Just discovered this! From ex pupil of Girls school

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
shonarose
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Postby shonarose » Wed Feb 09, 2005 11:01 pm

Hi Grimep

Don't worry, I don't feel picked on by your response to my post - at least you have read and considered it carefully.

However, its isnt a 'line', it is something I believe and felt moved to say. Yes there was pressure, constant reinforcement of SES principles, and little opportunity for overt rejection of these, but that didnt mean that we couldnt retain our mental independence.

Of course I can only speak for the classes of girls in St James closest to mine, each of us can only relate our own experience. But I was not alone in being quite cynical and unconvinced by the SES philosophy from a young age. We all used to discuss how illogical it was!

This is exactly why when some girls did join the FG in the 6th form it was such a massive shock to the rest of us. But yes, even I could feel momentarily the attraction of joining the FG - but this was the lure of cozy acceptance, not SES ideology.

Anyway, you're right there is too much 'he said, she said'......

but if you are the same grimep who is on the yahoo group then you are well aware that I am not a 'stooge'.

Shona

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Feb 09, 2005 11:25 pm

there still seems to be a gulf of difference between the schools aim for boys and girls.

from the st james school websites

girls
Girls are not encouraged to compete against each other, but rather to work together, delighting in each others? achievements as much as their own. A St James girl will be industrious, open hearted and courageous. She will be encouraged to develop strength in self-discipline and the capacity to hold firmly to her intelligent understanding of right principle in all situations.


oh how touchy feely that is

not for the boys
character which we believe are essential if a boy is to play a leading role in his family, community or wider society. The need for courageous and ethical leaders in the world is both obvious and paramount to all our futures, and my aim as the new headmaster of St James is to help any boy grow into a leadership role appropriate to his capacities and potential. This requires him to be given opportunities to achieve more than he thinks is possible, to gain a real vision for his life, and to learn how to deliver it practically. The philosophical man without practicality is incomplete and wasted.


and i guess part of this having "practicality" is why boys get

adventure and excitement ? ocean yacht racing, trips into the wilderness in Africa, parachuting and exercises through the Army cadet force



meanwhile the girls learn to host dinner partys, sew and do community service.

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

Postby grimep » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:31 am

shonarose wrote:but if you are the same grimep who is on the yahoo group then you are well aware that I am not a 'stooge'.
Shona


Yes, I didn't mean to imply you were one.

Also to Sescaped, I didn't mean to come over abrasively when asking where you are coming from in terms of not wanting to be labelled as a victim.. and your recollections are yet another painful to read testimony on experiences at the school, thanks for sharing them.

I guess perhaps you (both?) felt patronised by the way that concern for what went on at the girls' schools was expressed. As we (boys & girls) were kept very seperate we are to a certain extent in the dark about our different experiences, so I personally would like to hear more recollections from the girls side.

My mother was a housemistress at a couple of top girls' boarding schools for many years so I do have a small bit of insight into the issues that affect schoolgirls at various stages in their development. I'm not saying you are all a load of fragile little flowers and butter-wouldn't-melt etc, but emotional issues seemed to be very common and there were always girls who needed an extra bit of understanding or support - There would be the usual distant, uncaring career-obssessed Tory parents. There would always be at least 4 - 6 girls suffering from anorexia nervosa in any given year group, which needs proper understanding and help to tackle. It takes good, skilled teachers to be able to deal with these issues. Given the uncaring harsh climate at the SES girls' schools, especially under that awful Caldwell woman, I seriously doubt any such support was available. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Still, my main interest is really in the possible grooming through indoctrination (not brainwashing, they are different concepts) of girls who went on to marry older SES men. If its all a product of my fevered imagination then great. Or if it's irrelevant in that these women went on to live very happy fulfilled (in normal society's terms) lives, then great also. Whatever. I just feel it is a topic that needs proper investigation.

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

Postby grimep » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:53 am

I mean, turn it on its head... how about if the SES had actually based its doctrine on a hypothetical hierarchical matriarchal eastern religion/philosophy/cult, and 20 year old boys were being married off to provide batty old spinsters with children and servitude because some loony up a hill in the Himalayas said that was the way it should be.

Sounds insane doesn't it?

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

Postby grimep » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:44 pm

a different guest wrote:

The need for courageous and ethical leaders in the world is both obvious and paramount to all our futures




God, they're not still trotting that guff about leaders are they? As Nick [surname removed at user's request] has stated in his post in another thread, "Many, myself included, left ill equipped to deal with an outside world we had been conditioned to reject. Many, myself included, were serious under- achievers, despite high levels of intelligence. Many, it would appear had problems with relationships"

I can echo those observations.

sescaped
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:36 pm

Postby sescaped » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:49 pm

Yep, im inconsistant - your right grimep - and its a source of a lot of personal confusion for me at the moment - its hard to accept that you have been the victim of someone elses crazy philosophical agenda - i suppose my objection to the "victim" status is that a majority of the stj girls have found the strength and resources to reject what they were taught and to find their own way. The ses does have a damaging effect on women - and yes people were/ are? pushed into marriage - and this is unacceptable.
Last edited by sescaped on Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

grimep
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Postby grimep » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:55 pm

sescaped wrote:Yep, im inconsistant - your right grimep -


Sorry Sescaped, I shouldn't have made an issue of it, apologies.

sescaped
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:36 pm

Postby sescaped » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:12 pm

no apology needed - to be challenged constructively is useful!

