Barnes A Parents

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carong
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Barnes A Parents

Post by carong » Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:11 pm

Hello Everyone

I haven't posted on here in ages, but yesterday I had an 'altercation' with the Housemistress of Barnes A - of necessity in the reception area, as my wheelchair wouldn't fit easily into her office - about what I considered to be her vindictive and bullying attitude to my daughter over the past year. I only felt able to do this because said daughter is moving up to Grecians next term.

I had thought that this attitude had only been directed at my girl, and one of the other Deps, but to my amazement I was approached as I left by more parents expressing their support and agreement with what I had said. Many of them said that they had thought of saying something, but that their girls were younger and they didn't want to make things worse.

I was given many instances of this woman's behaviour and was stunned. One story I was told was that some of the 2nd form had been misbehaving in dorm and so were confined to house for the last 2 weeks of term, and made to sign in every 15 minutes! Obviously I have no way of verifying this, but I have to say it wouldn't surprise me.

My girl has not been an angel this year, and has set herself up for some of what has happened, but each time she has strayed from the path the punishment has been way out of proportion to the offence, and usually conducted publicly and therefore in as humiliating a manner as possible.

I am going to be writing to Mr Vessey, as is the father of the other Dep involved, but I thought that before I did I would post on here and see just how many other parents do have concerns.

Please feel free to PM me if you wish, and I will be happy to compile a list - if necessary - of complaints to present to Mr Vessey.

I have to say, though, that in my heart of hearts I hope that I don't get many messages. The thought of all those girls being as miserable as mine has been this year is heartbreaking.
Caron Garrod (nee Haskell)

2:38 1976 - 1979

Fjgrogan
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:25 pm

Sadly your comments immediately brought to mind the situation in Ward 6 at Hertford in the late 50s and early 60s. Elsewhere on this forum - I'm sorry, I forget exactly where, but I am sure that someone else will remind me - you would find all manner of comments about how it was to live under the jurisdiction of a nasty vindictive housemistress. To this day, I still think of that woman as the person who totally destroyed my self-esteem, although it took me many years to make that discovery. So in a way it is good that your daughter's situation has been brought out into the open now, while she still has another year or so in the school to restore her equilibrium. Good also that it was necessary for the matter to be addressed in public, so that others were aware of it and able to add their input, which would not have happened if you had been closeted in an office. So I wish you well in dealing with it all. I only wish that my parents had listened and taken matters up with the relevant authorities, but they were of a generation that considered that the 'teacher' was someone to be respected; sadly this is not always necessarily so! Please keep us posted on the outcome.
Frances Grogan (Haley) 6's 1956 - 62

'A clean house is a sign of a broken computer.'

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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by mother of two » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:07 pm

Although I am very sorry to read your message, in some ways relieved as I am at the end of my tether with the house mistress involved. I have already made an informal complaint about the way my daughter has been treated. My daughter is extremely well behaved and doing very well generally in the school, but the petty punishments and bullying within the house has been too much. I have often referred to the house parents as behaving as if they belong to an old workhouse.
At the parents day I spoke with several parents in my daughters yr who feel exactly the same as I do and who are willing to join together if necessary to sort this out.
I would be very happy to join you with discussing the situation with Mr Vessey as it has made me very unhappy. I am lucky enough to compare to other houses and I am sure that the situation is not the same in those.
This is the first time I have posted on here, usually just interested to read other comments..but this has made me very unhappy and feel strongly that something should be done. How do we join up about this? Feels much better not too be alone with this.

wurzel
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by wurzel » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:39 pm

What do you mean by petty punishments though - i am sure to an outsider the punishments i might give my children could be seen as petty. When we hand them over we entrust someone else to take over their discipline

2 weeks gating for an entire dormitory for misbehaving is something i remember - i think for breaking a window playing dorm cricket and nobody owning up.

I definately remember a house video "tron" being threatened with cancellation for the whole junior house (a big thing when we only had 1 or 2 a term) due to a broken window - someone owned up who was at an away match when it happened just to save the rest of us.

It would be good to give the rest of us some idea of what is actually happening so we can comment

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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by englishangel » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:47 pm

Welcome Kaye, and Wurzel, Caron G is, I believe, a Hertford OB so I am sure she is not making a fuss about nothing.
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wickedwitch
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by wickedwitch » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:53 pm

Well my daughter, attending Ba A in September, has just drawn my attention to this and is now well worried..... :? I didnt really need anything else to make her anxious about leaving home. I've just spent the past few months assuring her that she will be well looked after.

