Authoritarian Schooling: A Catalogue of Damage compiled by David Gribble





And in 2010: Adults




Extracts from interviews conducted in 2010 with twenty students, aged between 11 and 15, who had transferred to Sands School, Ashburton, because of their experiences at other schools.

'Some teachers I actually quite liked but others, they just didn't really seem like you connected with them and they didn't most of them didn't even know your name. It just felt like so strange not to, because I came from a really small primary school to the comprehensive which was so big that it was really different. Weird for me.'


'I did not like my last school, because the head teacher mistress was really shouty, and she shouted for no reason all the time, and also she did lots of marching around for no reason again, and telling people off for no reason again.'


'The headmistress, when my Mum went in to talk about the bullying and everything, said they would help me on getting my behavioural problems better.'


'It was a bit pointless having adults there sometimes, when they would act like children.'

'In what way did they act like children?'

'Well, they would sort of take sides. They would take sides quite a lot of the time and if they weren't on your side and they were on someone else's side it would be upsetting emotionally and physically. I got really depressed from that school, it made me really depressed. If they were on the other side or something you would really get angry with them, and then you get in trouble for being really angry, because you would be like, "I don't want to do this, what's the point?" So you'd get into trouble for that as well, which is not good. No.'


'Did the teachers of this uncontrollable class hand out a lot of punishments?'

'Definitely not enough. It was just the way they tried to send people out and you know, make people be quiet, but there was no actual detention or punishment that happened afterwards, because it felt like they couldn't be bothered, because it was too much trouble to take them away and look after their detention and do something in the detention. It was just because there were so many of them, and it was such a huge school, there were about two thousand pupils, so it just felt like it was spiralling out of control. I just felt like I was completely insignificant, and nobody seemed to care that I wasn't learning anything because they were so noisy and so disruptive. And I wasn't talked to at all by any of the teachers, which could have helped, because I'd been in school previously with a couple of the worst kids so I knew them better than everyone else. And it was just dealt with in a really bad way that didn't help anybody.'


'You know when I first went there, for the first two weeks of being there the teachers were as though they were just trained to be completely horrible to supposedly get some sort of respect, which was obviously not how respect works because that didn't make me want to be better when they were just being vile. It was very much like, 'Line up! No, you didn't do it well enough, do it again!', you know, and then after two weeks it was a bit better, but I think a lot of the people that went there in their first day were just fine, and by the end of those two weeks they were really disruptive you know, getting put on the naughty list sort of thing. I just don't think it really worked for the teachers.'