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View Full Version : Poll: What kind of school did Dissensus posters go to?



john eden
24-07-2006, 10:27 AM
Following on from the Oi thread (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=649&page=5&pp=15) I'm interested to know how many Dissensans did attend public schools?

Did you enjoy it?

Would you say this has had a generally beneficial or detrimental effect on your lives since?

Are there situations where you feel you shouldn't let on about it?

It's an anonymous poll, by the way.

(NB for non-uk posters: "Public School" in the UK refers to fee-paying schools such as Eton, where people's parents generally pay for their education rather than the state. Yes, I accept that this is confusing!)

mms
24-07-2006, 12:38 PM
i went to mainly state schools - but went to a private school for a bit which i got a music scholarship for, it meant my parents could afford it, but meant i had to becomea cathedral chorister as well, which was hard work 6 days a week from 8 till 6 with school inbetween.
The experience was strange at 8 - snobbishness on both sides - some of the people i went to comp school with really turned against me when they heard i had gained a scholarship and in return there was an element of insitutionalised snobbery from some of the teachers at the private school, people were treated differently from me as they knew their parentshad influence and power etc, Infact when i started i began to tell my mum and dad wonderous fables and tales about the new school - cos i knew it would make them happy, even though i was pretty confused about it all + my sister and most of my friends around where i lived all went to state school.

The snobbishness returned when i went to a comp next - i kept it pretty quiet that i'd been to a private school i knew some people from infant and early juniors and i got a bit of a cold shoulder, which i would put down to inverted snobbery.
also the difference in standards in education were huge - i really think i benefitted from the private school education wise and i was way ahead of the majority of kids at teh state school even though i'm not particulary academic, - but from shifting thru the assumed class barriers i also think my self asteem suffered too, esp as the drop in education standards extended my alienation even further and by the time i was doing my gcses i didn't care as much as i think i would've done had i still been at a private school, where i would have been pushed much harder.

As far as not letting on about it now i couldn't care less- although i haven't got any friends who went to that private school anymore- i've got friends who went to both private and public schools and comps if they don't get on that's their problem, but i do think people who spent a long time at boarding school etc are very aware of it and some feel a bit guilty and angsty or they naturally expect the best for them every step of the way. They also have a habit of making up silly myths and assumptions about people who are working class but i think from my experience that this is something engrained during school. They also seem to resent their parents quite alot for sending them there.

Woebot
24-07-2006, 01:24 PM
i went to a preparatory school (between 7-13) which was a fee-paying "boarding" school. however i think something like 75-80% of the kids went onto big local comprehensives. i think this made me something of a misfit in my own "class".

it was the wrong place for my parents to send me if they wanted me to get into my second school (between 13-18) which i scraped into cos i was on totally the wrong curriculum. my second school was extremely posh. nuff said.

the other day i drove past my prep school and felt this really acute wrenching pain. indicative of how i felt about being dumped at the place aged 7. i began to settle in there aged 13 just as i was off to my second school.

at my second really posh school i was more obviously miserable, was a total outsider, thought practically all the people weren't worth talking to, and had two proper friends in five years. just painted/printed/listened to music/went swimming on my own. there's no way on earth i'd ever consider sending my children away from home.

stelfox
24-07-2006, 01:59 PM
mine's a bit of a weird one - state schools all my life, but my secondary education was at a state boarding school. and no, i do not mean borstal, i mean a boarding school but part of the state sector. i think there are only two in the country now, and there were only about four back then.

(obviously that means i can't vote in the poll coz it's kinda a cross between option 1 and option 2 and i don't want to say i was raised by wolves.)

i fucking hated it. it was in the norfolk countryside and mainly frequented by middle-class kids whose parents wanted them to go to a boarding school with a good educational record (it was the best in my county at the time) or by kids whose parents were in the services and stationed in places like germany or cyprus.

the pervasive tone was very snobby, looking down on kids from other state schools, but with a strange added inferiority complex that it wasn't a proper private establishment.

it was also incredibly white - about 4 kids of hong kong chinese heritage, 1 black kid, and 2 asians out of 1,600 pupils. these poor kids got no end of grief. and i remember my buddy and roommate being chased around the house with people yelling "coon" at him to this day.

