How far did the rot spread?

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

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time please
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How far did the rot spread?

Post by time please »

I am fully aware that for the vast majority of pupils being at CH was the chance of a lifetime. At the very least it was for some a roof to sleep under and food on the table. But for those of us who just wanted to be at home with Mum and Dad? Those of us who were constantly homesick. Those of us who after four weeks of the summer holiday had nightmares about being sent back to the school four weeks too early. Those of us who basically hated every minute we were there. Was it the school that failed us or was it our parents? I was a total failure at CH and at times a very unpleasant person. I have lived the past forty odd years certain in the fact that it was my fault. But slowly as the years passed I started to realise that not everything was my fault. And in the light of what is happening now I do not believe that I was totally in the wrong.

The school failed the category of pupils that I was part of. The sad ones the ones who were not suited to life at a boarding school. This made us easy victims for any predatory teachers. A kind word the use of an office to get away from other pupils for a bit. It must have been a field day for the abusers. At last someone who showed a little bit of kindness. The trap was strung and we walked into it. There was no getting out, who should we turn to? And so the abuse started. The signs that something was wrong must have been easy to see. A young person who was just about coping suddenly becomes a loner becomes angry. The school failed us. But the rot was not just about the teachers it was with the older pupils as well. Because there was just as many predatory older pupils as there were teachers. The type who would wake you up at 6.30am to go downstairs and demand a .... or whatever. Either my group of pupils were flying flags that pronounced that we were the easy ones or these older pupils were in some way being given information from the predatory teachers. Yes I agree that sounds ridiculous, but think about it. The pupils that abused us were always in the last year and deemed for greater things. There was no way that they were going to get kicked out. Easier to ask us to leave.

So yes CH failed us. It left us angry feeling dirty hateful and very alone. I survived thanks to a girl that I met in my last year and who has now been my wife for nearly forty years. But as she says " after all these years I do not really know you."

I would like to thank this forum for giving me the chance to write this. I would like to thank the people who are active here for responding to these extremely difficult topics in such a dignified way and for showing such huge empathy. Thank you.

Finally I apologise for any bad spelling or punctuation which is the result of forty odd years abroad.
richardb
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by richardb »

What has been before the Courts has given a shocking picture in the 70s, 80s and 90s has painted a shocking picture of CH.

That is just from those who have come forward and spoken up. I have no doubt there are many more who have buried it away and don't want to dredge it all up. Or feel embarrassed at what happened. Or plain and simple are still frightened of coming forward.

I have the highest admiration for those who have had the courage to give evidence.

I don't doubt that the school gave me an educational opportunity that I would not otherwise have had, but at one hell of an emotional price.
Janey Jam-Jar
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by Janey Jam-Jar »

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.
richardb
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by richardb »

Standards in the state sector have improved dramatically and I have myself wondering recently whether boarding school is now an outdated notion.

CH has moved in my view a long way from its original purpose. In the modern day with the welfare state, NHS, academies etc most children can get a good education and be properly looked after without uprooting them from their families.

I wouldn't do it again.
yamaha
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by yamaha »

Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 am

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.

Your naive binary opinion, boarding is bad / home is good, is ridiculous.

There are many good boarding schools that produce happy, successful people who have benefited from resources and opportunities they would not otherwise been able to access.

CH in 2018 may be such a school.
wagenman
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by wagenman »

yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:43 am
Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 am

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.

Your naive binary opinion, boarding is bad / home is good, is ridiculous.

There are many good boarding schools that produce happy, successful people who have benefited from resources and opportunities they would not otherwise been able to access.

CH in 2018 may be such a school.
In my experience CH in the 80' s was such a school. I recognise that wasn't the case for everyone though.
Bishbashbosh
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by Bishbashbosh »

Something I've noticed and seems to me to be important to remember:

Some people, in light of events at CH, are now taking a very binary, black and white picture of the school. I'm making this comment here as I was one of the victims and witnesses in the recent case. CH afforded me opportunities I literally could not have had elsewhere. A couple of examples - the IT, the drama, the music lessons. Facilities today provide many of those to a good standard in many schools, but not everywhere, and with the tories consistently pushing back for decades on any funding for anything remotely arts based, many schools are losing music and drama facilities.

If I could have my childhood again, I would happily board again. It isn't suited for everyone, certainly, but it also isn't bad for everyone.

Please do try not to have good memories (of which I have some) spoiled by the actions of a few predators. Whilst it may feel like a lot of the staff were at fault, remember these are a very small minority out of what must have been 100s of staff (pastoral, educational, facilities etc), and find the good amongst the bad. There are always flowers amid the weeds. Often poking through cracks in the tarmac.

I have fond memories of wandering the fields and woods at CH; the old farm en route to Southwater; the old pool near the train station, with freezing water. I learned to swim in that pool. Playing squash was also fun, although I believe it was Karim who taught me. I had a good rapport with him, which has soured those memories. However, it and the other... 'issues' we shall call them, haven't soured my entire memories of CH. Please don't let all of your memories be ruined too.
time please
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by time please »

yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:43 am
Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 am

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.

