a resource for parents
Firstly, I would like to remind readers that i'm not telling you to do anything, let you child skip school or otherwise disrupt anyone. I am only informing you on my experience and perspective on the UK educational system very briefly. This is not an in depth analysis of all the problems of UK schools and is not very in depth. View my website for an explanation of my feelings: https://sites.google.com/view/i-am-awake/home.
When I began secondary school, which I still attend, I became depressed and lost all my friends (too late for sympathies because i'm OK now). You are introduced to a harsh and unfair environment in which you are forced to learn. As explained on my site, your parents can be fined up to £2500 and jailed for 3 months if you do not attend school. This unfair punishment has been the only thing keeping me at school these past years. However school is very comparable to prison, you are forced to be there for a number of hours, you do not learn much and you are exposed to all manner of pain and disruption.
In my first month at the school, I was given a lot of homework, which was very easy. It was only designed to keep me occupied instead of thinking for myself. The majority of the work given to me in and out of school was irrelevant to my everyday life and will probably never be mentioned again by me, unless for a test. This curriculum shows how the small percentage are brainwashing every child in the UK simultaneously; the teachings are only designed to make you clever enough to work for the people controlling you, and not to help you or for your benefit.
The next month I was intimidated into giving up money for some older students; it took me and my remaining primary school friends the full 45 minute lunchtime to get away from them peacefully and near enough a 'supervising' teacher that they couldn't extort us. In time, we learned that classrooms in the creative subjects are usually left open to students and there we have remained during break and lunchtimes for the years to come.
In other cases, I have seen drugs, knives and phones at school, I have been threatened multiple times and only lost my depression in the summer of my year 8 to 9 transition as a result. This demonstrates how a poor school environment hinders rather than educates students. At this point, you might ask why I never reported these incidents officially. The simple answer is I was too scared. To 'grass up' or 'snake' another student would most likely get them expelled and me targeted by all their friends and associates. So nothing happened.
Sure, in my classes I learnt many things of which, almost all is unhelpful to the jobs and adversities I can foresee in my life. The only subjects I can get on board with are the ones relevant to the world around me. I use maths every day, geography helps me to understand the world and physics explains the science behind it all. I am so serious about this that these are the A-Levels I will take. Most time spent at school however is wasted. for at least 3 hour per fortnight for the last 11 years, I have been taught in RE about fictions of old that some still believe in. This is the greatest waste of time as I comprehended religion from the first lesson: A lie we tell ourselves to feel better about ourselves. I do apologise to and religious readers and to my religious friends who I still care for. I don't hate a specific belief, I simply disagree with the entire idea of God.
In French, I spent 9 years, two hours a week 'learning' the language. I still can't string a sentence together. I filled only two A4 pages in my English book in an entire term of year 10. I can't remember any historical event in detail, despite 9 years of 3 hours a fortnight of History lessons. You can see where i'm going with this.
The school is not properly equipped. I recorded my music GCSE composition on an iPhone. Here;s a conundrum for you: There are not enough computers for all music students to work in the same room yet each student must be supervised by a music teacher at all times. I had to pay £120 to do my compulsory geography field studies. The computers we use for Computer Science and few other subjects. Our library (LRC) is not open after school. There is only seating for under 50 students in the Learning Resource Centre in a school of over 1000 students. Finally, my favourite fact/joke is that it is a maths specialist school which does not offer a further maths GCSE course.
I hope you now understand why I hate school and the degree to which it is compulsory, open you eyes to the lie you are being fed. Feel free to share this post onwards and thank you for reading. If ever you feel the need to send me an angry message I will link you back to this post. I will try my best to respond to any replies you give. Stay safe!
Thank you for contributing to the forum.
Your post deserves a fuller response than I can give right now, and I will return to is tomorrow.
I get where you are coming from although I think there is probsbly a differrence between yourself, your bad experiences/negative feelings towards school and someone suffering from anxiety who cannot actually get to school. Not all those who refuse to go to school actually dislike it, it is far more complex than that. But you are also right that some who have been bullied or have a negative experince find the school does not understand and so school refusal can set in.
Is there any teacher (or welfare support person) who you feel you engage better with or trust, who you could share what you have shared with us? The school needs to know how you are feeling. Some teachers might not realise and just need to hear it from a student like yourself It might also help others who are feeling similar to you.
