A Parents View

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Cheryl
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A Parents View

Postby Cheryl » Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:19 pm

Few parents of St J & St V pupils have contributed to the BB. Perhaps like me, they haven't wanted to open up this particular can of worms.

Coming to the site finally and spending some hours reading the posts, I ended up feeling utterly drained. Like many I suspect, I did not know the full extent of bullying and intimidation being meted out by some of those we trusted with our children.

My response is a maelstrom of confusing emotions - guilt followed by self justification - anger at the teachers involved - compassion for those who suffered and admiration for their courage in bringing it out now - repugnance at the venom some of them exhibit - recognition of the paranoia bred by the schools lack of transparency.

The 'sins of the fathers ' are truly born by the children, generation after generation. No parent starts with a clean sheet. We all think we are 'normal' and that we will avoid making the mistakes our parents made. It seems that all we do is make different ones and get to recognise it only when it is too late.

I now recognise that my personal insecurity allowed Mr Debenham to persuade me that my childrens problems were entirely my fault and had nothing to do with the teaching staff. We crossed swords many times over decisions that were taken and I was livid at the arrogant attitude that the biggest problems that boys had, was their mothers ,and his dismissiveness of the value of home life.

At the time, my husband and I were in the SES which even in retrospect I value as an experience despite some major reservations - most particularly over their attitude to emotions and the feminine nature.
I was able to take what I felt was of value in the Advaita Philosophy and reject the more bizarre overlay with deep scepticism. With a good tutor, the philosophy sessions were illuminating and uplifting, with a limited tutor they were hell and we assuaged our frustration over a few beers at home.

I tried to keep my negativity about SES from the children on the basis that it would stop them coming fresh to their own experiences and make it harder for them to accept the authority of their teachers.As a family we were used to testing ideas out ourselves rather than accepting them wholesale from any authority. In the early years of SES my tutor encouraged this as it is the only way to turn information into understanding through personal experience.

What I now realise is just what pressures this put on the children. If I got to a point where what was negative for me, outweighed what was positive, I knew I could leave the SES but they did not have the same degree of self determinism over their situation. The rigidity, repression and inescapability of the situation sat particularly heavily on the fiercely independent one . I don't think we had enough home time for his feelings to be expressed in anything other than tempestuous outbursts directed against his parents. We put it down to hormones ! Actually I needed to listen more carefully to what was behind these outbursts rather than react defensively to maintain my authority as a parent.

This said, there were positive aspects to the day schools which were not evident in the state schooling available to us. All schools have some able teachers and some inept ones but when violent and abusive behaviour results, the headmaster and the Board of Governors have a duty of care to the children in their care and MUST act to remove the teachers concerned.

This generation more than any other can be helped through alienating and destructive events in their past with society's shift in attitude and with counselling. My generation and my parents generation could only survive by burying these things - something far more long term destructive than the catharsis of the bulletin board. Buried pain and anger must be allowed it's free expression as the first step in healing. Only then can the individual move on. At least now it is being dealt with by our children -- there are many in society who do not even know they have a problem.

As parents we may or may not be allowed to help.

One thing we can do is to take their experiences seriously and really listen and HEAR in a way we might not have been able to at the time.

Alban
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Re: A Parents View

Postby Alban » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:11 pm

Welcome, and thank you for adding your perspective.

Cheryl wrote:I now recognise that my personal insecurity allowed Mr Debenham to persuade me that my childrens problems were entirely my fault and had nothing to do with the teaching staff.


A common theme throughout the schools and the SES - Nothing was ever their fault! As children we were hardly brimming with security either, especially as their teaching methods ensured that any security we had was soon stamped on.

Cheryl wrote:... We crossed swords many times over decisions that were taken and I was livid at the arrogant attitude that the biggest problems that boys had, was their mothers ,and his dismissiveness of the value of home life.


...yet according to the governors, no complaints were ever received!

Cheryl wrote:...What I now realise is just what pressures this put on the children. If I got to a point where what was negative for me, outweighed what was positive, I knew I could leave the SES but they did not have the same degree of self determinism over their situation.


It is very dangerous to be pedalling this type of "philosophy" to children as young as 4. Children automatically believe that parents know exactly what goes on in school, when in truth they don't. The worst combination however, is when the parents have accepted the same authority and as such are treated like children themselves.

Cheryl wrote:...but when violent and abusive behaviour results, the headmaster and the Board of Governors have a duty of care to the children in their care and MUST act to remove the teachers concerned.


...rather than try and gloss over the whole shooting match...agreed.

So have things changed, or are they still displaying exactly the same arrogance that they always have!

Cheryl wrote:...One thing we can do is to take their experiences seriously and really listen and HEAR in a way we might not have been able to at the time.


