Nick Duffell discusses his book Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege – A Guide to Therapeutic Work with Boarding School Survivors.
In our Resources section, under Papers and Articles, we present Simon’s review of Joy’s book.
It wasn’t all St Trinian’s japes and jam roly-poly – a new book shows that life in Britain’s girls’ boarding schools could be cruel beyond belief.
Craig Brown (a man) reviews:
Terms And Conditions: Life In Girls’ Boarding Schools, 1939-1979
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Slightly Foxed Editions, £16
This is the story of generations of parents, Britain’s richest and grandest, who believed that being miserable at school was necessary to make a good and successful citizen. Childish suffering was a price they accepted for the preservation of their class, and their entitlement. The children who were moulded by this misery and abuse went on – as they still do – to run Britain’s public institutions and private companies.
Confronting the truth of his own schooldays and the crimes he witnessed, Alex Renton has revealed a much bigger story. It is of a profound malaise in the British elite, shown up by tolerance of the abuse of its own children that amounts to collusion. This culture and its traditions, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that underpin them, are key to any explanation of the scandals over sexual abuse, violence and cover-up in child care institutions that are now shocking the nation.
As Renton shows, complicity in this is the bleak secret at the heart of today’s British elite.
Due for publication in April 2017 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion Books and available from Amazon and other sources.
Joy’s article (page 20) is the “takeaway” from her presentation at our Conference last month.
Country Life book of the week: Terms & Conditions
This vivid study of life at girls’ boarding schools between 1939 and 1979 is both hilarious and poignant, finds Maggie Fergusson.
Terms & Conditions
By Ysenda Maxtone Graham (Slightly Foxed Editions, £17.50)
Women who have been to boarding schools,’ writes Ysenda Maxtone Graham, ‘live with flashbacks both joyous and nightmarish.’ reading this hilarious, poignant study, I had two. The first was of a thunderstorm during which our headmistress, Mother Bridget, summoned the school to the concert hall to read Act 3 of King Lear: an act of inspiration. The second was of yawningly dull weekends, when our only occupation was to ‘report’ hourly to the nun on duty. Some girls on the nun’s list had ‘G’ by their names. This meant ‘Greasy’ and allowed them to wash their hair twice a week.
Read more on the Slightly Foxed website.
Will John le Carré’s memoirs describe his boarding school experiences?