Heads or Tails #4 – Schools

Skittles has started a new meme for every Tuesday called visit her blog for instructions. Basically she gives us a word and we can do whatever we like with it. That can’t be too hard, can it? This week the subject is School appropriately enough as the children return to the halls of learning today.

This is a picture of my school, St. Augustine’s Boarding School for Girls at Ascot Priory, in Berkshire England. It was an Anglo Catholic convent. After the reformation when England became a Protestant country, not acknowledging the Pope, England was no longer Roman Catholic but the state religion was called Anglo Catholic.

The door closest in the picture was the main access into the boarding school, where each term we were dropped off until the next vacation. A place of rejoicing for some, tears for others. Every year a further drawing away from family relationships until at last there were none. A place where you learned to survive.

I spent some time today reading the first chapter of this book . It helped me understand myself a little better and brought a few tears.

The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System

by Nick Duffell

The Making of Them
A remarkable new book which will be essential reading to anyone interested in the nature and culture of the English, their education system, their attitude to children, and the psychological and social effects of sending their sons and daughters away to boarding schools:

A quote taken from the book.

“I was homesick during the whole of my first term at St. Peter’s. Homesickness is a bit like seasickness. You don’t know how awful is it till you get it, and when you do, it hits you right in the top of the stomach and you want to die. The only comfort is that homesickness and seasickness are instantly curable. The first goes away the moment you walk out of the school grounds and the second is forgotten as soon as the ship enters port.”

“Unless you have been to a boarding school when you are very young, it is absolutely impossible to appreciate the delights of living at home. It is almost worth going away because its so lovely coming back. I could hardly believe that I didn’t have to wash in cold water in the mornings or keep silent in the corridors, or say ‘Sir’ to every grown-up man I met, or get flicked with wet towels while naked in the changing room, or eat porridge for breakfast that seemed to be full of little round sheep’s-droppings, or walk all day long in perpetual fear of the long yellow cane that lay on top of the corner-cupboard in the Headmaster’s study.” Roald Dahl. Boarding School Survivors

View more participants in the “Heads or Tails” meme.

12 Responses

  1. The book sounds nice.

    I read your about. Your town sounds wonderful

  2. A lot of people in the books I read go away to boarding schools. And the authors must know what they’re writing about because a lot of the things from the book quote you gave sounded familiar. It’s not a thing I could ever imagine going through, much less surviving. I’m guessing you had a rough time, too?

  3. I have never stayed away while in school, how was your boarding school experience, did you like it?

  4. I think I just might have to pick that book up to read…I went to school with a lot of students who were boarding…I went to private school and for some boarding was considered the norm…I couldn’t imagine being away from my family for so long at such a young age…

  5. Hi Vic,

    Lovely to see a picture of your school.

    Book sounds interesting, too.

    As you know, I went to a boarding school and loved my time there ….

  6. What a beautiful school!

  7. Fascinating quotations. The school campus is beautiful. Yet, and I hate to malign somebody else’s culture: it seems abusive. I don’t understand how those behaviors of the adults were tolerated for, what? Centuries? I apologize for saying that but I can’t tolerate violence.

  8. In answer to the question “Did I like it?” My mother had died, my father worked overseas, he had little choice as he did not want to leave me with relatives. So I accepted in philosophically as my lot, but I consider it an unnatural life. Also I found when I graduated that I had lost contact with the few aunts and cousins I did have as I had not seen them in years. I became a loner in boarding school and have never changed.

  9. Although I have never had a problem with seasickness I did, one time when I was about 8 or 9 years old, get homesick while staying overnight with my cousin and her parents and I was only about 8 miles from home. It was a very tearful night for me and one of pure agony for my uncle who had to get up and toddle off to work that morning. The strange thing there is that I frequently went and spent several weeks at a clip with another aunt and uncle who lived about 130 miles away and never got homesick there. Go figure!

  10. This is all fascinating to me! Thank you for sharing and for your follow-up comment. I was so curious to know if you liked it or not. I’m so sorry that your mother passed away while you were so young.

  11. Incredible school! WOW! I’d be so distracted by the architecture, not sure I’d learn a thing!

  12. The school looks so beautiful. I can’t imagine being away for school though.

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