End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

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Great Plum
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by Great Plum » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:32 pm

Momto2 wrote:
Great Plum wrote:I think the good news is that Middleton are the last house to use the Prep Block for accommodation...
I heard rumours to the contrary when leaving my children at school last night :?
Why, who's moving in after Middleton then?
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by sejintenej » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:58 pm

blondie95 wrote: No matter what you do the routine of CH will wear you out, even at 18 i was totally exhausted by the whole routine. Also yes when you get a group people together and make them live in close spaces, tired and under pressure tempers wil fly,
I suspect that what you write is the result of softening up. In the "bad old days" you had PT five days a week, rugby 3 afternoons a week, cross country run (OK so it was only about 5 - 7 miles in mud) twice a week and some other exercise at other times plus of course the odd mile / PO path punishments and athletics. At Horsham you were physically very very fit so the normal routine was relatively sedate.

To give you an idea, March overnight train from school followed immediately by about 20 miles and 500feet climb in snow and bog above Bala carrying seven days food, rockclimbing and camping gear etc. was a bit of cake - followed by another 4 days of the same!!! We were fit and fine because of CH fitness - some army cadets died close to us on our third day because of the conditions .
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by huggermugger » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:06 pm

Seems to be remarkably easy to open a can of worms here... some of those replies were extremely sharp. And hard not to take personally.

I wasn't complaining, nor making any political points, nor comparing my or Ds's situation with anyone else's. I was merely reporting our experiences in the hope that it would help others who may be experiencing similar or who are contemplating sending children to the school. In the case of prep Block,

DS & I do & did encounter problems; I am not naive enough to believe that I could have sent my child away to school, whichever school, and not encountered some problems on the way. They have been dealt with & I am completely happy with the outcome of that process. I would add that I had a lot of input into the process. I did not send my child away to be toughened up by anyone or anything and that is not my experience of the school. He is already an independent, happy, balanced boy tho he is of course a human being. And I utterly dispute the implication that the school is full of damaged children. That is insulting to many of them & their parents. "boarding need" is a very widely interpreted concept and there is a tremendous variety of reasons why children get into CH, not all of them sinister. In our case, most of it is down to where we live and my financial inability to change that. I think most children have complex emotional needs and an awful lot of adults too. What on earth is "an ordinary cross-section of society"? - I have lived in many different places, amongst many different sorts of people & I don't believe I've ever encountered such a thing.

And buildings absolutely do make people behave badly. That's why they rarely build tower blocks for people to live in now. However, I don't think Prep Block made people behave badly - I just think it was a difficult place for everyone to live & that has been reinforced the staff & by people on here who lived in it previously.

To those of you who understood what I was trying to say/do - thanks! JR - bless you! And Wuppertal & blondie - you show wisdom way beyond your years; if my DS has half your insight & humanity by the time he leaves CH I'll be a very happy woman. Have a bear - :bear:

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by J.R. » Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:27 pm

Could I have a beer instead ?? :drinkers:
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by nastymum » Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:44 pm

"The school also needs to meet the challenge of providing support for the increasing number of children here who have emotional and psychological problems as they move through their teenage years." This is a quote from Mary Ireland in the Old Blue Feb 2008. I think the school do understand the nature of the children they re looking after which is the main thing.

In my experience I have invariably found people wise/mature/intelligent when they agreed with me ...

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by blondie95 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:00 pm

thanks huggermugger, i was just wanting to point out that boarding school is a difficult environment regardless of who you are and what age you are.
i wouldnt say it was lack of fitness that made the routine hard-its the fact that you rarley got to stop-i spent more hours in a day at ch doing lessons or studying than i do now at work-i do my 7 hours and come home whereas at school you are expected to be full of concentration for around 6hours of lessons, have a couple of hours of sport and then do another couple of hours or study. Now that 5 days a week is tough.
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by gingerbeard » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:30 pm

I cannot believe the insensitivity of some people!

This thread started with an informative and personal account of a parent and son's experience for which huggermugger should be applauded. It is not easy to share negative experiences and harsh responses are not going to encourage others to share theirs.

