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to think that if you went from a state comp to oxbridge you were probably teased mercilessly for being a 'geek'?

(56 Posts)
thedollyridesout Wed 11-Nov-09 17:55:36

Up to A level at least smile.

There are quite a lot of 'oxbridge from state' folk on here and I'd be interested to hear if you were teased or not for being clever.

Is it something to consider when choosing a school for one's offspring - whether or not they will be in the clever minority?

BellaBear Wed 11-Nov-09 17:57:21

yes, but not mercilessly. just occasional 'boffin' remarks. Helped I had a group of lovely friends to whom studying hard wasn;t seen as sad.

TrillianAstra Wed 11-Nov-09 17:59:12

No grammar schools where I grew up, comp = comprehensive = everyone.

Some teasing, but not exactly a damaging amount. I certainly wouldn't say "merciless", not by a long way. I got a good education, had a good time, lived in the real world.


tvaerialmagpiebin Wed 11-Nov-09 18:00:45

TBH I got more teasing at Cambridge than at school. "Oh how brave of you to come here from a state school" type stuff. I am sure there is a lot less of that now though.

There was a group of us at school who were all "boffins" though so it wasn't too bad. The first two years at school were the worst, before everyone had shaken down a bit and worked things out. The sixth form was lovely, definitely the best years.

Litchick Wed 11-Nov-09 18:09:07

I was known as a brain box but left alone as long as I did nothing whatsover about it.I learned from a young age to keep my aspirations to myself.
I pretended to be as disinterested as everyone else - wouldn't have survived otherwise. When I got to Uni it was like 'wow - other folk like books too'.

MadameDefarge Wed 11-Nov-09 18:20:15

to be honest I think there are geeky kids in every school, including indies. Just as there are sporty ones, arty ones, emo ones, goth ones, wannabe existentialist ones...oh, and nice but dim ones grin

GrendelsMum Wed 11-Nov-09 18:21:13

Mmm - I didn't really find that at school, but my sister did. She found going to Cambridge a huge relief.

Morosky Wed 11-Nov-09 18:24:04

I was never teased for being a boffin, I was quite respected for it actually

notanumber Wed 11-Nov-09 18:44:58

thedolly, do you think that you can mark your children out as oxbridge material at eleven?

Some chldren seem very bright and capable at primary but then plateau at secondary school. Other children don't blossom academically until their teens. Others still are bright yet not necessarily what oxbridge are looking for in a candidate.

Far better to look for a school that is a best fit holistically, rather than fretting that they might be teased for having oxbridge aspirations at the local comp at an age when they are still interested in toys.

Takver Wed 11-Nov-09 18:53:30

A bit but not that much - no more than other people got teased for red hair/being fat/liking Paul Young or whatever.

I have a bad temper and back in the day tended to hit back hard though so perhaps that made a difference grin

bellissima Wed 11-Nov-09 18:59:40

Yeah well Takver - Paul Young - there are limits! I was a direct grant girl myself, but do remember being teased about coming from 'near Sheffield and those places' (it was Newcastle) - probably an Etonian doing a geography degree.

sixfoldwaitingtime Wed 11-Nov-09 18:59:59

No, not really.

Partly because I wasn't that geeky (I was misfit indie kid instead, which was much more my identity than my brains).

Partly because I was badly behaved (in trouble for clothes, skiving off school etc).

And partly because - as a southerner in a northern comprehensive - there were so many other things to tease me for. "Go on sixfold, say 'bath'". "Baaath". Everyone falls about laughing.

FWIW I liked school - just outside Manchester in the heydey of the Smiths - far more than I liked Cambridge, where no bands played and everyone seemed to play a classical instrument instead. There were way too many geeks there for my taste...

somethinganything Wed 11-Nov-09 19:03:03

DH didn't at all. And neither did other friends from comps who went to Oxford. But I did - at private school.

asdx2 Wed 11-Nov-09 19:03:29

My dd is a probable Oxbridge candidate according to head of vi form and has never been teased tbh but then again she was below average in lower primary, well above average upper primary and started to flourish y8/9.
She must have retained the airhead demeanour though as yesterday when it was announced she would represent the school at the further maths challenge at Derby uni today (came 2nd) one of the boys told her he thought she was a leisure and tourism student grin

navyeyelasH Wed 11-Nov-09 19:15:22

I went to a really rough local comp and was one of those girls in the "in" crowd - had a place at Oxford and was never once teased. Had 3 friends also at same comp 1 boy and 1 girl, girl not teased but was quite popular and boy was teased a bit as was less popular.

