The King’s School Ely In Cannabis Shocker

Image: The King's School Ely

Ely’s King’s School has grown accustomed to their students being high achievers, but last Thursday some students interpretation of ‘high’ took on an entirely different meaning!

In a shock disclosure it was reported that five public schoolboys at Ely’s prestigious £19,000 a year King’s School have been permanently excluded after being caught in possession of cannabis.

Headteacher Sue Freestone wrote to all parents: ‘At King’s we work to convey the dangers of consuming illegal substances.

‘It is a source of great sadness to the whole community the trust we have placed in these individuals has been betrayed.’

Of course parents of the pot smoking dopeheadz are outraged that their high maintenance children’s expensive education has gone up in smoke and feel they have been treated badly. One parent, obviously too ashamed of their child to give their name, wants the pupils reinstated and said in the Cambridge Evening News: ‘The school seems to have discovered tiny quantities of cannabis had occasionally changed hands on school premises.’

‘Of course the ringleaders should be given a stern talking to and cautioned but there is no need to deploy tactics reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition in bringing those pupils to book.’

Let’s hope the ringleader wasn’t your child then madam!

46 replies
  1. CG
    CG says:

    I go to the kings school and this is no shocker, we see schools like soham having drugs and there is no “soham school shocker” because this is normal in that society. i do not however condone drugs, but how would you feel if your child literally had to be stalked around their school to make sure that they did not have posession of drugs no, i would not like my privacy invaded like that, i think the school acted honorably to protect other children from drugs, they did not kick up a stink so who are you to make that happen this is not fair.

  2. Former student...
    Former student... says:

    …who didn’t get caught!

    Nothing changes. While I dont care about the drugs issue either, why would the school take this action on the drugs issue? Schools are about the children that go there arent they? Well lets see what is going on. Expelling kids for drug use is not developing those children it is palming off a problem. If the school is only about nurturing the best and to hell with the rest then this policy fits rather well. Especially if the policy has exceptions for the best. In this situation exclusions can be applied as a tool for pruning and control of the school population by those in charge. The effect will be to selectively moderate the range of behaviour exhibited. We should probably expect the school management team to behave in this way cf Zimbardo’s 1960s prison guards experiment and imagine that applied to the roles of teacher and head teacher in this circumstance with the pupils as the erstwhile prisoners. The management will be expected by their role to fulfill the role of ‘prototypical’ public school management teams and to behave accordingly to ‘protect’ the school and to uphold what they regard are the fundamentals. The pupils will be disciplined according to the what the management team percieves are the needs of the school not according to the needs of these pupils. The punishment is not about these children. It is about what the management team needs the punishment to be.

  3. Briony
    Briony says:

    I have attended the King’s School Ely for two years and am about to enter my final year there. I can safely say that I have experienced none of this bias from the teachers and love it at this school. Yes, there are some instances of drug abuse, but not within school grounds or boarding houses. I think the people who left some of the comments are speaking from experiences quite a few years ago and therefore should not be qualified to comment upon the school nowadays.
    As for the person who quoted one (probably the only one) piece of evidence supporting the use of cannabis, all I have to say is that it is still an illegal substance which can have all sorts of effects on different people and can directly and indirectly result in death. These law breakers, and any other young people introducing illegal substances into the happy King’s community, and any other community for that matter, should be expelled and cautioned by the law.

  4. 2 old eleans
    2 old eleans says:

    As 2 ex-pupils of the school, we have been reading through these comments with interest, and have to say that sadly a lot of the issues raised are certainly true, especially concerning the school’s hierarchy and tendency to favour certain pupils who are either Oxbridge candidates, incredibly sporty or above all, talented musicians.

    King’s is a very image-conscious place, so much so that one year they made 2 boys both captains of the rugby 1st team, one who was a better rugby player to actually captain the team, and the other – being the current head of school – to look good and read out the reports and get their photo in the papers etc. Also, it is true that many of the teaching staff, particularly those who have been there for a long time, have become rather disillusioned and as a result have let teaching standards slip. Also a few of the new teachers are worryingly underqualified and some are completely unable to cope with the pupils.