It is 2008, not 1960, I really don't think that most people would want either the school or people's living conditions to revert to then. Some children are made for boarding school, love the sport, the camaraderie and the independance, others hate it, a lot of children leave the school a lot more "damaged" than on entry, how anyone can say that all or most of the children are damaged before they get there is beyond me.



I work with people with various levels of mental distress ( what I imagine was meant by the term "damaged people"), physical exercise and hardship at a young age would not have helped them, quite the reverse.

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by lonelymom » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:49 pm

gingerbeard wrote:I cannot believe the insensitivity of some people!

This thread started with an informative and personal account of a parent and son's experience for which huggermugger should be applauded. It is not easy to share negative experiences and harsh responses are not going to encourage others to share theirs.
I agree 100%. It think I know how hard it was for huggermugger to put her thoughts down on this thread, and as she says, she did it to help other parents who may have children at CH, now or in the future. Surely nearly every person on this forum knows of the ups and downs of boarding life, and we have to offer what support we can, when we can.
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by Mrs C. » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:25 pm

Great Plum wrote:
Momto2 wrote:
Great Plum wrote:I think the good news is that Middleton are the last house to use the Prep Block for accommodation...
I heard rumours to the contrary when leaving my children at school last night :?
Why, who's moving in after Middleton then?
The rumour mill is in overdrive - I`ve heard at least 4 different stories in as many days!
Who knows??
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by Wuppertal » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:40 pm

huggermugger wrote:To those of you who understood what I was trying to say/do - thanks! JR - bless you! And Wuppertal & blondie - you show wisdom way beyond your years; if my DS has half your insight & humanity by the time he leaves CH I'll be a very happy woman. Have a bear - :bear:
Thanks, Huggermugger. :) I read your post mortems with great interest and look forward to any more if you feel like it! I can't comment with much expertise seeing as I'm not a parent, but I think I understand first-hand some of what your DS has experienced as I only left just under 3 years ago and also had a bit of a hard time when I was on my second form. It is extremely interesting to see it from a parent's point of view rather than a pupil's or Old Blue's, and I think many parents will find your experiences and views refreshing and comforting to read as there are doubtless other parents with children that have been in DS's situation to various greater or lesser extents.

I completely agree with Gingerbeard's comments. If there was abuse in the 1960s and the perpetrators were not dealt with accordingly, then that is entirely the fault of the teachers of that era - not the fault of the pupils today, and I say again that they should not be made to feel guilty or as if they are somehow privileged just because children in this country are treated more like human beings than they were 40 years ago.

I also don't think there is anyone moaning about "nothing". Some posters have said that many children come from very difficult backgrounds and have had horrendous home lives and experiences. If they have experienced this, and see CH as a break from a torrid domestic life and upbringing, do you really think they would be complaining about "nothing"?

Personally I found the sport aspect a bit overpowering at times. I went there on an academic scholarship and sport was not my priority. I am, nevertheless, an avid football and tennis lover and did had a lot of fun and great opportunities playing those sports, but at the end of the day, it is the education that is the most important thing; the only exception being if you are hoping to become a professional sportsman. I don't agree one bit with this old-fashioned "toughening up"; I know that many members of staff there, including older ones, hate this old association; and more importantly it can sometimes have irreversible mental effects; and after all it is a school, not a military training camp. On that subject, I renounced my German citizenship so that I would not have to do military service - it might be suited for some, but it should not be forced upon everyone. And that goes too for being forced to play rugby in snow and sleet while forbidden from wearing long sleeves or tracksuit bottoms or gloves, it doesn't do anyone any good.

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by huggermugger » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:53 am

J.R. wrote:Could I have a beer instead ?? :drinkers:
Only if you do it in a responsible way without endangering your health, or those of others around you, & you keep strictly within your weekly limits, JR :wink:

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by huggermugger » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:36 am

To add a postscript to the postmortem - ah, the mugging-up on Latin over the holidays is rubbing off...