Nicky
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by KenHo » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:42 am

The post makes it easy to work out who the person is, and then is an attack on them and may damage their reputation and affect their ability to make a living. It seems to me that it is a very bad idea to do something like this so publicly.

I have had problems with my son's house, and have not always been happy with the way that this was dealt with. However, I take the view that that the punishment being suggested in this post as being draconian, keeping them all in for 2 weeks, is the kind of action that should have been taken in our case, in order to nip the problems in the bud early on. Instead there was a great deal of disruption for a considerable time, without (in my opinion) any firm action being taken to stop it. My expectations of the school were that they would be very strict and that disruptive behaviour would be stamped on firmly, and this seems not to be the case in some houses, but is in others.

Bearing in mind how hard it is for the school to allocate so many different people every year, and understanding that they may know better than I do after years of experience, I make two suggestions for things I would change.

1. I think the idea of not having phone calls for 3 weeks is wrong. WE are not the sort of people who want to speak to our children every day, and my son would probably not even have a phone if he wasn't away at school. However, in the early days it seems that the new second formers were being extremely disruptive, egged on by the third form. If all the parents had known about this early on then perhaps they would have put a stop to it.

2. All the boarding houses have a different style. Although I accept this would be extremely hard, it would make more sense for a child to go to a house where the house style means they will fit in. For example, there are sporty houses, musical houses, and houses where it is very laid back.

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J.R.
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by J.R. » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:45 pm

Just for the record, Caron and I have been in discussions on this matter via PM.

Safer all round, me-thinks !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

carong
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by carong » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:51 pm

wickedwitch wrote:Well my daughter, attending Ba A in September, has just drawn my attention to this and is now well worried..... :? I didnt really need anything else to make her anxious about leaving home. I've just spent the past few months assuring her that she will be well looked after.

Nicky
Wicked Witch, it certainly wasn't my intention to frighten anyone, and I would like to reassure your daughter that I really do believe that this was a clash of personalities and not the norm. I just wanted to check whether any other parents had concerns before I wrote to Mr Vessey. If you would like to PM me with her name, I can - if you wish - make sure that my daughter and her friends keep an extra friendly eye on her.

Caron
Caron Garrod (nee Haskell)

2:38 1976 - 1979

carong
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by carong » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:07 pm

KenHo wrote:The post makes it easy to work out who the person is, and then is an attack on them and may damage their reputation and affect their ability to make a living. It seems to me that it is a very bad idea to do something like this so publicly.

I have had problems with my son's house, and have not always been happy with the way that this was dealt with. However, I take the view that that the punishment being suggested in this post as being draconian, keeping them all in for 2 weeks, is the kind of action that should have been taken in our case, in order to nip the problems in the bud early on. Instead there was a great deal of disruption for a considerable time, without (in my opinion) any firm action being taken to stop it. My expectations of the school were that they would be very strict and that disruptive behaviour would be stamped on firmly, and this seems not to be the case in some houses, but is in others.

Bearing in mind how hard it is for the school to allocate so many different people every year, and understanding that they may know better than I do after years of experience, I make two suggestions for things I would change.

1. I think the idea of not having phone calls for 3 weeks is wrong. WE are not the sort of people who want to speak to our children every day, and my son would probably not even have a phone if he wasn't away at school. However, in the early days it seems that the new second formers were being extremely disruptive, egged on by the third form. If all the parents had known about this early on then perhaps they would have put a stop to it.

2. All the boarding houses have a different style. Although I accept this would be extremely hard, it would make more sense for a child to go to a house where the house style means they will fit in. For example, there are sporty houses, musical houses, and houses where it is very laid back.
Hello KenHo

I would make a few points in response to your post, if I may.

1. Some of the things that have been done to my daughter have made it onto her school record, and therefore may well affect her future career prospects ... right at the beginning of her career.

2. Different houses do have different styles, I agree. My daughter has flourished in this house for 5 years under 2 different hotusemistresses. This person has been in post since September. Am I to believe that my daughter has suddenly turned bad??

3. I actually agree with the ban on mobiles. Having also had 2 boys who went elsewhere, where they didn't have such a ban, it was heart-wrenching to receive their phone calls when neither I nor they could do anything to change the situation, and I don't believe it did them any good at all to be able to make those calls instead of throwing themselves into their new lives. YOU may not be 'that type of parent', but some are and there is no way of differentiating and making exceptions.

