ST JAMES GIRLS

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
jojo
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:44 am

ST JAMES GIRLS

Postby jojo » Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:20 pm

Reading this site has brought back so many (bad) memories of my time at St James girls school, and so much of what I thought was long in the past actually still affects me today. I can relate to so much of what others have posted of their experiences and had endless sleepless nights. There is so much to say - but where to begin.

In my experience the control exerted was predominantly through psychological tactics rather than physical abuse in the girls school. That said I will never forget an incident in PE in the delightful St Augustus church hall. At about 7-8year olds Mr Southwell was inflicting his usual regime of physical 'education'. Screaming his favourite catch phrase "Which are you Deaf, Dumb or just Damned Disobedient" over and over as we failed to complete 30 star jumps in perfect unison and total silence (all 25 of us) for the 10th time, he hauled up one girl who was particularly struggling. She was the smallest in the class and from how hard she found things generally was probably dyslexic / dyspraxic and in school today would get extra tuition and support - but in St Js she was an easy target. So hauled to the front of the class, Mr S sat on the steps of the stage, put her hand flat on the step and brought his foot down on it hard - his leg was in a plaster cast so it must have been heavy and hurt like hell. I have no memory of the aftermath.

I also remember feeling even at that young age, how inappropriate it was that girls were singled out by him for wearing non-regulation knickers!! ie. big blue pants - sorry should you be looking!?! and if you wore a vest under your airtex top he'd make you take it off at the side of the class - oh the memories of the embarrassment.

The more preferred, less obvious tactic was one of humiliation, undermining and constant pressure. Another favourite of mine was Mr Skinner - music - the one chance maybe of a bit of expression, enjoyment, life that could have been injected into that bleak school experience - no chance. The endless classes singing 'aaaaa', being shouted at to open your mouth wider, forced entry into the class singing competition. How he enjoyed boosting his small little ego by forcing those that couldnt sing to stand up in front of the class and sing. I can sing (not very well), but at the time I had so little confidence and was so scared my voice would shake - and that little glint of pleasure would shine in his eye.
His other little rule was that to sing properly your mouth had to be wide enough to fit 3 fingers in (where did they get that cr*p), unfortunately to for me having a small jaw, that meant opening my mouth, clicking my jaw to the side and stretching it again!!! needless to say I couldnt sing like this, it was painful and I worried my jaw would get stuck! I remember whole lessons spent singing 'aa' with our mouths open the correct amount, and once when I still could'nt do it (or wouldn't as he said) after constantly being picked on I was sent to the loo to spend the rest of the lesson looking in the mirror until I learnt how to open my mouth.

And did that man really have to keep picking his nose...

There are so many examples of the hours of pointless wasted time when as children we should have been learning, exploring, enjoying and developing. Even from 4 we spent hours in blank uninspired classroom practising putting up our calligraphy boards and down and up and down in mind numbing repetition till we could all do it in silence, and then handing out the ink rags, ink wells, the ink, calligraphy pens - all that so we could..... wait for it..... practise drawing a few straight lines. Then oh - lesson over, now lets put it all away - in silence. God how they loved silence, no talking on the stairs, silence in classroom, they even managed to have no playground in the junior school, so no chance of getting a few lung fulls of air and letting off steam like every other school in the country. Afterall chatting can be dangerous, that idle chitter chatter ... and well its hard to control the content so best try to ban it as much as possible...

There is so much to say and so much emotion tied up in those experiences, sorry its a bit long winded but so was 14 years at st james.

daska
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:29 pm
Location: UK

Postby daska » Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:43 pm

Someone explain this please.

Mr Skinner was not violent but nevertheless very unpleasant YET, and I know this to be the case, because when I expressed surprise that he was still teaching at StJ juniors I was assured by non-SES parents (no less) that they really do like him. Is he just so emotionally underdeveloped that he can only function at junior level?

Daniel Gregory
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:12 pm

Postby Daniel Gregory » Wed Mar 02, 2005 6:28 pm

Hello JoJo,

I remember Mr Skinner. Strange man. We had to do the 'aaaaa' thing as well, again and again and again........ I think one of the 'a's in the 'aaaaa' must have been wrong! Perhaps- 'aAaaa' or 'AAAaa'?? Pretty pointless really.

Does anyone remember Mr Bedford? 'Together NO!!!' 'lets try again' 'Together NO!!!' We failed to start singing at precisely the exact millisecond he indicated. He used to clear his nose out with a hanky....every lesson!

By the way JoJo, you were not 'long winded'. Lets have some more memories (if you can stand it).

Danny :new-alien:

Daffy
Moderator
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Postby Daffy » Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:14 pm

Daniel Gregory wrote:Does anyone remember Mr Bedford? ... He used to clear his nose out with a hanky....every lesson!

This is to be contrasted with Noel Skinner, who used to clear his nose with his finger each lesson.