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

Postby T.S » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:30 pm

Wow! Just visited site again and am amazed how well attended it is.
Some questions to answer and things to say.
First of all hello again and cant emphasise how amazing it is to finally have these conversations.
I get nervous reading peoples attacks on each other. Shouldnt we be more careful to be supportive, surely none of us want to experience not being believed or trusted again. And as for the comparisons lets steer clear and exchange differences. It was shit for everyone- we grew up in a cult for god's sake! Our childhood their was a strange, scary, fearful and ultimatley cruel one. Each and everyone of us will have different scars and whilst we find comfort in having a shared experience of that awful place we are still alone and unique in our private experience and private response to it.

I said in my first post how I suffer from depression and panic attacks, that is what I can share with you guys- anonymously but to anyone who knows me I also come across as a very strong woman who is the artistic director of a successful theatre company and is a very jovial person. So please lets not measure distress. Lets not use distress to be believed either- what happened was wrong despite its consequences. I'm sure we all aim to be less distressed not to keep hold of it to be believed.

Re: other people in my year- some have joined SES but others, I believe were just not bothered with fighting back. I have found this frustrating lack of fight and in all fields of life but I do believe that what comes across as lazy mindedness is probably a deepset fear. I'm sure all the full on thinkers, fighters and personalities on this site were at one point made an example out of for the others' benefit.

Re: Grooming -yes- yuck! At 16 a dinner was organised with older men from the SES. I didnt get it immediatley even though there was an exact number of these weasels to match the girls, Someone asked why one man who we knew wasn't there and the answer as if it was obvious-'Hes married'. One girl got drunk and found herself in the back of a car ( consentually whilst very pissed) then I got asked out by this man in his 30's who was our chaperone in our school holiday in Italy.

Far from being a stepford wife one ex classmate is commander in Iraq- as boasted by that awful St James magazine Spectrum she clearly went the Tory( now new labour) route of the school- so not a stepford wife but not someone whose alleigance I would want to seek.

Was anyone else told to tell their parents that they should vote for Thatcher?

Surreal...

By the way I mentioned Janet Murray- anyone out there know her.

The way we were pursuaded to join the foundation group was utterly insidious. We had done the sixth form play and it was great fun. Two young men ( from ses ofcourse) directed it and did a really good job. We did Shakespeare in 1920's costume which was Oh so rebellious! Sheila Caldwell hated it tried to change the costumes and insisted we did not raise our legs whilst dancing the chalston. Janet Murray actually took our side and supported our rebellion. Rosenberg and Caldwell both left in the interval as we kicked our legs as high as possible. ( despite her warning tale of a medieval rape case where the judge asked the victim to walk to illustrate why she was raped- she swung her hips!) it was a very exciting time, the sweet taste of group rebellion, freedom and finally support by our form teacher against the dogma of the school.
Now here goes,
Monday back at school- we are all asked how we felt about the theatre experience and we all spoke how happy we were. She then went on to say how this is the feeling of the SES. That that feeling is accessible to us throughout our adult lives and we should really consider joining the foundation group. Now I had rebelled constantly through the secondary school- I found happiness, belonging and respect for the first time there- in theatre- I believed her- for a day- I nearly joined! Thank god i woke up and realised the buzz was the theatre show.

I guess I'm saying that there powers of pursuasion were very sophisticated, were were so young- those who were sucked in we can afford to have some compassion for and not believe that we were weak in our moments of conformity too.

T.S x

shonarose
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Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:35 pm

Postby shonarose » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:28 pm

Grimep you are right ? what moved me to write initially was what comes across as the patronising tone of some of the stuff about women/girls, and the fact that it seems to be mainly written by men, plus the assumption that the reason more women have not posted is that they all turned into SES baby machines.

As for the marriages between ex-pupils and older SES men, I am really confused on this issue. I consider the parents of those girls to have been seriously at fault. It would never have happened without their collusion and encouragement and it seemed to only happen in families which were SES-entrenched.

This accesses some very bitter and deep feelings in me which I can only interpret as resentment at those girls whose families were high-up in SES - it seemed that they received favouritism throughout our schooldays (even when they were badly behaved), and then betrayed the rest of us and destroyed our trust in each other by joining the hated FG in the 6th Form. I?m not too sure that they can be painted as victims - 99% of them are probably quite happy with their smug and cloistered lives. I am ashamed of these feelings but they are quite strong!

On reading T.S.?s post and others from more recent times it becomes clear that the issues are less black-and-white nowadays and due to the softening of some of the wilder extremes of the school, pupils are actually more in danger of falling for the SES line. Also, the active matchmaking to such an extent is new and shocking.

But I still believe the real emphasis of an enquiry should be on the schools? actual treatment of children, not to what extent we were duped into believing the SES philosophy, as this is impossible to quantify and will vary greatly between individuals (according to age when joined & length of exposure, strength of character, peer group, home life, form teacher, and so on?).

T.S. ? not Thatcher, in my day there were a couple of SES MPs in the Liberal party I think?.

StVSurvivor
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Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 8:04 pm

Postby StVSurvivor » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:56 pm

shonarose wrote:in my day there were a couple of SES MPs in the Liberal party I think?.


There still is today - Roger Pincham, Liberal Democrat MP, and Chairman of St James Governors since the schools were founded.

Shout
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Postby Shout » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:57 pm

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Last edited by Shout on Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

gadflysdreams
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Postby gadflysdreams » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:24 pm

I don't think Roger Pincham was ever actually an MP? Does anybody know for certain? I thought he had been Chairman of the Liberal Party.

StVSurvivor
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Postby StVSurvivor » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:46 pm

Apologies. You're quite right Gadfly. Roger Pincham was in fact Chairman of the Liberal Party between 1979 and 1982, but still remains a Party member.

Shout
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Postby Shout » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:39 pm

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