything to help her son enjoy school. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Judith Cuffe tried everything to help her son enjoy school. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Apprenticeships are a great option after school. Picture posed

Apprenticeships are a great option after school. Picture posed

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Judith Cuffe tried everything to help her son enjoy school. Photo: Gerry Mooney

My son doesn’t like school. The signs came as early as his Montessori teacher saying that he mixed well, could do the work, wasn’t disruptive, but, she joked, “is too cool for school”. Then came junior infants. We’d already had a wonderfully uncomplicated experience with our daughter in the local school. Kitted out in his miniature uniform, Prince Charming hair gleaming, we assumed it would be the same for our son. It wasn’t. At the parent-teacher meeting, his teacher uttered the exact phrase we’d already heard: “too cool for school” and ordered us to cut his hair, citing that it was hindering his concentration.

Regrettably, his shortened man-bob didn’t pique his interest. I could hardly blame him. While we’d been working, he’d spent his formative years hanging out with my father — the ultimate man-child. Their adventure-filled days were akin to an Enid Blyton novel: skimming stones, climbing trees, building things, fixing motorbikes, driving quad bikes, collecting conkers, examining insects. Why on earth would he want to go to school after that?


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