READING Matthew Clifton’s story and Longsands’ reply, first of all I felt relieved, knowing there was someone else there that had experienced being ignored by Longsands College, and then angry at the reply.
I went to Longsands College. I didn’t suffer with depression, unlike Matthew, but I was bullied, put down and pushed out by other pupils. My mum wrote a letter to the school, as I didn’t want to confront the issue, being afraid that it would make things worse.
At first my tutor seemed supportive, and I just dealt with the fact that not much could be done without my confronting the bullies.
Mrs Stokewell was amazingly supportive, but it wasn’t until my last year at Longsands what I got this help. It was because of her that a teacher offered counselling. I felt I was totally ignored at Longsands.
I know bullying is an issue in many schools, that sometimes the bad kids get all the attention and kids who are quiet and well behaved sometimes get lost, but my experience was ridiculous.
This isn’t the first or only school that I was ignored at. At Gamlingay Village College, I was bullied by teachers. One shouted in my face for not knowing how to play rounders and told my parents that I had no hope in life and couldn’t communicate properly. Other teachers continuously humiliated me in front of my class mates, mainly as I wasn’t as able in PE as the other pupils.
I was haunted by the abuse that I suffered there, and luckily moved from there to a much better school.
When it comes to bullying, I think that schools should all have a no-bullying policy. When it comes to other issues like mental illness that Matthew suffered, there should be someone there to offer some kind of guidance.
Although Longsands said they did offer support, through my experience I doubt that this is the case. Perhaps initially they offered help but, through my experience, I don’t think there would have been much follow through.
I left Longsands College in 2010, after completing my GCSEs. There I decided to go to Hinchingbrooke Sixth Form, where I have seen throughout an amazing about of support. My tutor and Heads of Sixth Form were constantly there for me when ever I needed them. And I believe that this actually made me a lot more successful through my A-Levels.
They also got to know me and wanted me to feel comfortable, and made me feel welcome at the school.
Leaving Longsands College was the best decision I made. But I have no regrets, as I’m happy now and I’m looking forward to going to university (hopefully) in September.