Beware the dangers of a boarding school education
Beware the dangers of a boarding school education | The Express 13 June 2015
R: MY FATHER was packed off to boarding school during the war and had a hellish time of it. He felt rejected by his parents, lonely, isolated and frequently overwhelmed by panic.
The wartime school dinners were inedible, too. He lost loads of weight but the real damage was psychological. In some ways he was scarred for life.
Dad used to say that his two years’ national service were a doddle by comparison. He would have empathised with much of the testimony from former public school pupils in psychoanalyst Joy Schaverien’s new book Boarding School Syndrome.
The syndrome is characterised by unpleasant effects caused by being sent away from home (sometimes as young as seven) that persist into adulthood. Depression, anxiety, loss of self-worth, and problems maintaining relationships.
Many ex-boarders share a wonderful black humour, though. I recently heard of a British soldier who was captured by the Japanese in the Second World War and set to work on the infamous bridge over the River Kwai. One day, half dead from exhaustion, starvation and beatings from the brutal guards, he bumped into another famished prisoner and they realised they’d both boarded at the same prep school, which I shall call Winterbrook.
“What d’you make of this lot, then?” he asked his former classmate, looking around at their jungle hell. “Hmm… could be worse,” the other man replied. “At least it’s not Winterbrook.”
From the Richard and Judy Column Saturday 13 July 2015