It sounds like your school is very big and the bigger the school,the more impersonal they become. Schools do need to be so much smaller and class sizes small so that those like yourself can feel connected and even direct more of your learning yourself. There are some smaller schools where students do enjoy attending and some students don't mind larger schools, but you are certainly not alone in feelings of isolation, frustration and lack of learning anything of significance. You might find, however, that in years to come you look back and find some things you have learnt do have significance later on. Learning a language can be a wonderful experience, so it is a shame you feel it has been lacking. Sometimes teachers can be limited by the large class size or the behaviour of students. You can, if you wanted, so as not to have no French knowledge and feel it was a waste of time, learn this language or another language via on line sites or apps. Then one day if you ever go to France, you will be able to have a much more rich and enjoyable experience as the French really appreciate those who even just try and speak some French.
Tertiary study is very different from school, so don't let your experience of your school put you off doing any further study later. After school, study is much more indepth and interesting and you can specialise in something you are really interested in. Everyone has also matured by then and so it is easy to find others with which you have a common interest.
I hope that there is a chance for a more positive experience in this new year. Have a think about who you might be able to talk to at the school.
Schools certainly need to change on many levels.
Meanwhile...check out the French learning apps, sites.....find a science competition to enter, write your own short story, paint a picture, teach yourself guitar, watch documentaries by Brian Cox, help someone in need, volunteer somewhere, cook a meal and perhaps you won't feel so much as if you are just filling in time until you leave school, What you learn outside school can also help what you are able to put into your last years of schooling.
Take care and take steps to share how you are feeling with someone at the school or outside the school.
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to this. The plague has struck our household.
However, it has been an interesting few days in the press, and there are some relevant articles on schools and schooling that I wish to comment on.
The first, which I will come back to later, concerns parents who take their children out of school so that they can enjoy cheaper holidays.
The second is appropriate to your comments regarding the relevance of some of the teaching. Apparently, in Scotland, which is where I live, many young people are opting out of school, or classes, because the curriculum does not suit them. I do not pretend to understand the complexities of 'Curriculum for Excellence', and indeed it seems many teachers do not either! Some have two sets of exams in a year, others have none. Some sit in classes with two year groups studying for different exams in the same subject. It is not a system designed to give confidence to those who are, perhaps, lacking in it and are struggling to make the best of what is on offer.
Related to that was the need for pupils to be taxied between schools to find courses that suit their ambitions. One girl was quoted as attending classes in 4 different schools! Where I live, the nearest schools/college are 40 minutes away, but still pupils travel to the nearest college to gain their qualifications.
This will only work where the individual motivation is high, and requires a lot of committment.
The third topic concerns increasing numbers of pupils remaining in school for 6th year. This maybe because of the issues mentioned above, or it may reflect higher standards of achievement. However, the point made was that more 6th year students means less resources for younger pupils. If 6th year students are using the music room computers, then it is harder for 4th and 5th year to gain access to build their composition portfolios. I recognise this issue from when my son was still in school. The same applies for art and design pupils. We are fortunate in that we were able to give our daughter a laptop, which she could take into school, but many are not.
Today's story concerns the lack of teachers, with many posts having to be re-advertised as they go unfilled. There was a story after the exam results of one school that had a total failure in one subject because the school had been unable to fill a specialist post and the supply teachers had not been able to reach the required standrd.
What should a student do when faced with all these difficulties, some of which you hint at?
Opting out may not be the best option, as what else is there? But if you can find an alternative way to fulfil your dreams...
I said that there was one article that I would return to. Last summer, a parent was fined for taking his daughter out of school for a trip to Florida. (Would he have been treated the same if they had holidayed in London?) The government is considering a formal tariff of fines for those who do not attend school. This will affect all those who think that they have a justifiable reason, and will reduce flexibility of schools that do choose to take a relaxed approach.
Today, I have asked users of this site to consider signing a petition to 'Stop penalising children with medical conditions for their attendance'.
The screw is turning harder and harder on those families who struggle with school attendance. We need to ensure that our evidence supporting our children's situation is well documented and recorded.
You seems very thoughtful and Intelligent. I agree with Linda. Your reasons for not wanting to attend school might be different from those of traditional school refusers. For you, like in our son's case, it is more of a waste of time and about resistance to control. I agree mostly with what you have said. In a world where I can get answers instantly online, when it takes a whole hour of class to teach you so little, one has to wonder if the education system has advanced fast enough to todays needs.
You I think would relate well to Prince EA. Have you seen his stuff? Particularly this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PsLRgEYf9E
I think you are going to do just fine.