    Nevertheless we have to admit that we have both done very well at King’s, made fantastic, life-long friends and benefited from all aspects including sport, drama and of course the lessons. We would recommend the school but would advise prospective parents that it helps if you are at least 1 of the following: a) very confident, b) clever c) sporty and above all d) very musical – as this is the particular field in which the headmistress Mrs Freestone seems to be most interested.

    King’s gets a lot of stick, some of it well deserved, but you cannot deny it is a beautiful school in fantastic surroundings and of course every private school comes under fire for certain issues – when people are paying that much money it is inevitable that expectations will be very high and not always met.

    ps. Sorry but we don’t really care about the drugs stuff, it happens everywhere. If they really want to stop people taking drugs at school, knock down Cherry Hill.

  5. Joining Kings in September
    Joining Kings in September says:

    I will be joining the sixth form this september from overseas. From all the comments i have read above, I feel very uneasy. Although my cousins tell me i will be fine.
    I am not shaky about the cannabis issue but about the comments from students about the behaviour of the school and also the behaviour of teachers to students from overseas.I hope all this will not happen during my stay in the sixth form.
    I don’t understand wat the uniform of the sixth form is like can somebody tell me wat it is like?
    One more thing….I hope the sixth form will not be treated as slaves.
    I hope to enjoy my stat the school.

  6. Moving in Sixth Form Now
    Moving in Sixth Form Now says:

    Everyone, i believe that this is not realy a debate, i mean if Kings is soo bad, then how come on the new sixth form, almost 85% of people are staying. hmm, ill answer that one myself, Kings is awesome, for such a comparatively small school, the sport is fantastic, last year getting to the final of a national cup (Crusader Cup) and this year in fact winning the crusader cup thanks to me scoring the winning goal from 35 yards (just had to mention that) and a group of extremely talented lads who beat Oundle 1-0, a school with over double the amount of students that we have.
    So many people love Kings and so do I. I do believe that being sporty has its rewards as you are instantly higher in the schools hidden hierachy. Fortunately for me, i am at the higher end of the hierachy. But even the people who are not sporty still have lots of friends. the drugs thing hasnt happened since at all. End of.

  7. King's Student
    King's Student says:

    Well this is a very interesting discussion and i must admit i have quite a few things to say.
    M Kumar you have nothing to worry about, yes their are people who are involved with drugs but no more than any other private school in the area, (considering we at king’s know a lot of people at the other schools). I have been attending the school since reception and am now in the process of moving into 6th form, and not once have i been interested in trying drugs, it really isn’t a case of being at the school it’s the frame of mind that the person has.

    I think the school dealt well with the problem. It was cleared up quickly and they acted on the problem. We had a visit and a talk by a policeman specialising in the drugs section and a talk by an ex-member of the school who’s life had taken a wrong turn and he had become a drug addict. The talk helped me and i am sure many others understand that drugs realy are the wrong way to go.

    “ringleader” so many of your comments are not the complete truth because ofcourse you feel angry about the matter so ofcourse all comments will be biased. I find it interesting how your angry that the guy who tryed drugs who was a member of the 1st rugby team was punished but not expelled, when you who did not try in class and didn’t do sport, so basicaly did not contribute to school life, and supplied the drugs to others was expelled. Don’t you feel that you have answered your own question!

  8. Kevin Parker
    Kevin Parker says:

    It would appear you have taken this item a little too seriously Mr. Burgess.

    (To me), it looks like the author’s tongue is firmly in-cheek although based on truth.

    That said, I do not understand why the parent who said ‘there is no need to deploy tactics reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition in bringing those pupils to book’. If an adult was caught at work smoking ‘pot’ I’m sure they would be sacked!

  9. The only critical reader
    The only critical reader says:

    In all honesty, I feel that the article its self makes the writer, Karl Bedingfield look like a total prick.
    Now I am aware that journalists are expected to make their stories engaging and eye-catching but “Cannabis shocker” sounds like a cheesy game show from the Netherlands.
    This wasn’t aided by prevalent pathetic, snidey comments such as “The parents of these pot smoking dopeheadz…” and of course the finale: “Let’s hope the ringleader wasn’t your child then madam!” which simply made me want to vomit.
    Mr. Bedingfield, I suggest you begin searching for a new career option as somehow, I don’t think becoming a writer was the right decision.