bullying was rife, with older kids permitted to dole out punishments to younger kids, and i was alway in trouble, constantly in fights and generally didn't have a great time.

the only times i was really happy there were when i was doing athletics, because it was the one chance you got to do anything for yourself or claim a victory that wasn't team-based.

however, i made a few of my very best friends there and passed a lot of exams that i would otherwise probably never have even turned up for if i'd been at a regular school where bunking off were at all possible.

still, i'm with matt. aside from probably never being able to afford it, there's no way in the world i'd ever send my kids to a place like that.

mistersloane
24-07-2006, 03:09 PM
I went to fee-paying but non-boarding schools in London, and the experience was extremely mixed. I was very, very hard work and I think would have been wherever I had been at school, though I avoided expulsion by being kinda good academically. I was awarded a bursary ( fee-exemption ) to stay on there to do my A levels and turned it down. I remain very proud of that.

I generally hated the experience, and hated the factory-type model I perceived I was in with regard to status and expectation. I left at 16 - one of two people to do so out of maybe 200 kids - and have been very, very wary of education ever since. I don't like talking about school at all, and view it as essentially prison. Teachers I view with the same mixture of distaste and fetishism I would if they were prison guards.

I don't know many solutions - home schooling I think is problematic with regard to socialisation - and don't want any kids of my own, though have been heavily involved with bringing up my ex=partner's daughter. She didn't want to go to school one day when she was 6 and I said that she had to, and would have to for the next ten years. She burst into tears, and I knew exactly how she felt.

swears
24-07-2006, 03:45 PM
I went to a Grammar on the Wirral, (one of the few places left with Grammar schools) and I loved it. No beatings from ruffians, good standard of education absolutely free, nice location in a leafy suburbs, lots of kids into music and films, it's own swimming pool....
*sigh* I miss school. :(

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
24-07-2006, 05:57 PM
I went to a comprehensive in cheshire. My dad's a head teacher in the state sector, and my mum was sent to a secondary modern after fluffing her 11-plus because she had flu (the mistake was corrected after the first year), so both my parents had ideological reasons for wanting me to get a state sector education. Plus our local comp was fairly decent academically, so there was no pressing need to consider alternatives.

I drifted through school, and I can't remember much about it. Obviously I'm aware that I attended for 5 years, but I cant really relate any anecdotes or sketch any characteristics of the people I met there - I have lots of vivid memories of my childhood & teens, but they all take place out of school. I got decent grades in all my exams without ever pushing myself very hard, and I left school without any real sense of who i was or what I should do with my life.

I sometimes wander how it would have turned out if I'd gone to a school which pushed me harder, and my conclusion is that the rewards could have potentially been greater but the risks would have been more acute. i could have been a captain of industry by now, but i could just as easily be a acid casualty in a home somewhere - i dont always react well to pressure. Generally I'm happy with what I got.

I share mr. sloane's suspicion of education - I hung on for my A-levels just about, but i left to get a job at 18. I've only just gone back to university (at 30), doing a very vocational, trade-oriented course & it's working out OK.

Don Rosco
24-07-2006, 06:32 PM
still, i'm with matt. aside from probably never being able to afford it, there's no way in the world i'd ever send my kids to a place like that.

I'm the same - I went to a fee-paying school, but I wasn't a boarder. There were boarders there, and it would have done my nut right in. For a start, bunking off would have been impossible, and some of my happiest memories from those times involve the massive feeling of freedom you get from not being in school when you're supposed to be.

However, my girlfriend went to boarding school and absolutely loved it. Possibly because she was from a country town and she got to live in Dublin, but it at least shows it works for some people. I couldn't imagine it though *shudder*


I hung on for my A-levels just about, but i left to get a job at 18. I've only just gone back to university (at 30), doing a very vocational, trade-oriented course & it's working out OK.

I'm pretty much the same, I just finished a vocational course at the age of 32. In school, I ground out some super average results in my Leaving Cert (a-level equivalent), and went to college for about a month before realising it wasn't for me. 18 is a terrible age to decide what you want to do with your life. I got a job in my friend's record shop where my real education began!

