Common Concerns: The World
Beyond These Walls

Students (and, indeed staff) bring into school all manner of concerns and influences and issues that are current in society. These will include stresses in family relationships (directly in that there are stresses between family members; indirectly that the family unit is under threat e.g. through a parent's employment situation). Post September 11th, tensions might appear between white Christian groups and those who are, or are assumed to be, Muslim. Or the latest "soap" social issue - alcoholism, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy - might be in many people's minds and conversations.

Staff might notice changes in a particular student's behaviour and/or performance, might be aware of a clash with another student or teacher, but unaware of the severe stresses that student is encountering at home. And of course, it's not the done thing to ask too much, or from the student's point of view to say too much. In these situations, usually someone knows at least some of the story, a peer or a close friend, and they too have the burden of knowing , wondering whether to share with anyone else, and feeling unable to be of much help, other than to listen.

When we ask students what worries them outside of school, we get some interesting answers. Sometimes it depends on how you ask, since some worries are hard to raise in public. Some concerns are both in and out of school, such as worries about your size or development, at a time and in a culture where there is a great deal of comparison, between people and against some unachievable "norm".

Some common responses on worries outside school are: