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Boarding school

(53 Posts)
Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 14:35:01

My year 10 DS is refusing to go back to boarding school. He's in tears and says it does not matter what I say, he just won't go back.
He's not good academically at all and I've pleaded with him to at least try and he says he feels everyone else is better than him- I'm besides myself- what can I do? Should I let him have his way or not.?
(It is one of the most desired schools in the country). I'm devasted. sad

floppyjogger Mon 04-Jan-16 14:38:40

Has something specific happened?

Its quite an extreme reaction so i would really want to know why in case its something that can be resolved quite easily.

LIZS Mon 04-Jan-16 14:40:03

Speak to housemaster and head of year. Is it near enough he could do days for a week or two?

FlatOnTheHill Mon 04-Jan-16 14:46:03

Your childs welfare is more important. Could you not find another private school which would be more suited to his needs.
Whether it is one of the best schools in the world does not come into it.
You could end up making your child ill for the sake of status!
Ive seen my friend do this with her DS at Marlborough. It was heartbreaking.
All she kept saying was...its Marlborough its one of the best etc etc. confused
Eventually she came to her senses and realised its the childs happiness that is more important. Her DS at Dauntseys now and happy.
Think of your child and not the status symbol a top named school gives YOU.
Good luck.

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 15:27:31

Oh dear.

But it's not really a question of letting him have his way surely? I guess you just want to do what's best for him.

How has he been over the holidays? Is this a long held plan of his or something he decided this morning?

Have you had any in depth conversation with his House Master and Tutor lately? If you've exhausted all communication with your DS then they need to be the next resource. Phone them - don't ask your DS's permission first. At least one of them ought to be able to help either by reassuring him or by giving you some more time to sort things out.

Leeds2 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:30:03

Is it the boarding he is unhappy with, or the academics? Or friendship issues?

BertrandRussell Mon 04-Jan-16 15:33:23

Have you talked to his Housemaster?

JE1234 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:36:13

I'd speak to the BHM, I have been an Asst BHM for the past 5 years and before the beginning of each term we always have at least one refuser. All their worries seem to come to a head immediately before they are due to go back. The school should be putting things in place to support him and that dialogue needs to be opened now. Could you see if you can negotiate a break point to review it- say half term. Leaving in y10 can be very disruptive. I just wanted to reassure you that this may not be normal for your DS but it is not an uncommon reaction amongst boarders.

Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 15:39:13

Its been on and off since September. House Master and Matron called me in once and said he wasn't happy although they'd seen him happy sometimes and were very positive for the future.

Like I said he's not gifted academically but he's very good with music. He's just started at the school in September and he saw friends from his old school over Xmas- it seems to have made things worse.
The end of term- (last), was different- he seemed like he was beginning to settle in- even talked about continuing for Year 11 and watching him sing Carols at Eton Chapel was fantastic.
I feel sick.

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 15:45:24

I imagine you had your reasons for his starting in year 10 - but I can see it might have been difficult to settle.

Are you sure you haven't been ignoring a problem? That might make a difference as to what you do next.

Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 15:52:02

I thought for him to go to this school would give him great opportunities and yes, I now think maybe I shouldn't have started him in year 10, but if he changes now, won't it be worse?.

He's crying, I'm crying- maybe it's my fault. He says he didn't want tell me sooner for fear of hurting me.
What am I going to do?

sal47 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:53:07

Maybe a less academically focused school would give him a chance to shine in other areas and so help his future career path?

I'd have hated to have to go to school everyday if it made me that stressed and upset. Age 14/15 its unlikely to be a childish whim as he will know the consequences.

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 15:58:01

Well stop crying first.

Easy for me to say of course but you'll frighten him - if you're crying it's the end of the world rather than a difficulty with school. Don't let him feel he's in freefall.

Step back. Ask yourself where the trouble started. And remember nothing has to be decided today. Or tomorrow. Breathe.

Have you called his House Master or Tutor yet? You need to do that.