Interestingly enough, my friend with the shop performed terribly in school, he was in the lowest stream and was always in trouble for being a cheeky cunt. He went on to make a packet with the shop, which put him through flight school, and now he's a commercial pilot. Shows you what teachers know :p


(although, I don't think the Prison Guard analogy is a fair one for a lot of teachers who are trying their best to educate kids)

D7_bohs
24-07-2006, 07:19 PM
Slightly off topic, but Don Rosco's post brought it to mind; when i was at school, relatively few Irish kids went to fee paying secondary schools; currently state sector schools in richer parts of Dublin are closing due to lack of numbers while fee paying schools expand hugely - the reason? while the country is obviously richer than it was in the 70s, but a factor is the abolition of university fees in the mid- 90s - at just about the time they were reintroduced in Britain. Instead of raising working-class participation in third level education, the main effect of free access to college has been that middle class families spend the money they would previously have spent of univesity fees on school fees to get their thicko offspring into university, thus making the universities even more like bigger boarding schools (and lowering standards, since half the kids only got there through cramming), whereas working class families still prefer to have the kids earning as early as possible - and with inadequate grants for poorer families, a job will always win out over 3-4 years accruing debt

jenks
24-07-2006, 07:28 PM
(although, I don't think the Prison Guard analogy is a fair one for a lot of teachers who are trying their best to educate kids)

thanks ;)

gek-opel
24-07-2006, 07:49 PM
State primary, (mixture of backgrounds and incomes, lots of fights but relatively good fun) then Grammar Skool from 11... very good place academically, but I despised it pretty much from beginning to end, as did large numbers of people there... all boys, school on a bloody Saturday morning... basically they ran it like a fee-paying school without the fees, there were even boarders, (poor sods)... utter utter hatred... I dont feel ashamed about telling people about it. I probably would if I went to public skool tho... (the one's I feel sorry for are public skoool kids who went to shit, unfamous public skools, the ones whose results are pretty mediocre. They just look like chumps... they were sent there purely for the old boys/girls network... the swines....)

simon silverdollar
24-07-2006, 08:16 PM
I went to a comprehensive in cheshire. .


me too. where were you at? ( i was at helsby high, btw. it was alright, i guess...)

labrat
25-07-2006, 08:13 AM
70's comprehensive in Wigan-curriculum similar to the raised by wolves option

jenks
25-07-2006, 08:58 AM
An all boys comprehensive that used to be a grammar but thought it was a minor public school. We had a quad that you could only walk round clockwise, teachers in gowns and doors that only certain people could enter.

As well as this we had an upper band and lower band and never the twain should meet, except for games. Where, of course, matters of social injustice were resolved in the time honoured fashion.

I was in the upper band but was conspicuous by being the only boy from my council estate who had made it into the illustrious heights. My time at school was horrible - i was bullied by both sides and regularly had my lunch stolen. At no time did the school intervene and because i wasn't one of the super bright kids i was never pushed, instead i was left alone to bob along.

maybe being raised by wolves might have been more productive, at least i would have learnt to fight for my lunch more effectively.

sufi
25-07-2006, 09:43 AM
I was a boarder at posh public school for some years - in fact as a likkle pickney of about 8 i shared a dorm with woebot :D :D
i was naturally a righteous rebel at every opportunity, i won school elections on anarcho-syndicalist ticket, & as a repeat offender was forced to share a room with another recidivist who’s now a-list bollywood celeb – it was that type of deal :rolleyes: as I boast no such distinguished ancestry I was then unceremoniously booted out,
I found the whole experience extremely trying, the level of snobbery and bullying was an utter misery, but I did leave with as much kultural kapital/baggage I could fit in my wheelbarrow which in many ways has stood me in good stead I guess, though it has taken many years of intensive narco-therapy to rehabilitate myself to society

swears
25-07-2006, 10:32 AM
So nobody apart from me liked school, then?

Lichen
25-07-2006, 10:37 AM
Boarding school at 7; deleriously free and exciting at times, utterly, dreadfully frightening at others .

Posh school thereafter; barely touched the walls, last three years a blur of Courage Directors, B&H and soap bar.

Sent home just before A-levels to which I commuted .

University a total waste of time.


