Sunday, 7 August 2011

Storytelling Sunday - An outstanding year

Nearly three years ago, things went very wrong at school for J. He went up to a good ( allegedly!) old school. He arrived in year 7 with a top academic scholarship so we know we didn't have to worry on that front. How wrong we were! It was an old school but still trading on old reputation, unfortunately.

The root of the problem was a family, or perhaps the remove-the-opposition-at-all- cost Competitive Mum and her son Precious.

Precious came from a different area and thus diffrent primary school. We knew of them from competing in county chess competition. We took chess competition as something that J did, some he won, quite a few he loss. But at county level, he was champion. At old school, Competitive Mum confessed that they were always looking for ways to eliminate J. Please! Precious wasn't even runner up!

At the beginning of year 8, Competitive Mum started to put her plan into action, a barrage of, J took Precious' school shoes and hid it, J threw banana at Precious, J was nasty to boy A, J said something to B...all carefully documented and emailed to the demon house master. We paid for new shoes and dry cleaning. Though J's blazer was similarly smeared in banana, J chose to keep his side of the story to himself.

We believed that the school would be capable of even-handedly handling a group of 12 year old boys. We also believed that boys need to learn to resolve some of their differences themselves. We were wrong. This school do not do even handed or fair. I didn't think J was completely guilt free in all these episodes, six of one and half a dozen of the other, sprang to mind. Old school appeared to have a soft spot for butter-would-not-melt Precious.

We were summoned to the house master, emails went back and forth, J was sent up to the head master. "This can't go on," so I searched for another school. At the end of Year 8, we moved to Cambridge. We appreciated that you might get the same kind of family again at new school but how the school handled these situations is key. I am glad we did.

Whilst the episodes above prompted the move, we were not entirely happy with the schooling. A maths teacher told us, eyes refusing to meet ours,"Even though he came top of the set, I gave him a C because he didn't do any of the extended work I left at the back of the class." We would have let it slide and hope J would be more motivated later.

He is a different boy, thriving at a school with inspiring teachers and inspiring students to boot. This is a layout I have done to celebrate his achievements.

I wrote, "The jury is still out on that hair but undisputed is how well you've done this year. You have even taken the time to write out your scores for me so that I will hear it first. Your form prize on Speech day was richly deserved".

Are you storytelling with Sian ? If not, why not ? You will find more great stories at her blog.


Sian said...

Oh Ifa! What a story - one which deserves to be told so that this kind of bullying is talked about and dealt with. Bringing them up to know what is right amidst that kind of thing is hard work but your patient loving support really shows! I love your layout, being able to work these things out on a page really helps doesn't it?

Thanks for the story today Ifa

debs14 said...

What a shame poor J had to go through all that in his first year. Just goes to show that a lot of schools rely on past reputation and name and that's just not fair. I am so pleased to hear you found a better school where he will thrive. It would be interesting to know how Precious turns out in the future ....!

Anonymous said...

What an awful experience for your son. It's good news that a change of school has made such a big difference.

Becky said...

I agree with Debs, how sad that J had to put up with that in his first year at secondary school. I am so pleased for him that he is now settled - love your comment about his hair in the layout! My son has had strange hair and come out the other side - he will be 22 next week!

JO SOWERBY said...

oh such a story i commonly hear from friends with children in school. i even remember elements of my own schooling being marred by bullying and innuendo from other children and because i was never good at standing up for myself, they got away with it.
i am so please he is developing his own way and talents at this school and look forward to hearing more his achievements,
jo xxx

Mary B said...

That old school sounds a real horror one, glad you were able to move and find a better place for your son

Jimjams said...

I can't believe how some people manipulate their kids in this way and stir up trouble, and am appalled at how badly the school coped with things. Glad you got him out of there though - and it looks like things will get even better from now on!

Ginger said...

It's unfortunate that children learn this type of bullying from a parent. Your son is lucky to have such supportive and loving parents who have his best interests at heart, he will be the better person for it. Thanks for sharing your story :)

Anonymous said...

Ifa, I'm so glad you were able to change your son's school and that he's thriving at it. Love the layout.

Lizzie said...

Well done you, for not allowing the school to ruin your son's education. It's brave to move your boy to another school - so glad it paid off for him. He must be happier in general, besides achieving so much more at school now.
It's hard when a school does not provide the support or backup that parents and pupils need. It sounds as if you're all much better off with the new school!
Well done to your son, J - it takes courage to start in a new school as one of the only "newbies" in the year group, then do so well. Sounds like he has Guts! (unlike a certain Precious.. poor kid, he doesn't stand much chance of turning out a nice person, does he?). It's sad that our kids do not only have to cope with bullying children, but also bullying parents too!

I like you scrapbook page by the way. The colours are great and the photo is just fab.

Melissa said...

That's quite a story - so glad to hear that J is doing well now!