    Jeremy Burgess

  10. Student At Kings
    Student At Kings says:

    Im very soory to here some of the comments above.
    Kings is a great school where you can make life long friends. The teaching is great and many of the teachers have descoered things that not many state school teachers could have realised.
    I webt to a stat school for 1 year and in that year i had a good time but i wasnt learning very much, and my sporting achievements were lacking.
    Since joining kings i have learnt soo much, and even though i am not very bright i am now prdicted bs and as at gcse.
    Also sport has become a major part of my life as i now play county rugby, eastern counties football and district cricket.

    If you want your child to have a decent education and a good life after school then Kings is a great place to be.

    I do feel that drugs and bullying do not go on much now as no one has been suspended or expelled for drugs since this incident.


  11. Martin Ford
    Martin Ford says:

    Well that was very interesting reading.

    I could see the typical snobs point of view and the real point of view “from the street”.

    Thankfully my memories from the years spent at KSE are fading (my age perhaps lol).

    I left in ’77’ to follow a career in law enforcement (perhaps I should have enlisted in the KSE private army when I graduated Police College!!)

    Anyway, as a non-drug person (Not by choice but it never came up…) and former law enforcement professional I had a strict zero tolerance policy of my own growing up but as you go through life you see that drugs are everywhere and are a fact of life so GET OVER IT all you stuck up wankers who think that you are all better than the rest of us!!

    As you can tell, I did not go to KSE because of wealth in the family, it was due to a family loss and consequent insurance settlement that freed up the cash and my Mother thinking that she was doing the right thing to ship her nearly uncontrollable children off to boarding school, dutifully sent us off to be educated… how did it go you might ask..

    Well TWO things stand out (Not necessarily in this order)

    1. Sports (rugby, Rowing etc)
    2. Girls (yummy)

    I managed to get through the academic side of things, but just barely but the lasting impression that I have would ensure that I would NEVER pur any of my children through the same experience… I repeat NEVER!!

    I would much rather that they went to school with regular people and had regular friends etc… there is enough pressure within the boundaries of school life to “fit in” and with any boarding school where the elite go, you are judged by the bank account of your parents, what you have, who you know etc… just a bunch of fake people with no real substance or idea what real life is all about.

    Well that was a fun rant, as you can tell, there is a lot more where that came from but I will leave it now to see if there are any others out there from my era that want to “Pipe up”

    I was at Walsingham house and left in 1977.

    Cheers to you all from Canada 🙂

  12. Student
    Student says:

    M Kumar

    ‘ringleader’ left 3 years ago and yes the school has changed and is changing.

    I bet anybody that if you ask the 6th form if they ‘hate’ the school i bet about 95% would say know.

    and ‘ringleader’ you dont know anybody at school anymore.

  13. Student
    Student says:

    I think teachers children have to pay now adays i’m not entirely sure, but thats what ive heard.

    On another note if you’d been expelled then surely your views on the school are going to be abit one-sided?

    I mean no doubt i dont believe in some of the things that the schools done, last year we applied for uni and i got a sense that if you applied for oxbridge then they basically pampered you all the way through the process, but then there are things that the school has done that are great.

    Kings is one of the smallest public schools i know and considering that we do f*cking well.

    The 1sts rugby got to the semi-final of the Eastern counties cup and the top 20 of East Anglia. 3 years ago we only won 2 games this season we won 7 or 8.

    The 1sts Netball team yesterday won a netball tournament against considerably larger schools like RHS and Greshams.

    1sts football last year got to the final of the crusader cup and this year have got through the group stages.

    I’m not such an academic soul but I know for a fact that we do well considering the size.

    Musically the school is incredible, the music festival was as competitive as ever and was wide open for the public.

    Finally in drama we staged the Wizard of Oz. Which at times was testing but when it came to the shows it was the best i’ve ever seen.

    So know matter what i love this school and am dreading the day i leave.