TinkerBellThree Mon 04-Jan-16 16:00:03

Oh Jakana, I so feel for you. It is not easy to see your loved ones unhappy, and please do not blame yourself. All you want is the very best for your DS, do make sure that he knows this (it is easy to assume they know).

In my experience, it often takes at least six months to settle into a new situation, find your way and your feet sort to speak. Those six months can be very tough, and many dont get through them, but those who do often find that the other side is brighter than they ever could have imagined (that sounds really weird, but the best way I could find to explain it)

Would it be an idea to discuss this with him? Say that you hear him and feel his pain, and you suggest you try for another half a term or so (or even until next exeat to start with), then re-evaluate. Then if things are looking a little brighter, re-evaluate again at the next juncture? Small steps and milestones you can work towards together?

I am sure you both put a lot of effort in to get to where he is today and he has accomplished so much to be proud of. However, this can be hard to keep sight of sometimes, so it is worth reminding both himself and youself of that fact.

I wish you all the best of luck and please do not give up!

georgetteheyersbonnet Mon 04-Jan-16 16:01:30

Is there no way he could restart at his old school? It doesn't sound to me that it would be a good thing to push him to stay if he hates it - it can only depress his academic achievement further. Those kinds of elite schools can be really alienating to teenagers who feel they don't live up to the ideal of academic and social perfection that they promote.

I've both taught and worked with former students of schools like that who felt that they were seriously damaged by that kind of environment when they were not really suited to it - especially the boarding. (And even those who thrive in that kind of atmosphere suffer some emotional damage - don't kid yourself that being at an elite school doesn't have other undesirable effects even for those who come out on top. I've heard enough hair-raising stories from former Etonians of what goes on there amongst the boys to be very wary of the effects that come along with the supposed benefits.)

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 16:04:44

One thing, is today his first day of term, or next week?

(If you have not yet mentioned the school then perhaps best not to.)

FlatOnTheHill Mon 04-Jan-16 16:09:43

OP please dont cry. If this continues is there a good private/public school closer to home where he does not have to board. I personally have seen the effects boarding can have on some children in adult life. Education is paramount and Eton is a fantastic opportunity. But your childs happiness and welfare come first. He is now becoming a young teenager which is emotionally challenging in itself without being unhappy at a boarding school away from parents. Please think about this carefully. Think about his emotional needs. You say he is not academic. Then take him out of Eton and put him somewhere where he will be happy and thrive. thanks

Breadandwine Mon 04-Jan-16 16:14:41

Find a local state school - have a happy youngster and save your money! I wouldn't send my kids to a public school under any circumstances - this is what divides society in this country!

He'll be a better citizen and a more rounded human being, IMO!

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 16:16:18

Some people are missing the point surely. The OP doesn't have to make a decision on schools today. She has to calm her son down and speak to his HM.

Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 16:18:08

GruachToday is his first day and I haven't mentioned it yet.

TinkkerbellThree- I know what you are saying, I went to boarding school and when mom dropped me off, I was so frightened and cried and cried and having been the tiniest girl in school, I really felt terrified. But I survived it, mom didn't give up on me.

I've explained to him, to stay at least stay for the term, Exeat is only a few weeks away- and I don't know what else to do.
georgetteheyersbonnet- he could but all his friends are just not good for him- (too playful and all they do is mess around) which is why I took him away in the first place.
I've told him we need to think things through overnight and decide in the morning.

All of you have been very kind with your assuring words and advice and I thank you.

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 16:23:30

You haven't called the HM have you?

Please do that. You will need them to help you help him. Either to stay or to move.

Gruach Mon 04-Jan-16 16:25:34

FlatOnTheHill The OP's son is not at the school you mention. (I assume his choir was visiting that school.)

sal47 Mon 04-Jan-16 16:25:51

I don't think its giving up on him to consider moving him. Giving up on him would be not helping him resolve his current distress.

Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 16:37:59

FlatOnTheHill- He's at Eton.

Jakana Mon 04-Jan-16 16:39:08

Sorry I meant that for Gruach

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