I'm a disgrace but WTF :D

mms
25-07-2006, 10:37 AM
So nobody apart from me liked school, then?

yeah i liked bits of school for sure.
it would be foolish to say that every day was misery. mostly hanging out with friends talkign about girls and music and films

IdleRich
25-07-2006, 11:23 AM
So nobody apart from me liked school, then?
I thought that it was ok. It was the local comprehensive but I guess it had a fairly good reputation. I was never bullied despite being in all the top sets, I think that being in some of the sports teams afforded me some protection as a lot of people did experience various levels of bullying. Kids are really cruel I think and looking back I wonder how I got through so unscathed, it certainly doesn't take much imagination to see that it could be a living hell for some people. I much preferred sixth form and university although with hindsight I realise that in some ways I reacted badly to the relative freedom of university and I regret not working harder towards my degree.

tryptych
25-07-2006, 11:31 AM
tiny state primary in the countryside, miles from home, chosen by my parents which was absolutely wicked - only about 20 kids in my year, forest out the back of the playground we were allowed to make dens in the summer term, big adventure playground...

then local grammar school from 11 - sounds similar to gek's, all boys, some boarders. ambivalent about it really - some of the opportunities were fantastic, learning to sail, studying ancient greek (our teacher set the greek GCSE), getting massively supported in our university applications. at the time it seemed quite fun, although i was pretty depressed around 15-16.

in hindsight, what i liked least was being at a single sex school. having virtually no contact with girls your own age from 11 to 16 can do some pretty heavy damage to your social skills where females are concerned. but then i would probably not worked as hard in a mixed school... eh, who knows.

swears
25-07-2006, 06:06 PM
Now I think about it, I had a mate when I was little that went to a Steiner school...
He was a rather mellow kid, actually. Really good fun to hang around with.

foret
25-07-2006, 08:07 PM
in hindsight, what i liked least was being at a single sex school. having virtually no contact with girls your own age from 11 to 16 can do some pretty heavy damage to your social skills where females are concerned. but then i would probably not worked as hard in a mixed school... eh, who knows.

sickening innit

i don't think i _talked_ to a girl of my own age between the age of 7 and 17 or so

my school was full of aspergers kids who spent their time reading fantasy books and playing about with computers, so i was quite unexceptional i suppose

even for 'normal' kids single-sex schooling is a disaster and only callous and stupid parents could think one more a* gcse is a good tradeoff for emotional development

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
26-07-2006, 09:20 AM
me too. where were you at? ( i was at helsby high, btw. it was alright, i guess...)

I was schooled in the seething metropolis of Nantwich. Wierd part of the world. I lived in a village so there was lots of rural/agricultural land in my immediate area - all my early drug experiences took place in fields or woods, which was great. But then Crewe is a railway town & hardcore working class for the most part - rave/baggy hit very big there, and got transmitted to our school by crewe kids whose aspirational parents bussed them out to leafy nantwich for thier schooling.

The main thing was that there were loads of different types of people at my school - there wasnt really a clique or an expected ideal for people to emulate, which I thought was quite cool. There were no real outsiders, everyone seemed to have their little crew.

Rambler
26-07-2006, 09:51 AM
Local comp. Happened to be very good, with an outstanding music department. Parents didn't apply to the local boys grammer school (which regularly comes top ten in the league tables these days) because they had a reputation for rejecting prospective pupils with chronic illnesses. Well, you don't become the best by putting obstacles in your way.

Wouldn't have swapped my school for many though; some absolutely superb teachers there, and although I got my fair share of mild bullying (near the top of my class, played in the school orchestra, wore braces - I had it coming...) I owe that place a huge amount.

owen
26-07-2006, 02:12 PM
well, 'dissensus poster' wouldn't be quite true of late, but can't resist an oppurtunity to grind a much-ground axe (hmm, only a 7% majority for comprehensives, when it's roughly the same amount nationally that go to public school- what does that say about dissensus... :p)

anyway. i went to a reasonably ok state primary school with frequent but non-violent victimisation, followed by one somewhat worse secondary until 13, where i got shunted round classes to avoid general unpleasantness from peers, followed by vastly worse secondary for 3 years after moving house, a place which still essentially forms in most details my view of the world.
that is, in that it had a combination of official cosiness- we had a distinctly blair-like head who would make cradling hand gestures to indicate how we were one big commuuuunity- endemic violence- rarely did a week go by without getting slapped about in one way or other- and stratification- the place was divided between more or less irreconcilable groups, something usually seen to best effect when 'hippies' (ie, those without hairgel or slammin vinyl bags) and sikh kids ran the gauntlet of skinheads to try and get home. other things i enjoyed about that school was the general presumption on the part of teachers that i was thick, which necessiated me being in lower sets for most stuff, usually involving spending lots of time with people who enjoyed kicking me; it renaming itself a 'community campus' when it got lottery funding for a sports hall; and i really ought to stop now.

