I hear from a lot of people who have a story of boarding school to tell. Here’s a recent email from an old friend, now in his fifties.

I’ve just had a vivid dream about complete abandonment at prep school when barely into my eighth year. I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night full of the emotions I lived with every moment of every day when I was at St Aubyn’s prep school in Rottingdean.

I felt the all too familiar emotions coursing through my chest, especially those of complete and utter loneliness and misery. This resulted in a constant numbness and enforced acceptance that this is “how it must be”, invoking the idea that “this will make me the person I’m ‘meant’ to be – but I won’t understand what this is ‘til I’m older and wiser and can be trusted with all the privilege that’s been bestowed /given to be. For this I must be grateful: for we are the phenomenally lucky ‘chosen’ ones.”

Chosen for what….? I found myself questioning before quietly burying such thoughts and sinking back into the ‘safety blanket’ of the permanent knot in the pit of my stomach.

Do write to me: I’ll always read and respond. If you wish to check whether your school or a particular adult features in my database I can check that, and record your allegations in confidence, if you so wish.

I only publish material with your permission, of course.

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