Socialising By John Walker

What the children did?

Lulu's first night in Ovingdean

Transcript for 'Lulu's first night in Ovingdean':

LF - When I arrived at the school ... were my parents with me or did I arrive by coach?... I think my Mother and Father dropped me off at the school. I was the only one.

KB - How old were you at the time?

LF - I was 13 years old. There were another four pupils who were new that year, which made five of us in a single year. Two of them moved to Ovingdean because their school had closed down; it was called Nutfield Piory.

KB - I don't know it.

LF - Well the school was in Redhill and it closed down, some of their pupils moved over to Ovingdean. So, we...

KB - Four other children and you...

LF - The other four knew each other well and I was the new one in the group. I was very quiet and reserved. The others were behaving cocky - well, they were teenagers!

KB - Very normal!

LF - They led us around the school until we got settled down, but the first night I burst into tears. I was in a different bed and sharing with other pupils, I didn't know. We were all of different ages in the bedroom, in fact two of us were in the same year but the other four were in the year below. We had to share a bedroom with the younger pupils because the other rooms for our age group were all full. I wasn't comfortable to share a room with other children or with children from a different year. I wasn't used to it because I was a day tripper before.

So, I cried through the first night and I gradually got used to it. But it wasn't long before I loved the school because I  just got on with my new group of friends.

KB - You changed your mind quickly.

LF - There were 21 of us in my year alone, which was a huge number of deaf peers for me. We all split into sub groups and socialised with people we felt most comfortable with: people with the same ideas or similar humour. We had different groups - one group liked flirting with the boys, the others who were a bit naughty and cheeky, and the prim and propers. My group, of five of us, became very close and we were very happy throughout the school years.

One of the most positive aspects of the school was the range of social activities. The House Mother would come over and ask what we would like to do and she would make a plan for us; she would decide if something can take place this week or the following week. We could go bowling or go to the Brighton Pier ... or hire a video. There were loads of activities: Scouts, youth club, and loads more. We were kept very busy nearly every day. We were never bored. We were always had something planned, which was different from the loneliness we faced at home.

This page was added on 21/09/2012.

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