was recently reminded that its system of punishments and detentions was known as 'discipline for learning'. marvellous.

funnily enough, the thing that stopped it from being totally unbearable was the kids from guilty middle class lefty backgrounds, who after initial class-based suspicion adopted me somewhat, while my fellow council estate scum tended to make my life a misery, instilling a weird obsession with class that i haven't in any way lost, no matter how irrelevant it might get. (oh and credit where it's due, the history teacher was nice)

simon silverdollar
26-07-2006, 02:23 PM
I was schooled in the seething metropolis of Nantwich. Wierd part of the world. I lived in a village so there was lots of rural/agricultural land in my immediate area - all my early drug experiences took place in fields or woods, which was great. But then Crewe is a railway town & hardcore working class for the most part - rave/baggy hit very big there, and got transmitted to our school by crewe kids whose aspirational parents bussed them out to leafy nantwich for thier schooling.

The main thing was that there were loads of different types of people at my school - there wasnt really a clique or an expected ideal for people to emulate, which I thought was quite cool. There were no real outsiders, everyone seemed to have their little crew.


lovely open air swimming pool in nantwich though, right?

crewe is a bit of a crazy place in my experience.

foret
26-07-2006, 03:34 PM
well, 'dissensus poster' wouldn't be quite true of late, but can't resist an oppurtunity to grind a much-ground axe (hmm, only a 7% majority for comprehensives, when it's roughly the same amount nationally that go to public school- what does that say about dissensus...

that it's full of guilty middle class lefty types ripe for a tripping, or

that the poll has shifted considerably in the last hour, or that comprehensive schools aren't the best place to learn maths ;o

John Doe
26-07-2006, 03:37 PM
Can I just make an intervention here? I'm really quite surprised at how much cultural stereotyping seems to be going on in these posts - ie 'middle class' = calm, civilised, loving, goal orientated, ambition-enhancing, nurturing etc; 'working class' a constantly brutal (and brutalising) affair. This as much from those who went to comprehensives as those who went to fee paying schools. I'm sorry but I find this sort of thinking unbearably cliched and tiresome. Speaking as someone who grew up on a council estate and went to the local comprehensive school I wanna say my childhood was on the whole happy, fulfilled and positive. Not every council estate is like a war zone - in fact, more often than not, they are peopled by decent working class people who just happen be unable to afford to get on the property ladder; my comprehensive was full of enthusiastic and committed teachers who were more than willing to provide encouragement should you show any sign of ability/ambition/interest etc. I grew up in what was then an industrial town in the north west of england (it's now distinctly post-industrial) and my peers at school were coal miners sons, factory workers daughters etc - ie solidly working class, so there was little that was (to employ the stereotype) leafy or middle-class about the institution I went to. Like everyone else I experienced a bit of bullying, some rough times, there were some real nutters in my school etc, but nothing really to report. By contrast, many of my middle class friends who went to fee-paying schools (some distinctly prestigious) have regaled me with real horror stories of the bullying and brutalization they suffered, the ignorant indifference of their teachers etc etc etc. A couple of unforuntate souls I know have, due to drugs and mental problems, dropped off the map altogether in the most dramatic and saddening fashion.

This is not to say that my experiences are somehow more valid or typical than others posted here, but just to issue a request: can we please drop these Daily Mail-esque stereotypes of working class bad/middle class good?

