Secondary school: UCS Sixth Form 2015-17.
University destination: SOAS, Arabic BA
Filing in into the theatre in preparation for the taster day, finding a seat, pulling out a notebook in smug satisfaction at my own organisational skills and then finding out I don’t have a pen. Smirk turns into a sheepish grin as I ask the person next to me for a spare Bic. I ended up remaining like this for the rest of the two years.
It’s always the small memories that stick. A sunny day with a football in one hand running up this small hilly bit to get to the triple pitch perched on top is definitely up there. The computer room during break time was also a source of great entertainment- especially if an open account with an open email was found. There’s no better way of settling a personal grievance with a teacher than by listing all of his shortcomings in an email sent via the account of someone else. I enjoyed spending time in the small garden shed at the corner of the school too. We used to plant our own seeds in our own pots and leave it there- only to find our work undone by the gardener the next day. Oh yes and gorging on cake every Friday at the beginning of our Chemistry lesson.
I got what I got, and I liked what I got. I haven’t really thought about what I could’ve gotten. I feel like this attitude sums up UCS students, too. Apart from the odd whinge, everyone had this wider perspective of being grateful for what you have. Entitlement- so often the word attached to private school types- was completely absent in UCS students.
Not really- apart from singing the school song from time to time, UCS didn’t really have time for tradition, I felt.
I had all the support I wanted. Never felt like I didn’t have someone to go to.
UCS is a famously secular school- but not in an ironic anti-religious sort of way. The head of Sixth Form was super friendly and allowed me to pray in his classroom at lunch time. Though in principle not a religious school, I don’t think I would have found any other school as accepting as UCS. So, on that count, I feel very fortunate.
Not much. We were all encouraged to make our own decisions based on what suited us the most.
I did for a while after leaving but then gradually drifted away.
All the time. I was practically camped outside my Deme Warden’s office every day for good period of time. But he was cool; caught me referring to him as “Falstaff” once. He let it go.
Pastoral support is a particularly strong feature of UCS. Available at every level. I felt like I could speak to anyone from the school staff. Deme Wardens go out of their way to know everyone in their house and keep up to date with all their going-ons.
Confidence, Flair, Independence