  14. 'ringleader'
    'ringleader' says:

    Are you honestly saying the only way to make lifelong friends and do well in Kings is to be a border? well I’m sorry to say, if u don’t know, that in order to board at Kings its another third of the price added on. Not many people are able to afford that but you wouldn’t know that because choristers attend free!!

    A ‘life long’ friend of mine, who i didn’t meet while boarding at Kings, his dad is the head of custodian issues at Kings and has worked hard for them for years, any DIY that is done throughout the school is his work and is top quality work. Teachers children attend free and Kings refused to give this man the same privilege when he is just as important to the school as any other member. So they made a compromise! They would let his son attend free if he became a chorister. My friend is a very good singer and always has been. The school was under the knowledge that the family already had a son at Ely college. They refused to let him in because his tonsils were too big and he was at too bigger risk to having them out for tonsillitis. 11 years later and he has never had this or any other problem with his tonsils.

    When I was not doing so well at kings because i had these learning difficulties that the school failed to identify (which no matter what people say is 100% the schools responsibility) My tutor met with my parents and claimed it wasn’t their fault i wasn’t doing well it was due to the people i was hanging around with, particularly one bald headed friend of mine who my tutor claimed he had looked into and was the worst student in Soham village college. The boy in question was the boy i talked about earlier, the custodians son, who attends Ely college. The school had lied to save their own backs.

    I attend a school in which it already feels like you are being individually tutored (one because there is a teacher to student system and two because classes are already small) and its because of school policy that that happens, not because everyone leaves and its a matter of circumstance. It is called CCSS (Cambridge centre for sixth form studies) after attending to both i recommend this college.

  15. Current student
    Current student says:

    M Kumar

    I am in year 13 and joint King’s in year 2. Acremont was great i have the fondest of memories, I joint Junior school as a Chorister and to be honest it was the best decision my parents ever made for me at such a young age. I have near brother like friends and can really rely on them in any situations with them.

    I know being a chorister requires you to be a boarder but again it was the best thing for me. I think it depends on who you are.

    At the end of year 11 for me alot of my friends did leave and i know of about 60% who miss King’s so much. Only yesterday i was in cambridge and bumped into an old best friend who’d left to a college, he said it was the biggest mistake of his life.

    Yes i have friends that regret not leaving and i have friends who regret leaving, but again i really believe it depends on your personality.

    The fact that so many “flee from kings in packs leaving a very small number behind” is actually quite benefitial to the remaining students. Class sizes shrink which makes it feel like your being individually tutored.

    In conclusion so much depends on your personality and how easy you find it to make friends. I’ll respect any opinions if you love or hate the place. But I love it. If you want to get on well and make life long friends be a boarder.

  16. ExPat
    ExPat says:

    Interesting comments that underline and reinforce my experiences of the place. Yes, I heard about drugs, mainly puff, being taken, but never saw any evidence of it. Drinking, smoking and bullying seemed to be the preferred vice of most of the scholars and prefects. The School needed an enema back then, and it appears from all of these comments that it is still a fetid and rank place.

  17. 'ringleader'
    'ringleader' says:

    M Kumar, obviously my opinion of kings is not going to be very impressive but I wish to give u the honest advice from someone who went there and still knows people who go there to this day.
    The comment left above by anon is a perfectly reasonable point of view, however is from the part of the school that is gets the good side of the deal. Most students in kings are not part of this.
    King’s will never change because it is too impressed by its own reputation. The education on paper at kings is extremely impressive but this is not worth the quality of life that the student receives. In order for kings to sustain their reputation they have to control every aspect of the student’s life and they try absolutely to do this. For example, nowadays if a student wants to have a party (even in summer time!) a teacher from the school has to be there to watch over the party and collect information on who breaks rules nd punish them for it later.
    I never knew anyone who liked kings while they were there nd now are so happy they left. Nd the people who are still there hate it! when the GCSE’s come around in the summer nd students start to think about where to go to college they flee from kings in packs leaving a very small number behind. Whats even less encouraging about this is that the parents are more than happy, keen even for there kids to leave. Kings will never improve in that aspect

  18. Philip Cutts
    Philip Cutts says:

    I can tell unequivocally your son will be in the best hands under Mrs Blake, she is excellent and was a major loss to Acremont. You need not worry about your son under her care.