stelfox
26-07-2006, 03:55 PM
Can I just make an intervention here? I'm really quite surprised at how much cultural stereotyping seems to be going on in these posts - ie 'middle class' = calm, civilised, loving, goal orientated, ambition-enhancing, nurturing etc; 'working class' a constantly brutal (and brutalising) affair. This as much from those who went to comprehensives as those who went to fee paying schools. I'm sorry but I find this sort of thinking unbearably cliched and tiresome. Speaking as someone who grew up on a council estate and went to the local comprehensive school I wanna say my childhood was on the whole happy, fulfilled and positive. Not every council estate is like a war zone - in fact, more often than not, they are peopled by decent working class people who just happen be unable to afford to get on the property ladder; my comprehensive was full of enthusiastic and committed teachers who were more than willing to provide encouragement should you show any sign of ability/ambition/interest etc. I grew up in what was then an industrial town in the north west of england (it's now distinctly post-industrial) and my peers at school were coal miners sons, factory workers daughters etc - ie solidly working class, so there was little that was (to employ the stereotype) leafy or middle-class about the institution I went to. Like everyone else I experienced a bit of bullying, some rough times, there were some real nutters in my school etc, but nothing really to report. By contrast, many of my middle class friends who went to fee-paying schools (some distinctly prestigious) have regaled me with real horror stories of the bullying and brutalization they suffered, the ignorant indifference of their teachers etc etc etc. A couple of unforuntate souls I know have, due to drugs and mental problems, dropped off the map altogether in the most dramatic and saddening fashion.

This is not to say that my experiences are somehow more valid or typical than others posted here, but just to issue a request: can we please drop these Daily Mail-esque stereotypes of working class bad/middle class good?

hear hear. mine was a very middle-class school and it was absolutely brutal to some kids. a living hell for me for my first two years, too.

Grievous Angel
26-07-2006, 04:08 PM
State primary school, in Hornchurch, Essex; Catholic. Run by a very nice nun who watched helplessly as the paedophile priests abused her charges. Eventually got them sent back to Ireland. Vast childhood paranoia as a result.

State comprehensive secondary school, Hornchurch / Romford borders. Catholic, Jesuit-based. My old form teacher is doing a long jail term for paedophilia. My old English teacher subsequently got sent back to New Zealand after allegations of paedophilia. Bit of a pattern emerging there. Unbelievably violent. Lots of NF action, at school, on the street, in the youth clubs...

Vast teenage paranoia as a result. Teaching was pretty rubbish.

Totally screwed up A-levels (it was that year the tories ran out of cash and had to cut loads of university places, so engineered vast numbers of unexpected failures - well that was the conspiracy theory at the time) so parents paid (not that much) for me to go to this crammer. It had the advantage of being near Kensington Market and its excellent record stalls and was full of rich kids smoking dope not doing any work. I did, and thereby did OK in the end.

I fucking hated school and it did me a lot of damage but you know what they say, what doesn't kill you... all that childhood crap becomes pure gold as you get older...

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
26-07-2006, 04:10 PM
Can I just make an intervention here? I'm really quite surprised at how much cultural stereotyping seems to be going on in these posts - ie 'middle class' = calm, civilised, loving, goal orientated, ambition-enhancing, nurturing etc; 'working class' a constantly brutal (and brutalising) affair....

This is not to say that my experiences are somehow more valid or typical than others posted here, but just to issue a request: can we please drop these Daily Mail-esque stereotypes of working class bad/middle class good?

See your point John, but...

a/ Any thread debating the merits of state vs. private schooling is going to spend a lot of time talking about class - it's unavoidable.

b/ I think this thread is distinguished by an emphasis on individual narratives rather than generalizations. There are horror stories from both sides of the state/fee-paying divide and plenty of questioning traditional middle class asumptions on education eg:


only callous and stupid parents could think one more a* gcse is a good tradeoff for emotional development

No-one is using either middle or working class as a pejoritive term.

c/ It's right to guard against improper use of the terms working & middle class, but not to deconstruct all meaning out of them. The government tells us we're now a classless society, but anyone who looks around knows that it's bollocks. Generally, middle class parents have higher aspirations for their kids than working class ones, and MC kids get better schooling. That's not fair but it's a fact - I dont think recognising that is stereotyping, if you accept that there will always be exceptions.

