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Secondary school hierarchy; how widespread?

(30 Posts)
ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 20:09:45

DS2 has now been at his (state, partially selective, single sex) secondary school for a term and a half and very happy; has settled well and not experienced any bullying or ostracism, despite being tiny, having Aspergers and being more than a bit quirky.

However, he is puzzled by the hierarchy behaviour shown by the students. Y12 & Y13 consider themselves too mature to take part, but from Y11 down to Y7, there seems to be a strict hierarchy according to year group, with older students expecting to go through doors first, be served first in the canteen despite the queue, and even shoving younger students aside in the corridors.

DS1 has also observed this phenomenon, but seems to accept it as part of the culture of the school.

When I was at school, the Y11s tended to dominate the back seat of the coach, but I don't remember any other hierarchy behaviour.

Is this something that happens in many secondary schools?
Is it a feature of boys' schools (I attended a girls' school and DH went to a mixed school so we wouldn't know).
Or is it specific to this school?

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 20:16:09

Just to add that DS2 compared the Y11s' dominance behaviour to that of male baboons. Fortunately he said this to me, not to them! grin

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 12-Feb-14 20:20:19

I think it is quite common in all boys grammar/ private schools.

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 20:21:30

DC schools are not like that.
In fact Some Yr11s dote on Yr7s (like Yr6s tend to dote on Yr1s).
But I guess each school develops own culture.
On the bus the Y10s-11s can be a bit bolshy about seats, but will defer to adult requests.

MillyMollyMama Wed 12-Feb-14 20:33:46

Respect of older students is something that is fairly normal in independent/grammar schools. Not necessarily shoving but being able to queue jump at lunch and going through doors first. Tell him that when he is in year 11, it will be his turn and when he is really busy at lunchtime, he might be glad to get into lunch without queueing. Unless, of course the culture has changed by then.

He might like to know that in schools in South Africa the youngest pupils make tea for the older ones, serve them cakes, run errands for them and generally act as their "fags". Apparently the younger children like it!

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 20:41:23

Thank you for the reassurance that much of this is normal in schools of this type. I really like the school, and both boys are happy and settled there.
I will remind DS1 (Y9) about treating younger boys kindly, that way hopefully at least one boy won't be shoving younger ones in the corridors.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 21:04:50

I just asked DS1 and he said there is quite a bit of "barging" in the corridors, due to congestion and high traffic at certain times of day. He says that if you are Y7 or Y8, you are expected to move out of the path of the older boys.

perspective Wed 12-Feb-14 21:17:09

Possibly more common in boys schools? My ds is at a (state) single sex school. It's s very good school but some of the things that go on! Favourite game of older boys is to see how many Y7 boys they can shove into the corridor walls. Ds says its all very good natured and almost like a bowling game ( though teachers come down hard if its seen).

Similar other hierarchical behaviours!

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 21:19:38

Probably doesn't help poor DS2 that he's only on the 2nd centile. sad More like a golf ball than a bowling ball.

perspective Wed 12-Feb-14 21:30:55

And some of those teenage boys are BIG! I feel a bit overwhelmed with so many in one place!

QualityControl Wed 12-Feb-14 21:43:52

I think it is sad that schools like this continue to allow an environment where all individuals are not respected. It is akin to covert bullying. It will be fine for most but some will feel very uncomfortable and will not enjoy their early secondary school days. That insidious low level work place bullying that we so often hear about is probably rooted in upbringings like this

Sparklingbrook Wed 12-Feb-14 21:48:20

Ds1's school has vertical tutoring-I think it makes a difference. They get to know children in all years including 6th form. They help each other out at tutor with homework etc.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 12-Feb-14 23:47:24

It's the same in the sister school too- maybe not so in your face, but the Y7s make space for the older pupils. DD1 says it's the Y8's that are most into it!

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Feb-14 08:34:31

FiveHoursSleep: that's interesting. DD (two years younger) is already taller than DS2 and more assertive, so I don't think she'll be pushed aside so easily. Perhaps the Y8s are making the most of no longer being bottom of the pecking order.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Feb-14 08:36:31

DS2's Aspergers makes him v.sensitive to physical contact, so perhaps he is more aware of the problem than most Y7s would be.

FiveHoursSleep Thu 13-Feb-14 16:03:18

I don't think it's a big deal, just the usual ' I've been here longer than you' stuff.
They did have some problems with Y8s giving the new Y7s the wrong directions to classes at the beginning of the year but it got sorted pretty quickly...

soul2000 Thu 13-Feb-14 16:44:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soul2000 Thu 13-Feb-14 16:44:35

Posted On Wrong Thread SORRY>>>>>>>

Eastpoint Thu 13-Feb-14 17:01:50

Just asked my son who is at an all boys day school which starts in year 9. He said there are no issues with older boys pushing them around & seemed rather surprised.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Feb-14 17:53:56

They did have some problems with Y8s giving the new Y7s the wrong directions to classes at the beginning of the year. I think that's quite amusing; I clearly have the sense of humour of a twelve year old.

Today I asked this same question to a parent of a child at another local school (mixed, Catholic). She described very similar behaviour; she specifically mentioned the lunch queue hierarchy and shoulder-shoving younger students in the corridors.

bruffin Thu 13-Feb-14 18:04:18

The prefects are allowed to jump queue at dc school because the need to have lunch before prefect duty not because they are older. Although dd pretty disgusted at how mouthy and disrespectful current yr7s are.

TimeToThinkOfYourFuture Thu 13-Feb-14 18:12:21

This behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and unseen at my school- mixed comprehensive in a deprived area. Not even the principal queue jumps, no one is pushed in corridors, older students take pride in modelling behaviour to younger ones. It horrifies me that this is accepted behaviour in schools! We have worked incredibly hard to eradicate it and vertical tutoring has made an enormous difference.

Scholes34 Thu 13-Feb-14 19:02:28

We're the same as TimetoThink. We're into the first year of vertical tutoring, which many were opposed to, but it's working well and gives a real family feel to the school. It's a large, mixed comprehensive with children from a variety of backgrounds. A member of the management team attends every PTA meeting to give a presentation on some aspect of the school and the school also holds a Parents' Forum. If I were aware of such behaviour in our school, I'd be asking the Head what the school was doing to change this attitude.

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 13-Feb-14 19:04:10

When I was at school (mixed sex comp) the sixth form were allowed to jump queues in the canteen on the grounds that in theory we were expected to do some study during lunch and break. We were also supposed to try and independently see teachers during this time if we had issues e.g. with homework. Staff were also allowed to jump queues.

Each year group also had their own "area"- different play grounds for year 7 and 8, and year 9, 10 and 11 all had places where they could go and sit indoors and outside. Usually each clique claimed their own little spot at the start of the year! In sixth form we had the common room and various other study areas.

There was no heirarchy about who got to go through doors first or shoving in the coridoors though- the main school building was too small for the number of students and this sort of behaviour would have caused chaos!

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Feb-14 19:15:16

The prefects (and in fact all of Y12 & Y13) are kind to the younger ones and many of them are mentors for younger boys who attend workshops in Learning Support. It's Y10 & Y11 who seem to throw their weight around.

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