Saturday 3 September 2011
Staying on at the same school
It's Ben's final year at school and the final year in what should have been the 'perfect' school experience. Well, it IS the perfect school and his experiences there had nothing to do with the development of the eating disorder. Ben's anorexia would have developed whichever school he was at; indeed at his current school he was arguably in a far happier and more supportive environment than he could have been if he'd gone elsewhere. And, over the past couple of years while we've been fighting the anorexia, the school has been outstanding in its support and understanding - and, no doubt, will continue to be so this coming year.
This academic year is really special. It's the 200th anniversary since the school's foundation and it's thrilling that Ben will be in the most senior year during the celebrations. It would have made me incredibly sad if we'd made the decision to remove him and for him to start the 6th form all over again at the local school. And the only reason why we would have made that decision would have been because we couldn't afford an extra year's school fees.
And, no, we are not wealthy. Having loathed every moment I was at a state high school it was always my dream to send Ben to a lovely school, even if that meant working hard and making financial sacrifices. When he was accepted on an academic scholarship with reduced fees I was delighted - and the school has been the very best possible place for him over the past 6 years and especially over the last 2 years.
I'd always known the school had a reputation for being a 'caring' school and for supporting its students through virtually any crisis. But when we started out there all those years ago I could never have envisaged in what way and to what extent it would have supported us.
I just hope that the eating disorder doesn't steal too much of Ben's final year away from him. It's already stolen two years of his school life and that's more than enough.