martin
26-07-2006, 04:26 PM
Went to a Catholic comprehensive, all I can say about it is that it engendered in me a voracious contempt for all religious nutters (yes, even peaceable, 'non-extremist' Muslims and Buddhists) ; I discovered how to make various incendiary devices ; I was told by careers advisory that I'd be best off becoming a mechanic and then thrown out of the room, ; some ugly bitch of an art teacher told me I belonged in a special school because I couldn't draw straight ; I learnt how to make a 'shit bomb', though never actually fashioned one of my own. Luckily, I teamed up with some muckers and we spent our days bunking PE, reading Melody Maker, fantasising about forming a band, acting like spotty masturbating little twats, and so on. Never got bullied, the only really violent incidents I remember were a mass fight with a nearby school, and some older kid getting arrested and expelled for bringing a flick knife and some hammers into school, someone getting their cheek singed with a bunsen burner in a semi-racist attack, a fight where someone got stabbed (one of my mates was taking bets on the outcome, and rather unfairly got expelled just for that) - oh and someone making shit bombs and throwing them off the roof onto the playground. We used to play this game where we'd bunk off down the park and throw bits of masonry at each other, lobbing them at the tops of trees and waiting for them to bounce down the branches, seeing how long we had the guts to stand underneath them, before legging it or getting brained. Just before we left, some kid went mad and got put in a home, one got into smack, but I really clearly remember the time someone brought a rabbit in for a test experiment (nothing lethal or even painful, observing what types of food it went for in various outdoor locations) - and someone 'liberated' it.

But in any case, I knew tonnes of working class kids who wanted to become biomolecular scientists and the like, and who thought NWA and Public Enemy were 'sad'. A lot of the kids worked hard and got very good grades. Also, I briefly went out with a girl from a public school, which was a bit of a laugh, she was really nice!

John Doe
26-07-2006, 04:45 PM
[QUOTE=Gabba Flamenco Crossover]See your point John, but...

a/ Any thread debating the merits of state vs. private schooling is going to spend a lot of time talking about class - it's unavoidable.

b/ I think this thread is distinguished by an emphasis on individual narratives rather than generalizations. There are horror stories from both sides of the state/fee-paying divide and plenty of questioning traditional middle class asumptions on education ...

No-one is using either middle or working class as a pejoritive term.


I accept your point totally- I wasn't saying that class should be taboo, nor that it was being used as a perjorative turn, just that there seems to be a lot of unspoken stereotypical assumptions underpinning some of the attitudes/expressions I've read in this thread that surprised me, given that I find many posters on this site to be more intelligent and original in their approach than most. Class is a valid, but ultimately extremely blunt and limited, tool of analysis - albeit one that is unavoidable when it comes to looking at certain matters (education obviously being one of them).

As for this:
Generally, middle class parents have higher aspirations for their kids than working class ones, and MC kids get better schooling. That's not fair but it's a fact

Hmmm, well, there's a statment. I, and many of my state school, council estate-raised mates boasted parents that were extremely ambitious for their children in terms of education and achievement, while there have been a fair few lumpen bourgeoise parents I've come across. A debate like this one could run and run... ;)

diaspora
26-07-2006, 04:47 PM
but you know what they say, what doesn't kill you......leaves you crippled for life. A lot of bullied dissensians - I wonder why?

Me: two comprehensives (nice and very nice) and a grammar school (tiresome), mild verbal harassment due to being the new kid and/or posher than most, but nothing heavy.

Slothrop
26-07-2006, 04:50 PM
This is not to say that my experiences are somehow more valid or typical than others posted here, but just to issue a request: can we please drop these Daily Mail-esque stereotypes of working class bad/middle class good?
To be honest, the assumption that they're entirely homogenous in any way seems pretty far off the mark. (I keep meaning to start a 'define middle class' thread when I have a boring afternoon.) There seems to be some equation of middle class and private schooling, for instance, which from my experience is a leetle inaccurate...

fwiw, I wen't to my local village primary and then a state boys grammar - again one with some delusions of granduer. All okay, good times and bad times like most other people. I agree with the comments on boys' schools although I seem to have survived more or less intact.

foret
26-07-2006, 05:03 PM
hear hear. mine was a very middle-class school and it was absolutely brutal to some kids. a living hell for me for my first two years, too.

subtext=middle class kids can be hard too?

ime, having experience of a shit primary school (soon to be closed by the council i think) and a private school, there isn't much comparison between 8 yr olds stabbing each other in the eye with pointy stationery and relentless low level psychological torture (thankfully i got none of the former and less of the latter than some others)

Lichen
26-07-2006, 05:04 PM
with apologies..