Your naive binary opinion, boarding is bad / home is good, is ridiculous.

There are many good boarding schools that produce happy, successful people who have benefited from resources and opportunities they would not otherwise been able to access.

CH in 2018 may be such a school.
Of course there are both good and bad boarding schools. For most pupils I am sure that they a good place to grow up and learn. But for us who passed through the system in the sixties seventies there was a huge risk that was taken. We were sent away and complete strangers were given the responsibility of caring for us. Not once was I asked by anyone if I was enjoying being there, or was I coping. There was no such system. It was all about learning. Welfare took second place if it took a place at all.

Hopefully it is better today. But the danger of sending a young person away from the parents still remains. Most of the children who passed through CH did fine. I and many others did not. Would I send my children to a boarding school? No.
Janey Jam-Jar
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by Janey Jam-Jar »

yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:43 am
Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 am

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.

Your naive binary opinion, boarding is bad / home is good, is ridiculous.

There are many good boarding schools that produce happy, successful people who have benefited from resources and opportunities they would not otherwise been able to access.

CH in 2018 may be such a school.
Fair enough if you disagree. Don't call me naive and my opinions ridiculous though.
Last edited by Janey Jam-Jar on Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
DeletedAccount

Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by DeletedAccount »

Bishbashbosh wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:04 am Something I've noticed and seems to me to be important to remember:

Some people, in light of events at CH, are now taking a very binary, black and white picture of the school. I'm making this comment here as I was one of the victims and witnesses in the recent case. CH afforded me opportunities I literally could not have had elsewhere. A couple of examples - the IT, the drama, the music lessons. Facilities today provide many of those to a good standard in many schools, but not everywhere, and with the tories consistently pushing back for decades on any funding for anything remotely arts based, many schools are losing music and drama facilities.

If I could have my childhood again, I would happily board again. It isn't suited for everyone, certainly, but it also isn't bad for everyone.

Please do try not to have good memories (of which I have some) spoiled by the actions of a few predators. Whilst it may feel like a lot of the staff were at fault, remember these are a very small minority out of what must have been 100s of staff (pastoral, educational, facilities etc), and find the good amongst the bad. There are always flowers amid the weeds. Often poking through cracks in the tarmac.

I have fond memories of wandering the fields and woods at CH; the old farm en route to Southwater; the old pool near the train station, with freezing water. I learned to swim in that pool. Playing squash was also fun, although I believe it was Karim who taught me. I had a good rapport with him, which has soured those memories. However, it and the other... 'issues' we shall call them, haven't soured my entire memories of CH. Please don't let all of your memories be ruined too.
What an enormously valuable comment. Thank you so much.

We all left school with different experiences, memories and views of the school. But for the vast majority, I imagine that the memories were largely positive, especially with the softening effects of time. After all, it is where we spent our formative years, and despite the day-to-day issues, we built enormous friendships, were well taught, enjoyed the rebellion of socks down and bands pinned to coats etc. etc., smoked enormous amounts of Old Holborn and drunk heavily subsidised local beer, played all sorts of sports to varying levels, enjoyed the incredible surroundings of the school and generally grew up and benefitted from so many aspects of the school. Many of us were left with a sense of gratitude and pride, tempered with the odd negative association.

This has all changed.

Recent events and the information they have exposed have been an enormous shock to these memories. We are all wrestling with how to reconcile these positive memories with the shocking realisations that the recent investigations, cases, convictions and sentences have produced. These, coupled with the heart-breaking testimonies of those who were innocent victims, contemporaries of many, have made it so hard for people to now understand the value of these former memories and to form new ones. In many cases, this has led to binary shifts from "good" to "bad", for others, it has just sown confusion and uncertainty.

I think BishBashBosh's words are so useful. We have to keep the good memories but also fold in the new realisations that we have.

Of course, I write this as someone who was not directly affected by the illegal, criminal, horrendous abuse that took place.
DeletedAccount

Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by DeletedAccount »

Janey Jam-Jar wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:37 pm
yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:43 am
Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 am

Please read Nick Duffell on the subject of boarding ('The Making of Them' and 'Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege') and Joy Schaverien ('Boarding School Syndrome').

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me, that I never truly adjusted into what was expected of me. There wasn't anything wrong with us. The premise of removing children from their homes (who are not neglected or in danger) is wrong.

Your naive binary opinion, boarding is bad / home is good, is ridiculous.

There are many good boarding schools that produce happy, successful people who have benefited from resources and opportunities they would not otherwise been able to access.

CH in 2018 may be such a school.
Fair enough if you disagree. Don't tell me I'm naive and my opinion is ridiculous though.
Stating the obvious I think, but I think Janey Jam-Jar's approach is spot-on, particularly for this forum and especially on discussions such as these.

We live in a world too often consumed by a new toxic binary zero-sum madness, with social media ever-more an echo chamber driving polarisation onwards etc. But we do a great job keeping that out of our forum.

