Thursday, 2 September 2010

Bring back the nit nurse

Here I am in the Costa Brava. However, instead of taking in the touquise waters, the medieval churches or the fine full bodied wines, I'm removing nits. As is always the case I have spent the Summer delousing the children and despite my near success with the boys our patient X, Katie (or Nitty Nora as we like to call her) is still lousy.

Thankfully I have packed all the necessary treatments including my favourite nit comb. The very fact that I have a favourite nit comb speaks volumes about my life.

So why is this a regular occurance? Are my children particularly sordid? In fact no, recent reports indicate that three quarters of British school children have nits at any one time. That is the epidemic foretold when schools were encouraged to phase out the nit nurse. What were the Government thinking? If you ask me that gesture, done in times of plenty, was all in the same vein as non-competative sports days (you know my views on that) and banning teachers from touching children, even to put sun cream on them on a hot day. Group hug twaddle! When we had the the nit nurse she (and is was usually a she) would regularly inspect children's heads and when nits were found send the child home with instructions for their removal as a condition of the child's return to school. Apparently the authorities were worried about stigmatising children. However parents, more pragmatically, did not agree, with a petition going to the Prime Minister in 2008 and an estimated 88 per cent of parents at that time wanting to see a return of the nit nurse. It is obvious that when you inspect classrooms at a time you stopped the problem going round and round. To add further to the parents plight, and again in its collective wisdom, the Government decided the chemicals that were put on your head and mine were too strong, and so like new generation homeopaths replaced the shelves with shampoos and lotions that your modern nit laughs at.

Faced with this constant onslaught, some parents have given up. I meet parent after parent who guiltily admit no longer bothering to look. So after hours and hours of painstaking work, I will send my lot back nit free and within days, Katie, because she is at primary school, will get them again. If the Government wishes to address the frustrations of today"s parent, they need look no further that the nit nurse.

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