mms
26-07-2006, 05:13 PM
Can I just make an intervention here? I'm really quite surprised at how much cultural stereotyping seems to be going on in these posts - ie 'middle class' = calm, civilised, loving, goal orientated, ambition-enhancing, nurturing etc; 'working class' a constantly brutal (and brutalising) affair. This as much from those who went to comprehensives as those who went to fee paying schools. I'm sorry but I find this sort of thinking unbearably cliched and tiresome. Speaking as someone who grew up on a council estate and went to the local comprehensive school I wanna say my childhood was on the whole happy, fulfilled and positive. Not every council estate is like a war zone - in fact, more often than not, they are peopled by decent working class people who just happen be unable to afford to get on the property ladder; my comprehensive was full of enthusiastic and committed teachers who were more than willing to provide encouragement should you show any sign of ability/ambition/interest etc. I grew up in what was then an industrial town in the north west of england (it's now distinctly post-industrial) and my peers at school were coal miners sons, factory workers daughters etc - ie solidly working class, so there was little that was (to employ the stereotype) leafy or middle-class about the institution I went to. Like everyone else I experienced a bit of bullying, some rough times, there were some real nutters in my school etc, but nothing really to report. By contrast, many of my middle class friends who went to fee-paying schools (some distinctly prestigious) have regaled me with real horror stories of the bullying and brutalization they suffered, the ignorant indifference of their teachers etc etc etc. A couple of unforuntate souls I know have, due to drugs and mental problems, dropped off the map altogether in the most dramatic and saddening fashion.

This is not to say that my experiences are somehow more valid or typical than others posted here, but just to issue a request: can we please drop these Daily Mail-esque stereotypes of working class bad/middle class good?

dunno the private school i went to was alot more brutal than the state schools alot more institutionalised bullying, alot more tiers of aggression, lines etc alot more violence from teachers with the policy of the school being - 'if you don't like it you can take your kids elsewhere'

infinite thought
26-07-2006, 05:25 PM
I'm shocked at the number of all-boys schools on show here. I didn't think there were that many of 'em left...weird victorian morality....

I went to my local Wiltshire comp, like Billie Piper, tho not the same one (sadly). It was quite good, though I'm vague on the details mostly cos I was always reading instead of paying attention to what was going on beyond that. The co-ed aspect was lots of fun, exchanging field corners for bike sheds given the rural context, heh heh heh.

Didn't really like the academic side of school until A levels tho, when I had the revelation that learning things could really be quite exciting - a couple of good and encouraging teachers really made all the difference and probably sorted me out for the glittering academic career I currently enjoy...hmm!

Socially it was pretty mixed, ethnically a lot less so (two black kids in the whole school!). But that's the countryside for you. I got angry when it came to applying for university and virtually all my bright working-class friends were put off (money, mostly) while the middle-class dullards didn't even consider <i>not</i> going. Some of the former went a couple of years later after saving up and did really well, so it wasn't all bad, though I'm still militant that HE should be free.

I've never been friends with anyone who went to private school and enjoyed it, tho my mates who went and had a shit time are some of the most interesting people I've ever met (thank God they survived it).

Lichen
26-07-2006, 05:29 PM
I've never been friends with anyone who went to private school and enjoyed it .

That's cos anyone who really thrived at a public school is basically a descedent of Flashman.

infinite thought
26-07-2006, 05:37 PM
um, what's Flashman?

Lichen
26-07-2006, 05:51 PM
sorry. if you can be bothered, look here:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashman

infinite thought
26-07-2006, 06:36 PM
ah! I generally like cads, tho not posh ones.

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
26-07-2006, 06:43 PM
ah! I generally like cads, tho not posh ones.

Definitely prefer them fictional, no matter what their social strata.

infinite thought
26-07-2006, 09:05 PM
There are some nice cads on this board! The foppish-rakish-debonair continuum can be a good thing....

gek-opel
26-07-2006, 10:30 PM
Cads IRL merely=utter bastards tho, surely? Tho the image of cad (often a "glam" mask) is quite a seductive one...

owen
28-07-2006, 01:13 PM
http://www.chrisbeetles.com/img/pictures/artists/Searle_Ronald/K3366-b.jpg

(can i just point out btw that i wasn't suggesting that anyone who didn't go to a comprehensive had an easy life? i thought i implied that, but it seems not)