There are many ex-pupils on here that will not divulge their identity because of the fear of the effect it would have on their families. If more parents could be persuaded to look at this BB and read quotes like this, it may help the wounds to heal. No parent intends to hurt their child, but pride often gets in the way of serious discussion on the subject of childhood. Similarly, children rarely want to hurt their parents, they just want understanding.

As you quite rightly say, we all make mistakes (even the teachers!), but it takes more than a little courage to admit them or to forgive others for the same. While many on this board are in the process of coming to terms with their history, the governors are doggedly trying to defend their negligence...That's enough to make anyone angry...and it is hardly a good advertisement for the current schools!

sugarloaf
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Postby sugarloaf » Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:04 pm

Thanks for making this post Cheryl - very few parents have posted here.

I hope the Inquirys validation of much of whats been said here by former pupils will mark a turning point - where parents, those who are willing, can start to really question why all this happened. I think the answers may well not only be illuminating, but hopefully allow some of the damage and dislocation within families caused by the influence of the SES to start to be undone.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:15 pm

Thanks for your very courageous and moving post, Cheryl.

Planet
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Postby Planet » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:28 pm

Mmmmm !
Last edited by Planet on Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:50 pm

Planet wrote:I believe most parents of the schools thought they were doing the best for their kids and many wouldn't want to upset them today by telling them otherwise.

Maybe it would be worth taking the risk of upsetting them, at least then they would know the truth of the matter. They might even prefer to know rather than be ignorant over it. It could be one of their last opportunites to make peace with their children, and have a more honest and close relationship.

We only have one life. We may as well do our best to get it right.

ross nolan
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ses damage control

Postby ross nolan » Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:33 am

Not being a parent I suppose I have little to offer in regard to this aspect of the SES -- I am however a son and had to deal with my mother being sucked into a quite similar (in many 'operational' ways) organization ,namely the Jehovah's Witnesses, and only years after her death did I find a book by an ex 'insider' who had devoted his life to that cult and believed the whole spiel they sold their victims. He 'saw the light' one day and got out but admitted the mental and emotional hold they still had over him years later --( coming out of a cult is not unlike getting off an addiction to drugs or cigarettes in that a dependence is created and used to keep you beholdent to the continued supply of the 'stuff' -- religion as the 'opiate of the people' is much more than a trite phrase

I wonder if the rise of cults does not coincide with the breakdown of marriages, close ties like 'village' life, un extended families and similar social connections that used to provide a feeling of belonging and security for people that they now turn to cults and 'isms' to replace. )

I wish I had found that book before my mother passed away -- as it was I was working interstate when she died and a lot of things got left unsaid -- I did come down by train only two weeks before (26 hours of travel in two days ) and have good memories of at least the final part of her life -- I think she blamed herself and her devotion to her religion for some family estrangement -- as Matthew says 'you only have one life so get it right'

(If nothing else this shows that Matthew has not swallowed the "karma' and multiple reincarnations pushed by SES !)


I think it is always better to face the fear than to let it grow in the dark - as for example not wanting to confront your children's resent from their schooling .

Regret is harder to live with than fear.

Ross.
Skeptic

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:34 pm

I agree that it is better for you to speak your truth than to bottle it up, even if they cannot hear or choose not to.

I think one of the difficulties in this area is the anger that is finally being expressed after being held down for so many years. Many have talked about difficulties expressing anger and dealing with confrontation. Their parents might also have difficulty expressing anger and confrontation after many years in the SES or even simply due to their own upbringings.

The more we hear the parents point of view the more we will see that we were all deceived by what came alongside membership of the SES as well as education at the day schools. When we can be more specific about what went wrong and can understand how it went wrong, we can be effective in fighting it.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:25 pm

Bumping this thread to show it as a contrast to Elizabeth Edmunds new post.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:18 am

and another bump to keep it next to Elizabeth's post.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:08 pm

And anudder bump

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:10 pm

bumpity bump

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bella
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Postby bella » Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:19 pm

Does it have to stay next to Elizabeth's post forever? We might wanna look at setting up a roster, then.

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Cheryl
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Postby Cheryl » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am

Knew Elizabeth vaguely....kind, sincere person always pouring oil on troubled waters...obviously still trying.I just wonder what it takes for the penny to drop that the cracks are too big to paper over(mixing my metaphors I know).The complacency is demeaning .When is the report going to be taken seriously? Perhaps Elizabeth could bring it up with her husband?

mgormez
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Postby mgormez » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:18 am

I understand the inital bump but I am sure SES minded folks can find another thread as well they like in the next week or so and then bump it back to attention for days.

I can't say then to them it is not a good idea while I leave critics alone. It would get quite messy when we all start to bump to Kingdom come (almost sounds kinky).
Mike Gormez


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