I got more stick at oxford TBH but more in a teasy pally way.

bellabelly Wed 11-Nov-09 19:18:38

I was never teased at my state (ex-grammar) school but then, I was very cool. grin

questions2008 Wed 11-Nov-09 19:48:20

I just graduated from Cambridge recently ( umm 2 or 3 years ago now, can't remember, baby makes it all seem so far away!!) and I didn't get teased there at all, nobody even asked what school everyone was from, just what a-levels you'd done.

the only thing i remember feeling was that being from a very rough local comprehensive where I was easily top of the class with not much effort on my part, going to cambridge was quite a change, and i found myself much more nearer the bottom once there. so i'd say you definitely need a bit of confidence in your self and abilities not to fall apart under that kind of stress and expectation, especially if you hadn't experienced it before. not sure if that's clear, but basically it will take some adjustment and time to get used to not being the 'clever' one any more.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 11-Nov-09 19:52:35

I got teased at school for being a geek and I didn't even go on to Oxbridge shock

Mind you, I did go to Imperial, which is the place to embrace your inner geek if ever there were one...grin

thedollyridesout Wed 11-Nov-09 19:57:52

notanumber - DD is only 8 grin.

A friend of mine went to Oxford from a 'great' comp but she was teased mercilessly at school. DH and I are debating whether or not to consider grammar school for DD. I think she is bright but more than that she is a girl who wants to learn and do well. Our local great comp only get about 10% A/A* in maths and sciences at GCSE so if she is bright that would put her in a fairly small minority.

Just wondering whether or not it might be kinder to try for the grammar school.

staranise Wed 11-Nov-09 20:04:37

I was in a clever group at school so as a group we got teased but more for being 'posh' (we weren't) than brainy and I can't say it ever bothered me - rather, we used to look down on the others for being stupid enough to think that 'posh' or 'brainy' is an insult. We were also taught in sets and in the top sets it was seen as a good thing to get 'A' grades etc so I was never scared to do well.

TBH I felt much more out of place at Oxford as a northern comprehensive girl surrounded by southerners who had been to single sex boarding schools. Most of the state school students had been to assessed grammars.

staranise Wed 11-Nov-09 20:06:21

Oh, and nobody at Oxfred knew where Newcastle was either - so they can't have been that bright grin

Liska Wed 11-Nov-09 20:18:05

I didn't go to Uni from school, but later did an Access course at an FE College (Croydon) and went from there to Oxford. I had a single incident where I was shouted at in the canteen (they're all snobs there, you'll be one of them - you're not one of us anymore etc etc) and tbh, it just served to rally my friends behind me in a supportive way. Obviously that's different because it was an adult environment, but I think it still holds that if you have real friends, with other interests in common, you can ride out the teasing.

On another point... I now work at Oxford, in the Student Union (I'm a student advisor), and the kids who have the biggest problems are those whose self esteem derives entirely from their brains. Questions is right that most people who don't come from the top indies are used to being the brightest kid in the class, if not the school, and suddenly they find themselves with people just as bright as they are. While it should be a relief to find people with similar interests (I absolutely bloody loved it), it's tough for those who have been brought up to feel as if anything other than first isn't good enough. Not that anyone on Mumsnet would make their children feel that way

Oh - and these days you are just as likely to be teased about coming from a posh school - you occasionally hear some great fake common accents, if u knw wot i mean...

CMOTdibbler Wed 11-Nov-09 20:19:42

I went to a comp, and went to a Russell group uni. It was an absolute, blessed relief. As a science specialist at school I was bullied and it was a def case of 'boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses'. I clearly remember going on a Sixth Form physics weekend at Nottingham and being amazed at being chatted up several times by boys who liked girls who were into physics

eatsshootsleaves Wed 11-Nov-09 20:32:11

I got teased for being non-white more than for being a "geek". So no, it wasn't really an issue and especially not at A level where everyone in my further maths class were all extremely clever and Oxbridge material.

Dh on the other hand said that he was bullied at primary and secondary school which may have had to do with his being exceptional as well as being quiet. Dh's school was a very rough school with low GCSE A*-Cs, he was also one of 2 students in further maths! Anyway, the school is no more as from last summer.

My 2p's worth.

grendel Wed 11-Nov-09 21:44:16

It was such a relief to go to Cambridge after my very basic comprehensive. From an initial intake of around 250 in the first year, there were only 14 of us left doing A levels. Everyone else left at 16!

Not teased in 6th form, but lower down the school I was very much viewed as an alien wierdo - not exactly bullied though 'cos my big brother was a) very big and b) very cool. I learnt fairly early on NOT to put my hand up in class and to keep quiet when I finished the work early.

I was so happy to meet 'people like me' at Cambridge - and, like CMOT, especially happy to meet boys who weren't too scared to talk to me.

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