Boarding School Syndrome

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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bakunin
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Boarding School Syndrome

Post by bakunin » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:58 pm

Quite a good short article on Boarding School Syndrome by George Monbiot:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... on-bullies

Many have expressed more pleasant memories of CH, but a lot of this rings true for me, for example:
On my first night at boarding school, I felt entirely alone. I was shocked, frightened and intensely homesick, but I soon discovered that expressing these emotions, instead of bringing help and consolation, attracted a gloating, predatory fascination.
I think that for at least 10-20% of the new pupils, boarding school is quite traumatic. Especially the first two years, especially for younger, smaller or more sensitive pupils, or anyone different in some easily mockable way. Looking back on it now, I realize I had actual trichotillomania, other pupils made fun of me for having a small bald spot on the top of my head due to it, and my Housemaster (Sutcliffe) decided it was caused by too many roleplaying games (rather than the more obvious and accurate environmental causes), and prescribed reading Ghandi's autobiography as a cure (!). I also enter remember entering weird, surreal, detached waking dreamlike states before bedtime for most of my 2nd form, presumably due to not eating enough...

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by J.R. » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:57 pm

I can definitely confirm that my first year at CH, starting January 1958 was to me, PURE HELL !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by sejintenej » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:33 pm

J.R. wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:57 pm
I can definitely confirm that my first year at CH, starting January 1958 was to me, PURE HELL !!
Ditto at age just 9 in 1952 and add to that the bast**ds spoke an unintelligible lingo.
Worse, marching in to tea one night in the dark I got an sharp pain under my foot and was forbidden to fall out. I got it in words of one syllable from matron who was most displeased at a damaged blood soaked sock caused by an inch long lump of broken glass. Sticking plaster - they couldn't/wouldn't afford it and of course no trip to the sicker. From that moment matrons joined the ranks of the enemy.
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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by Pe.A » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:09 pm

sejintenej wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:33 pm
J.R. wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:57 pm
I can definitely confirm that my first year at CH, starting January 1958 was to me, PURE HELL !!
Ditto at age just 9 in 1952 and add to that the bast**ds spoke an unintelligible lingo.
Worse, marching in to tea one night in the dark I got an sharp pain under my foot and was forbidden to fall out. I got it in words of one syllable from matron who was most displeased at a damaged blood soaked sock caused by an inch long lump of broken glass. Sticking plaster - they couldn't/wouldn't afford it and of course no trip to the sicker. From that moment matrons joined the ranks of the enemy.
Er...were you marching in without any shoes on...?

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by sejintenej » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:21 pm

Pe.A wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:09 pm
sejintenej wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:33 pm
J.R. wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:57 pm
I can definitely confirm that my first year at CH, starting January 1958 was to me, PURE HELL !!
Ditto at age just 9 in 1952 and add to that the bast**ds spoke an unintelligible lingo.
Worse, marching in to tea one night in the dark I got an sharp pain under my foot and was forbidden to fall out. I got it in words of one syllable from matron who was most displeased at a damaged blood soaked sock caused by an inch long lump of broken glass. Sticking plaster - they couldn't/wouldn't afford it and of course no trip to the sicker. From that moment matrons joined the ranks of the enemy.
Er...were you marching in without any shoes on...?
I like the humour (I think!)
No, I don't know how the glass got into my CH issued shoe (probably down the inside between the shoes) but it was b**** painful and cut into the ?muscle / ligament.
Should I sue them for the injury? I suspect that, for Jacqui (who, incidentally is not, so far as I am aware, not even a matron), would be the straw which broke the metaphorical camel's back!!
"The best way to think outside the box is to not know where the box is"
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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by Pe.A » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:36 am

sejintenej wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:21 pm
Pe.A wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:09 pm
sejintenej wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:33 pm


Ditto at age just 9 in 1952 and add to that the bast**ds spoke an unintelligible lingo.
Worse, marching in to tea one night in the dark I got an sharp pain under my foot and was forbidden to fall out. I got it in words of one syllable from matron who was most displeased at a damaged blood soaked sock caused by an inch long lump of broken glass. Sticking plaster - they couldn't/wouldn't afford it and of course no trip to the sicker. From that moment matrons joined the ranks of the enemy.
Er...were you marching in without any shoes on...?
I like the humour (I think!)
No, I don't know how the glass got into my CH issued shoe (probably down the inside between the shoes) but it was b**** painful and cut into the ?muscle / ligament.
Should I sue them for the injury? I suspect that, for Jacqui (who, incidentally is not, so far as I am aware, not even a matron), would be the straw which broke the metaphorical camel's back!!
It's the way i tell em!

