Isobel Cox-Jones, a History student at Kent, comments on the recent articles that discuss Adams’ Grammar School in Newport, saying she has “never laughed so much as at [her] time at Adams’ Grammar.”

The recent articles ‘Grammar school made me a bigot’ and the retort of ‘Grammar school did not make me a bigot’ are currently two of the biggest articles on the TAB website. As a feminist and an ex-pupil of Adams’ Grammar School I thought it was necessary for me to weigh in on the original article:

In other words, it taught me to hate.’

In my opinion, to call Adams’ Grammar School bigoted is to not fully understand the definition of a Grammar School or the word bigot. A grammar school’s purpose is to ‘provide an excellent education for everyone who is academically inclined’ . A bigot, ‘A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

I am not a bigot. I don’t think anyone who left Adams’ is a bigot. I think you have to be a real arsehole to go through an education like Adams’ and be left a bigot. It would be dishonourable to ignore the comments on Facebook that described their time at Adams’ as less than positive.

English A-Level was a delight of diverse texts exploring race, religion, gender and sexuality. R.S. modules included black theology and feminism. Those who naively sat the start of term in adorable bewilderment soon learnt to appreciate, through examples, and excellent teaching different perspectives to their own and grew into mature men of the world.

Women were treated like shit at the school universally known as LADam’s Grammar’

I came out of the kitchen around the second week of Adams’. I was and am a feminist. It was met with a little side eyeing, but after explaining that more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male and that pesky Equal Pay Act is still not enforced, everyone agreed with my sentiments. I don’t think anyone in my last year of Adams’ was sexist. Sexist behaviour did occasionally happen. It was never condoned or performed neither by the Staff nor by the vast majority. Nevertheless, “banter” spewed from a small number of boys and on a routine basis.

Boys who were friends with girls were labelled “bummers”. Offensive off-hand comments like “I’m gonna rape that” and kitchen jokes cropped up like weeds.

These actions are not particular to Adams’ in the slightest and are simply a reflection of society. In fact I’ve had more harassment in Venue within the first couple of months than my entire time at Adams’. None of the “banter” was malicious in intent. But that this was in anyway encouraged or ignored by the Staff is completely unthinkable and incorrect. Statistically 10% of people come under the umbrella of LGBTAQ+. However no one identified themselves in our year for the whole two years I was there. The school does everything it can to promote acceptance. But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that students were made to feel uncomfortable by their peers.

Adams' Grammar School. Photo: Flick

Adams’ Grammar School. Photo: Flickr

I can’t speak for people of colour (POC). The racism in the article doesn’t at all reflect the year I knew, but that doesn’t diminish the experiences of past students. Two of the most popular girls in the year happened to be POC – an athlete and a now Oxford student- have both stated they had an amazing time at Adams’. Any potentially racist comment made was shut down by staff and pupils.

After the shit-storm on Facebook has somewhat died down (for now), one comment truly stands out for me, “If you left Adams’ Grammar School a bigot, it’s not the schools fault, it’s yours.” The “banter” was often witty and not offensive. I have never laughed so much as at my time at Adams Grammar. We were given enough information, lessons, and opportunities before leaving Adams’ to ensure we graduated with good A-Level results, self-confidence and as a better human beings.