  19. M Kumar
    M Kumar says:

    I am planning to send my 8yr old son to King’s School, Ely. Very disappointed to read all of the above comments. Would very much like to know if situation is still the same now in 2008 or if it has improved.

  20. Anon
    Anon says:

    I had a great time at Kings and feel that a lot of the work I did there has set me up for the future.
    The school have a anti-drug/smoking policy and as someone mentioned above “its whether you get caught or not” is quite a true statement but unless the school gets constant CCTV then it will always be a minority of people getting caught. Also, if you know the school don’t approve, why do it?? Oh…peer pressure…I had plenty of that in my time and managed to survive.
    I personally feel that if you’re going to do something wrong, you’ll have to accept the consequences if you get found out.

    It always amuses me when people get caught smoking or drinking and get punished and then rant on about how unfair it is. Simple answer, don’t do it!

  21. Former Student
    Former Student says:

    As a former King’s student from “overseas” I can only agree with several points made above.
    This school truly isnt worth the money it costs and I would never recommend it to anyone.
    I am not saying that every single teacher at Kings is incompetent, but a lot of them certainly are. (I have experienced lessons where a certain teacher would play music to us instead of teaching us.)
    It is also true that students who represent the school are treated differntly from students who dont.
    Also, I had the impression, (and a lot of other students from overseas agreed with me)that several teachers automatically branded “foreign” students as stupid and/or with no potential, instead of supporting them, which I found very unfair.
    From a school, which has such a high percentage of foreign students, i would clearly expect more.
    Also I have found Mrs. Freestone to be an arrogant, not in the slightest interested to help, or see problems from a “non-marketing point of view” person.

    Finally, i can only say that my time at Kings did have a lot of positive sides due to the many friends I found there, but, if I could go back in time i certainly would not apply to this school again.

  22. Rob K
    Rob K says:

    When I was a pupil in the 70’s the then headmaster, who was also a JP said if ever found anyone using any drugs the police would be called in. There was plenty of drug taking going on but he never did. No shock it’s always been going on.

  23. 'ringleader'
    'ringleader' says:

    I was one of these ‘troubled children’ in fact you could of said I was one of the ringleaders.

    I was never caught in possession of any substance and the amount that was recovered was so small that it was not even remotely smokable.

    In being part of the school I was mostly part of the drama department and was never a sportsman or on any team at any time. However I did have problems with teachers as I was considered lazy, arrogant and with a lack of caring. I would sit in class not doing any work because i genuinely had no idea wot I was being told to do but I was branded a trouble maker. Bullied by tutors nd some teachers, dipping in nd out of depression and believing that there was something wrong with me.

    After being expelled and being denied special needs many times because i was ‘just making excuses’ I attended a knew college nd within a month of being there I was aware of having three learning difficulties that Kings never spotted in 11 nd a half years.

    The whole issue began because fellow students attending a party on a Saturday night asked me to bring cannabis as they did not know how to get it themselves.

    I first heard about the schools involvement in the issue when my friend who had just been interviewed approached me with the words ‘you are fucked!’ My friend who attended this party smoked it with me, rolled it for me and got pretty high himself however was a very skilled rugby player on the 1st team nd after his interview seemed to be let of scot free. I went to the office myself to sort get it over with nd was rather quickly expelled the next day after being TOLD that I had supplied weed to nine people nd that I was no longer welcome there. This was what I was expelled for! Nobody was walking around clearly smoking weed at a disco or anything like that.

    Last thing, a boy had recently joined Kings under a drug contract as he had been asked to leave by a previous school. He was Expelled for this issue to. However wot is not known is that I was left alone in a room with statements from pupils nd read them. In none of them did it say anything about this boy. Nobody had excused him of anything nd the school ruined his second chance to save their overblown name.

    Don’t believe everything you here because its easy to blame me when you only know one side of the story.

  24. Present Pupil
    Present Pupil says:

    This is an interesting article and string of comments.

    One of the students expelled was a close friend and I knew a few of the others only slightly, although I have never smoked dope and never intend to I believe I have a right to express my views especially being a current student.

    I would not agree with many comments of the school being sh*t (frankly) however I do see some truths hidden within the lies.

    I do agree that certain students seem to be treated less harshly due to status as a sportsman and students don’t seem to have a fair chance to give their own side when discipline is handled by senior management (quite the opposite in-house).

    Bringing back rugby was certainly NOT a publicity stunt, surely bringing back a major sport after the previous head removed it due to ridiculous health and safety grounds is a stroke of clear thinking and understanding? This is especially true when parents and students were calling for its return and pupils were leaving due to its loss.

    A lot of money has indeed been spent on smart-boards and more should have been invested in sports and the ELY SCHEME (The scheme aims to introduce all boys and girls to as wide a range of activities as possible through a compulsory programme in Year 9. One afternoon each week, in groups of a dozen, they try a different activity, experiencing about 25 over the year.) seen as these are indeed the schools best features. Things are already changing with the installation of a gym so already things are improving.

    Most of the people complaining about the school seem to be expellees and as such surely their view is blinkered by bitter feelings towards the school.

    The putting of hands up claim is false and nearly all the teachers are of a high standard and I am yet to come across one who uses his/her own phone in lessons.

    Overall the school is excellent and both the school and students have made (and always will make) mistakes which can be argued upon however surely expelling the few drug users does do greater good for the whole school community.

  25. Simon R
    Simon R says:

    Ron Burgundy (amusing name, by the way) What’s your point? That I was at school some time ago means I am not entitled to give some context to the partial report and criticisms of those who express grudges poorly?

    How old are you, by the way. I’m guessing you are a child.

  26. Ron Burgundy
    Ron Burgundy says:

    “I was at Ely from 82-91 and cannabis was sparingly mentioned. It is plainly no more of a problem for the school than it is many (if not all) others”

    So you are quite in touch with the school now then? Considering most of the people expelled were not even born when you were at Ely?

  27. Anonymous 2
    Anonymous 2 says:

    “Firstly someone said a prefect and highly recognised musician was only suspended for drugs well that’s when Mr Youdale”, please get your facts straight, this occurred while the current head was in charge!

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Well i am a pupil at King’s and i love it!

    I’m not your top class straight a student as u will probably find out from my terrible punctuation and spelling. But I’ve just dragged my way through the previous 18 comments of how the school USED to be!

    Let’s give you an update. Firstly someone said a prefect and highly recognised musician was only suspended for drugs well thats when Mr Youdale was in charge who prepared pupils with the wrong syllabus for exams. Secondly a couple of those guys who got expelled i think had been caught before, i know one for a fact was expelled from his old school for drugs and was excepted into king’s. So he did repeat a mistake! There is only one teacher I can think of now who openly goes on his mobile in lessons and yes he is sh*t at teaching. I haven’t been told to stick m hand up when i see visitors.

    So what all you have said is how it used to be. I am in the year group that this happened to and i agree drugs is one of those things that happens and i’ve done it. Finally come on a ban on drinking seriously do expect that to be carried out!

    I’ve spent ten glorious years and can’t wait to complete my 6th form.


  29. Simon R
    Simon R says:

    What absolute tosh. Many emails from disgruntled former pupils, nothing constructive and very little that reflects the reality of schools across the UK. The original article was horribly written, presumably by someone in early childhood, and as the list of comments continues it becomes increasingly difficult to take seriously the coments of poeple how cant spel! I was at Ely from 82-91 and cannabis was sparingly mentioned. It is plainly no more of a problem for the school than it is many (if not all) others. The question is whether the actions taken by the school were right. Personally, I think they were too heavy handed. But I’m a criminal lawyer, and one could easily define many acts of bullying as robbery. It’s a question of perspective.

  30. Jimbob
    Jimbob says:

    Having been through a simmilar experience myself as a youngster, I feel it is important to reiterate that expelling pupils at this age is no light matter and can do huge damage to an individuals sense of who they are. In respect of the pupils, on whom one writer glibly commented, ‘it’s their own fault they can’t study there’. I would say, yes it is, but what good is that knowledge to do them? Isn’t our job as adults/educators to help young people when they mess up, rather than gloat?

    Another reader, mentions a fellow ‘expellee’ taking their own life. Although, it couldn’t possibly be attributed wholly to his previous expulsion, I bet it helped him to feel like life had it in for him.

    Cannabis, whatever us old crumblies may think, is a normal and actually comparitvely harmless part of growing up along with drinking cheap wine and doing rude things with people you don’t like, it’s just one of those obstacles that seem to crop up. To treat CHILDREN like they’ve been caught jacking up Heroine when they’ve shared a joint between 5 (20?!) is just not fair, and makes these ‘teachers’ the enemies of youth. They’re only little, even at 18, and sometimes we forget that.

  31. AMJR...
    AMJR... says:

    ‘More people get expelled from state schools than private schools for taking drugs’. What a ridiculous statement based upon several assumptions, which indicates an obvious sheltered up bringing. Getting into private schools has nothing to do with being ‘clever’. It has everything to do with money. I was educated at both private and state schools and I would say that they were definitely different, but I wouldn’t say that one was necessary better than the other. The pupils who were ‘envolved’ (Should have been involved!!!) were not ‘stupid’ they were/are young and foolish. We all make mistakes; it is when you do not learn from your mistakes that you can be classed as ‘stupid’. I hope the author of the comment made at 6:39pm on 11/1/07 will learn from his/her mistakes and consequently become a little more educated and open-minded!

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Can i just say that the article above is very biased and obviously written by someone who has something against private schools. More people get expelled from state schools than private schools for taking drugs, and if the writer is still annoyed for not being clever enough to get into a private school, then he is certainly showing it. Expressions such as ‘high maintenance’ are ridiculous and if you spent 5 minutes at a school like this then you would see how stupid this is. The comments from disgruntled students are only a tiny proportion of the actual student body, although I agree drugs are wrong and the pupils envolved were stupid, this site has presented the article in a very, very biased way!

  33. R A
    R A says:

    I admire and applaud JW for his honest contribution. ‘Truly bizarre’, I couldn’t have put it better myself. I hope JW is both well and more than content.

    Many of my friends say that their ‘school days were the best days of their lives’, they certainly were not for me! I understand and appreciate that I was a ‘nightmare’ student, but I now work in a school and in comparison to the students I work with I was an angel.

    If I had a time machine, yes I would go back and do things very differently, but we were young and our mistakes were meant to be made.

  34. JW
    JW says:

    Well, 9 years after being expelled for smoking the most minute quantity of cannabis at this school, i feel the topic has rattled around my brain long enough for me to have a little rant.

    I was in the same year as Mr Ayers and on the particular occasion when he was suspended (my exclusion coming at a later date) no fewer than c.20 pupils were suspended for merely having one puff on a dooby whilst out on one of the schools highly coveted outdoor pursuits weekends – ridiculously heavy handed if you ask me.

    At the time of my expulsion, i was a very confused and insecure person due to the fact that i had been part of a group of around thirty pupils taken into questioning by police with regard to sexual harrassment ‘claims’ made by a male pupil against a male teacher.

    I say claims in inverted commas because the teacher was cleared of all accusations, wrongly i must add, and if the teacher and any of his little minions are reading this – you know what happened and if you sit back and think back to those times, it was pretty f***ed up and you know it.

    The teacher was also asked to leave the school, giving rise to certain conspiricy theories in my mind. (backhanders so that no bad publicity could be given against a very publicity minded school?)

    Neither myself nor any of the other pupils involved received any form of counselling or support from the school. I wasn’t able to discuss it with my parents as i was a full-time boarder and it was too embarrasing a topic to even bring up with them.

    I was expelled for smoking a small quantity of cannabis with three other pupils and a few more were suspended for minor involvement. One of the pupils sadly passed away a few years later in tragic circumstances taking his own life.

    None of us were ‘high (boom boom) achievers’ and, as mentioned in previous comments, i can remember a year before we were expelled a King’s Scholar (one of the ultra clever sixth formers who would get to wear a red gown in Cathedral) was found to have a large amount of cannabis in school and was only suspended.

    I appreciate what i did was bad, but i feel a level of consistency needs to be installed as far as punishment goes.