DS insisted we got back early to CH so that he could explore the newly upgraded, 5 star, over-pampered environment that he will be living in for the next 5 years and it didn't disappoint in any way! It's bright, light, cheery & comfortable. And it was full of boys dashing around saying "Wow! Look at this!" and "Come and see this!". We had cake & wine, tho I missed out on the latter :( and it all gave everyone a chance to chat to each other, which was great. Matron & the Hsm (I think that's the approved abbreviation for a Housemaster?!) looked shattered and had discovered there were a few things missing (hangers, doorstops, boot rooms..). DS is thrilled with his room - sharing with three others with lots of space for all their bits & pieces (well, lots compared with the Prep Block, anyway.) The whole thing was topped off by the discovery from the House noticeboard that he'd been selected for the Cricket Squad. :supz: I'd like to say here that he does loads of sport & enjoys it tremendously! For some reason, some people have taken my previous comments on this as a whinge & it wasn't... the setting of the school is glorious and he really enjoys being out in it.

I've decided not to get involved any further in the negative comments, whether directed at me or not. All I can do is accept your experiences and report my own. I'm not going to argue about either.

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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by Mrs C. » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:31 pm

Sounds as if he`s off to a great start to the term, hm!! I`m so pleased - for you both!
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by Katharine » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:47 pm

What a joy to read your last post, Huggermugger. I can just imagine the boys running around and sharing their excitement. Hope it will be mainly plain sailing from now on - it won't be ALL plain sailing but ... if the proportion of calm and even joy greatly exceed the rest than you know all is well.
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Re: End of Lent Term - another Post Mortem

Post by gma » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:23 pm

Have been reading this thread with interest being neither a Ch parent or a parent of anything but def ex-CH! Please forgive if I refer back to various posts without quoting!

Huggermugger, all I can tell you about letters is that my Mum used to send me letters but also rakes of postcards, she's go for a meeting and send me a postcard, wrote them to me from the bus on her way back from shopping, nothing dramatic, weather reports, saw this and thought of you moments and I loved them, CH is a really busy life and your day, then, was stuffed from beginning to end and sometimes beyond! Postcards didn't require a response but a letter did and sometimes when you're younger is so much harder to write about what's going on as it requires you to explain the who and the what and the where as well and when you spend you whole week writing the last thing that I ever wanted to do on a sunday afternoon was write more. My poor Mum used to get letters written round and round the ever decreasing edges of the paper to a a tiny farewell in the middle, letters that I cut up so she could have the fun of reassembling them before reading, moans groans and wails of despair but not many crowing about victories or really positivethings as I think I must have shared them with friends. I know all this not because my memory is so fantastic after some 35 years but because my Mum moved house a couple of years ago and gave me a box from the attic in which were all my letters to her together with my reports, photos, my joining instruction books and some letters that Dot West (Head) had written to her. Also in there were all the postcards she had sent me as I used to keep them in my Bible and read them during chapel, the traion ticket she used when she came to London to see us march to Westminster to celebrate a aschool anniversary, wierd stuff that had me in tears for hours and the one prize that I won, the Carmen Progress Prize. BUt I'd rather write to my friends now than email and my Mum and I still write to each other although I am teaching her to text at the moment (she's 80 although she won'tthank me for telling you!).

CH was not just a school for misfits as some posts seem to suggest nor was it shades of Tom Brown's Schooldays for everyone, some of us came there damaged and were grateful for the peace and some bowled through life without an apparant care in the world! I am struck by the thought that the school entrance exams and interviews that took place when I joined, ensured that they took the 'brightest and the best', and by that very fact will be filling a school full of kids who are used to being pretty good and top dog; to suddenly find yourself amongst a mass of people just like you is pretty crushing and not everyone will respond well to that!

I am happy to see that DS' progress is a happy one, first term was always hideous, second gets better, going back after Christmas sucked but once Easter had been and gone, being at home always felt a little lonely to me, (even tho' I had 5 brothers and believe me was never alone), but I missed the companionship of my peers. I know from conversations that I have had with my Mum that she could never quite get over the fact that I would run to meet her at end of term without looking back but then do exactly the same thing, but in reverse to her, at the beginning of the next term!

As an adult I understand that CH gave me confidence, a damn good education (whether I wanted it nor not!), the ability to stand up for myself and look after myself, to mix within an extraordinary range of people both socially and professionally, the ability to analyse and rationlise situations and then manage them but above all it taught me to communicate.

DS is a very lucky boy, to be at CH and to have someone like you as his parent. I know that CH didn't work for everyone but I feel an odd need to raise an hurrah for it! :wine:
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