I was genuinely curious. There was something that didn't initially add up. Thanks for clearing that one up though.

As for thinking about holding the school responsible, the words 'whipping' and 'dead horse' spring to mind...

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by loringa » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:42 am

bakunin wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:58 pm
Quite a good short article on Boarding School Syndrome by George Monbiot:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... on-bullies

Many have expressed more pleasant memories of CH, but a lot of this rings true for me, for example:
On my first night at boarding school, I felt entirely alone. I was shocked, frightened and intensely homesick, but I soon discovered that expressing these emotions, instead of bringing help and consolation, attracted a gloating, predatory fascination.
We had one boy in my junior house in the 1970s who was incredibly homesick for at least his first two years at CH, after which he seemed to be able to cope fine and, as far as I can recall, stayed through to complete his A Levels. I am pretty sure, though, that no-one did anything to make his life deliberately even more miserable than it was. I recall that we all found his misery a bit extreme but I think we generally left him to it and may even have shown a degree of sympathy. It was obviously absolutely horrible for him and I sometimes wonder how he now views his early years at the school.

Everyone gets homesick from time to time, even in later life though we generally don't show it in the same way. I generally loved being away at sea but that was before I became a parent; my subsequent career, which has included probably too much time in hot, dusty, sandy places, has meant I missed a number of my daughter's growing up milestones including her first day at school. She may have forgiven me but I am not sure I wholly have.

Taking a kid out from what may well have been an overly-protective environment and one where lots of the family still live in the same street, which may not be the case today but was not uncommon during my time, obviously makes an already stressful situation even harder so it is not surprising some suffer / suffered appalling homesickness. My personal view that, wherever one is going: boarding or day, independent or state; moving into secondary school is the single most stressful thing most people will ever endure. As a caveat, I say for most people, obviously not all as evidenced elsewhere on this forum.

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by Katharine » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:00 pm

I think a lot may depend on how the parents prepare the child for boarding school. My OB father wanted us all to go to CH, so we were brought up knowing it was a possibility. My brother started in Prep A when I was about 5, it was 6 or 7 years later I went to CH. Yes of course it was difficult at times, mainly because I started a year late so was the only New Girl in the house, it took time to break into friendship groups.

With our two sons, we brought them up from tiny knowing they would go at the age of 8, poor little mites. Part of that was I wanted them to start when everyone else did and not have my experience of starting a year late. The House Master talked to the parents and said that there would be something very wrong with home life if school life was actually better, so we should all expect to hear some bouts of home sickness, but they would be on the lookout for it.

I realise that not all children do have a happy home life.

Having been on this forum for many years now, life at CH today is nothing like my life at Hertford, I hope that houseparents (is that the right term?) will be on the lookout for home sickness.
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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by sejintenej » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:11 pm

Katharine wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:00 pm
With our two sons, we brought them up from tiny knowing they would go at the age of 8, poor little mites.
By contrast I was merely told I would be going to a different school. No information about being away from home. Zilch
The House Master talked to the parents

So far as I am aware the only contact between either housemaster and my parent in eight years was after a week or so to say I was doing OK or something like that..

I think that parents these days are far more aware of what is going on in the world.
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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by AMP » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:36 pm

I initially didn't want to go to CH.

I would have been very happy to go to a local independent school but the £900 p.a fees were beyond our means.

My mum in her wisdom had entered me for a number of local independent schools as practice for the CH entrance exams.

Apparently I changed my mind at some point and decided I wanted to go, but I have no recollection of this.

It was either CH or the local comp - a perfectly acceptable alternative but not with the same facilities.

In those days the first time you actually visited the school was a Saturday in July, which tended to coincide with the Wimbledon tennis final. It was Borg - McEnroe that year.

Looking back, making such a momentous decision completely blind seems unbelievable.

I do remember being somewhat in awe of the headed letter paper with the Great Tower St address so maybe that swung it.

Probably like most, I found it a tough environment, but am proud to have gone the full 7 years.

I can't imagine actually being forced to go to boarding school.

That is awful.

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Re: Boarding School Syndrome

Post by Katharine » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:54 pm

I don’t think I had been to Hertford before I started there. We lived in the same county, but with no car .... it was a long way away.

It had been a very bad year for the family, my father had been very ill in the spring, a completely unknown reaction to a particular drug resulted in his being confined to a padded cell in a mental hospital, and being written up in the Lancet. As if that wasn’t enough, in August my brother died following an accident. I don’t think my starting at CH in the September was high priority, except for me!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

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