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".
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