4. It's not actually the keeping in for 2 weeks, per se, which is regarded as draconian, but the compulsory signing in every 15 minutes. I understand that this is the same punishment as that meted out for habitually being caught smoking, and the next step after that is suspension, which does seem excessive for talking after 'lights out' ... especially in the summer term when it is still light for an hour after that time.

Caron
Caron Garrod (nee Haskell)

2:38 1976 - 1979

carong
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by carong » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:17 pm

englishangel wrote:Welcome Kaye, and Wurzel, Caron G is, I believe, a Hertford OB so I am sure she is not making a fuss about nothing.
Thanks, englishangel, and yes you're right. And as someone who had to miss one Holly Burning - quite rightly - for an incident from the year before and who took it on the chin with the rest of my cohorts AND has had to sit next to Miss Tucker at several OB's Christmas Carol Concerts and had to stand up for the verse of 12 Days of Christmas for 'anyone who ever had a school punishment' or risk her wrath ( :oops: ) while sitting next to my daughter on the other side and trying to maintain my image of having being entirely good all the way through school, I am not saying that people should not be punished for their misdemeanours ... I just think that the punishment should fit the crime.
Caron Garrod (nee Haskell)

2:38 1976 - 1979

ailurophile
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by ailurophile » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:16 pm

KenHo wrote
The post makes it easy to work out who the person is, and then is an attack on them and may damage their reputation and affect their ability to make a living. It seems to me that it is a very bad idea to do something like this so publicly.
I agree with this point, but at the same time I have sympathy with Carong's desire to establish whether her daughter's unhappy experiences this year are an isolated case or part of a wider problem. Maybe the official forum would have been a more suitable place to raise this issue, being specific to CH parents and password protected.

We had a problem earlier this year where my DS told us he was being let down by a particular teacher; he felt that the lessons were ill-prepared and boring, and that he wasn't learning anything. Unfortunately the teacher was not present at our at parents' evening so we took the opportunity to discuss our concerns with a member of the SMT, and were assured that the matter would be investigated and that we would hear back. In fact, we heard nothing further (although DS's end of year exam result would certainly seem to confirm that he hasn't learnt much in this particular subject this year!!). For all we know, there may be a whole catalogue of complaints against this teacher but it is very difficult to get a feel for the wider picture where parents have little day to day contact with the school or with each other. I do have a nagging concern that where problems exist, it can be easy for the school to brush them under the carpet by treating complaints in isolation, making the right noises to parents but in fact doing nothing to resolve the issue.

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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by Pixie » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:24 pm

Reading ailurophile's post gives me the impression that the school has changed little since my day!
3.8 65-72

ailurophile
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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by ailurophile » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:56 pm

Reading ailurophile's post gives me the impression that the school has changed little since my day!
For fear of giving the wrong impression Pixie, and in fairness to CH, I should emphasise that DS was let down by only one teacher. The fact that he was worried by this particular teacher's shortcomings might (hopefully!) indicate that pupils expect better, and that the 'norm' is pretty high-quality teaching. Well, that's what we tell ourselves when we're struggling to pay the fees...

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Re: Barnes A Parents

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:02 pm

carong wrote:And as someone who had to miss one Holly Burning - quite rightly - for an incident from the year before and who took it on the chin with the rest of my cohorts AND has had to sit next to Miss Tucker at several OB's Christmas Carol Concerts and had to stand up for the verse of 12 Days of Christmas for 'anyone who ever had a school punishment' or risk her wrath ( :oops: )
Missing Holly Burning? What sort of stupid punishment is that?

And what is this "standing up if you've ever had a school punishment" thing?

I'm all in favour of speaking out if a Housemistress is unreasonable, Caron.

I wish that I'd been able to speak out about seven years of DR. Kerren once spoke of a friend who had been given a dismal mark from DR after her Scripture essay, but "took it on the chin" and wasn't distressed. I might just bet that that friend hadn't been written off as hopeless by DR for seven years? "Took it on the chin"? I did, for seven years.

Hertford Housemistresses were a strange variety of women, but it's also the punishments inflicted by the Senior Girls and the perceived "superiorities" of the 'A' and 'B' streams (another DR terrible mistake) that stick most in my mind; that were also important when it came to Hertford unhappiness.

Nowadays, let's have transparency. No unkindness, no bullying.
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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