Matthew
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: London

Postby Matthew » Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:11 am

Daffy wrote:
Daniel Gregory wrote:Does anyone remember Mr Bedford? ... He used to clear his nose out with a hanky....every lesson!

This is to be contrasted with Noel Skinner, who used to clear his nose with his finger each lesson.

:rofl: !!!

...whilst he made us chant those bizarre Chaucer songs, eg:-

Somer est e comen in, loudeth sing Cookoo,
Bullock farteth, cow cavorteth,
and bring the wood anew....sing cookoo, sing cookoo

And then there was "the perfect prayer" of course - in sanskrit:

Poornamada
Poornamidam
Poornaat
Poornaasya
Poornamaadaaya
Poornamaa-waa-washishyatei
Oom Shanti Shanti Shanti

Amazing some of the things you remember when you think about it.

Oh and don't get me started on that f...ing Sanskrit alpahabet we were forced to endlessly chant.

And that poor old sod Arthur Farndell trying to teach us ancient Greek. I heard he was having to learn most of what he taught us within hours of him entering the class-room.

....what a seriously weird place :crazyeyes:

chrisdevere
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Location: Battersea
Contact:

Postby chrisdevere » Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:46 pm

Jo and Mathew.

I remember lots of theose memories! Caligraphy boards and silence struck a particular chord with me.

Mathem I had forgotten all about the weird chaucerian songs! But could never forget Farndell having had him beat me virtually everyday for four years!

It really is like a black comedy! Maytbe I should write a screenplay!

Shame it was us who the joke was on though!
Christopher de Vere
chrisdevere@hotmail.com

grimep
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:47 pm

Postby grimep » Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:29 pm

chrisdevere wrote:

Mathem I had forgotten all about the weird chaucerian songs! But could never forget Farndell having had him beat me virtually everyday for four years!


If you had to guess, how many times do you reckon Farndell hit you? Counting individual strokes? I reckon it could be at least 4,000.

jojo
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:44 am

Postby jojo » Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:38 pm

daska wrote:Mr Skinner - Is he just so emotionally underdeveloped that he can only function at junior level?


Clearly. I remember he used to take us girls in the senior school all those years ago, but was unable to control us!! so had to have our form teacher sit in too to keep order. We used to imagine how he'd get on teaching in a class in a tough inner city comp...

Clara
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 4:34 pm

Postby Clara » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:33 pm

Oh yes! Does anyone remember that magnificent triumph of song writing....'pull it looooord! pull it! Looooord. The Golden sto....o..o..ppa! !'
or
Holy is gowinda! The farter of all!

Just breathtakingly inspired.
Clara

daska
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:29 pm
Location: UK

Postby daska » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:48 pm

I remember singing holy is govinda to my cat.

he hated it too

daska
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:29 pm
Location: UK

Postby daska » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:51 pm

actually just had another flaaaaaashbaaaaaaak... who stopped to breathe...!

at least in st james you could sing in a register vaguely suitable for your own voice, in SES if you were a woman you sang soprano and if you couldn't you weren't trying hard enough and therefore would never become one with the Atman...

T.S
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:58 am

Postby T.S » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:22 pm

Oh my God! Sorry Oh my Gowinda-with my prayer hands up high!
I remember all those awful songs. I still giggle to myself when i think of Pull it Lord let out reality! What a piece of composition. Poor Noel- i felt quite sorry for him as this nervous nerd married to Jane!
I couldnt sing for toffee- i got so nervous having to sing infront of the class- tell me fair ladies- that nothing came out and my lips were shaking uncontrollably.
Yes, poornamidum etc- why oh why wont they leave - its worse than having an advert jingle stuck in your head.
I had to learn to sing again as i work in theatre and found it such an emotional experience at first- but now I love it. I have been known to sing Pull it Lord and so on whilst stuck in traffic to my partner who hates it too. Maybe it really is the worst piece of music to ever be composed?
Its good to laugh again.

BoeingDriver
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:55 am

Postby BoeingDriver » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:48 pm

daska wrote:I remember singing holy is govinda to my cat.

he hated it too


My wife thinks that's very funny.

But, being cat people ourselves we think that maybe you should remove that post just in case someone from the RSPCA sees it and has you up on cruelty charges!!!!!!!!! ;-)

Matthew
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: London

Postby Matthew » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:55 pm

T.S wrote:Maybe it really is the worst piece of music to ever be composed?

And I think this honour actually goes to MacLaren himself for 'composing' "Holy is Gowinda".
Or was it him that penned "Thou has't put a golden stopper into his mouth..." etc ?
Can't remember if they were different songs or not, my memory is slightly hazy after 25+ years. :scrambleup:

Nietzsche
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:17 pm

Postby Nietzsche » Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:38 am

I feel positively deprived - I have not sung "holy is gowinda", nor have I chanted meaningless Sanskrit prayers. I have missed those special nuances which make St. James so...."special". I feel incomplete as a human being..........Am I a terrible person?


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