STUART McGINLEY: Reflecting over memories of school years

I HEARD a story this week about how this time of the year is the most stressful for parents as their kids go back to school – and there was me thinking the stressful time would be Christmas!

All this talk of back to school certainly made me reflect on my days at school, and not all of it was good.

I had a relatively normal experience of school life until I reached my my teenage years and just as I turned 14, we moved from Suffolk to the Isle of Wight.

Like anyone, I found starting a new school a nervous experience but this was tougher as I found it increasingly difficult to settle in and be accepted into groups of friends.

I became seen as a bit different because I was a ‘country boy’ all the way from Ipswich. Thinking back, this was a bit rich coming from kids on a small island!

Slowly the name-calling and bullying knocked my confidence and I just refused to go out or even to school for many months. My parents were stressed and threatened by the authorities and at one point I thought I was going to be taken away into a home.

Finally, I was offered a place at a centre on the island which offered help and support to children either with basic learning difficulties or who had been bullied, and this proved a turning point for me.

I got my confidence back and started to feel normal again, and not be scared of going out either.

All this disruption did have an impact on taking regular exams though, and I never got the results I wanted.

But then my ultimate dream of working in radio came true and I grasped the opportunity with both hands.

That feeling of pride I had when facing those former bullies just a few years later, as I went to and from work, made me feel ten feet taller!

So to anyone who is being bullied, tell someone, there is more support for you now than there ever was for me, and you can still achieve whatever you want in life with or without qualifications if you are determined enough.

So overall, I still look back fondly over my schooldays, even the school dinners!

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