Let's keep it that way . As JJ-J says, differences of opinions are fine, but let's respect eachother's rights to think differently, however much we may disagree.
yamaha
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by yamaha »

Re: How far did the rot spread?
by Janey Jam-Jar » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:37 am

Fair enough if you disagree. Don't tell me I'm naive and my opinion is ridiculous though.
Sorry Janey Jam Jar.

When my kids left enthusiastically each term for their happy and successful boarding school careers they didn’t give the impression that they were being “removed from their home”, as you emotively put it in your lame attempt to seed a violent image.
Scazza
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by Scazza »

time please wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:12 am I am fully aware that for the vast majority of pupils being at CH was the chance of a lifetime. At the very least it was for some a roof to sleep under and food on the table. But for those of us who just wanted to be at home with Mum and Dad? Those of us who were constantly homesick. Those of us who after four weeks of the summer holiday had nightmares about being sent back to the school four weeks too early. Those of us who basically hated every minute we were there. Was it the school that failed us or was it our parents? I was a total failure at CH and at times a very unpleasant person. I have lived the past forty odd years certain in the fact that it was my fault. But slowly as the years passed I started to realise that not everything was my fault. And in the light of what is happening now I do not believe that I was totally in the wrong.

The school failed the category of pupils that I was part of. The sad ones the ones who were not suited to life at a boarding school. This made us easy victims for any predatory teachers. A kind word the use of an office to get away from other pupils for a bit. It must have been a field day for the abusers. At last someone who showed a little bit of kindness. The trap was strung and we walked into it. There was no getting out, who should we turn to? And so the abuse started. The signs that something was wrong must have been easy to see. A young person who was just about coping suddenly becomes a loner becomes angry. The school failed us. But the rot was not just about the teachers it was with the older pupils as well. Because there was just as many predatory older pupils as there were teachers. The type who would wake you up at 6.30am to go downstairs and demand a .... or whatever. Either my group of pupils were flying flags that pronounced that we were the easy ones or these older pupils were in some way being given information from the predatory teachers. Yes I agree that sounds ridiculous, but think about it. The pupils that abused us were always in the last year and deemed for greater things. There was no way that they were going to get kicked out. Easier to ask us to leave.

So yes CH failed us. It left us angry feeling dirty hateful and very alone. I survived thanks to a girl that I met in my last year and who has now been my wife for nearly forty years. But as she says " after all these years I do not really know you."

I would like to thank this forum for giving me the chance to write this. I would like to thank the people who are active here for responding to these extremely difficult topics in such a dignified way and for showing such huge empathy. Thank you.

Finally I apologise for any bad spelling or punctuation which is the result of forty odd years abroad.
Kids crave adult attention and with only three staff per house of 60 boys, that 'face time' was very limited. We were sitting ducks to any potential abuser. All they had to do was show a little interest in you as a person.
yamaha
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Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by yamaha »

Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by DickT_PeB » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:56 am


We live in a world too often consumed by a new toxic binary zero-sum madness,

"toxic binary zero-sum madness" … you mean like banning all boarding schools because some children are unhappy in some boarding schools?

Some children are unhappy in some homes.

Ban homes?
DeletedAccount

Re: How far did the rot spread?

Post by DeletedAccount »

yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:35 pm
Re: How far did the rot spread?
Post by DickT_PeB » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:56 am


We live in a world too often consumed by a new toxic binary zero-sum madness,

"toxic binary zero-sum madness" … you mean like banning all boarding schools because some children are unhappy in some boarding schools?

Some children are unhappy in some homes.

Ban homes?
Not really. I was referring more to a way of discussing, in particular, if someone disagrees with an opinion then representing it (1) as the complete opposite of one's opinion ; (2) likely (mis-)representing it as something far more extreme than it really is; and (3) dismissing it wholeheartedly.

Personally, whilst I think that boarding schools still have a role, I don't have any problem with someone thinking that they don't have a role, whatever their reasons. That is their opinion and I respect that. If I am interested in why they think differently, then heh, I might ask them and then listen to what they say and perhaps even change my view, either a bit or who knows, completely. And there are other times when I might look to give them relevant information that might encourage them to reflect upon their opinion.

I think that your approach has erred a bit towards the echo-chamber approach a couple of times today (although personally I have appreciated so many of your other comments etc.). Rather than engaging with a view that differs from yours, or just accepting it, you have misrepresented their arguments ("ban homes" "seed a violent image") or dismiss them ("ridiculous"). No-one is saying, implying or suggesting that because a few people were unhappy then boarding schools should be banned, and certainly not that homes should be banned given that some children are unhappy in homes. Rather, what they are saying is that for a range of factors and upon balance they personally think that day schools could be a better option for children. There is no logical way of linking that point of view - not the same as yours or mine, but a perfectly fair view - with the assumption that they would therefore say ban homes. I am sure on that issue they would have their views and opinions. Who knows, they may be the same as yours. They may be different.

I think that is what I was meaning when I talked about avoiding the echo chamber....

But heh, it is just my view. Yours and others may be different. That's fine. But please I hope that no-one will now tell me that because I have said what I think on this that must mean that I want to ban the internet, close the forum or even smash my IPhone. I don't.

Dick
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