    Anyhow, there goes my little rant. By the way, if the school thought by expelling me i would have learned my lesson, they are sadly, sadly wrong and i have loved every moment i have had since leaving that truly bizarre school.

  35. Billy
    Billy says:

    Sadly, I too would agree with many of the comments above. The school, like many, worries so much about marketing and perceptions that they often worry about how a school is being run.

    It is a damning statement that the students in the limelight are protected from almost any punishment, but true- Sportsmen, prefects, and scholars alike.

    Also agreeing with Dubya, the new head came with the impression that big changes were afoot, but the school seems to not have reaped many of the benefits of this, apart from a costly new school uniform, which would “unify” the school, and the reintroduction of rugby, which to most in the school appeared to be some ghastly publicity stunt, and a pointless waste of time.

    Teaching at the school can be described at best as variable, and there is a real sense of “success breeds success” – the best performers are nurtured and cared for, and the ones who are not as talented are often put aside. Teachers often arrive late to lessons and do not put in full attention to teaching when they are there, sometimes even using their mobile phones for personal use in the lesson!

    The coveted “Ely Scheme” that Dubya speaks of is certainly a shouted about activity, and enjoyable in Year 9, but once past that stage, it is all but forgotten about unless you are a keen outward-bounder, and then you must pay more above the already massive fees.

    The school also in my mind has a culture of waste, with massive amounts of money going on things like projectors and new “smart” whiteboards, when they are barely used. Along with this, the management seem to have a zomby-like obsession with flowers, such is the rate that they are replanted- of course only in the places where visitors will see them- the theatre and the headmistresses office.

    And, to get back to the topic of the story, drugs- it is not that big an issue and I applaud the school for taking action, but then maybe the school could also do something about the epidemic drinking problems that happen across the board, something which I’m sure is detrimental to health.

    Sadly, it is the case that the school seems to be a media-centre- brilliant at making a school that will appeal to prospective parents, but not much like the cover once you start reading it.

  36. Dubya
    Dubya says:

    Sadly most of these comments are true. Kings was always terribly biased towards those who were in the limelight. The upper management does suffer delusions of grandeur. Mrs Freestone came to the school under the guise that she was a mover and a shaker, but for the past three years it would appear that not a single decision has been made.
    The outward image of the school is one steeped in history and culture but from the inside it is a pedantic and dull place. The lack of any serious encouragement from staff is damning; not mentioning the bullying and childish attitudes of some staff.
    The Ely scheme was the one saving grace of Kings, offering a unique outdoor pursuits program. This, however, like most of kings is listing badly and is likely to be sunk due to overzealous and poorly considered timetabling.
    I would not inflict that much suffering and petty bickering upon my children. Ever.

  37. A pupil
    A pupil says:

    As a pupil attending the school, Kings has been working hard to destroy the use and thought of using drugs. Our Head, Mrs Susan Freestone, has done weel as no incidents have occured since that time.
    All respect to the school.
    I look forward to my future years

  38. C
    C says:

    AnOnYmOuS, I can’t agree with you more! How you are dealt with is entirely dependant on how you are perceived to represent the school. It also has something to do with your family background.

    Equality is certainly a nice IDEA – at least they taught me that much. Just don’t give up on the ideal! Sounds like things haven’t changed too much in the last decade.

    If I had believed that “these are the best years of your life,” I would be no more. Thankfully an EX-Elean.

    I say lighten up, better to ban alcohol!

  39. Robert Ayers
    Robert Ayers says:

    As a former pupil of the Kings School Ely I was temporarily suspended from school for smoking cannabis. A high percentage of the UK’s population has smoked cannabis at some point in their lives. Yes it is illegal and no it shouldn’t be accepted in any school environment, however I know of plenty of teachers who have smoked cannabis in their youth and some still do. The trick is not getting caught!

  40. Martin
    Martin says:

    ‘can in some cases help children to concentrate and then sleep’

    hmmm, it never did this for me when I was a schoolkid, quite the opposite in fact…

  41. Bob
    Bob says:

    This is an outrage. If the children want to smoke illeage substances then they should be allowed it has been found in numerous scientific research that cannabis can in some cases help children to concentrate and then sleep ( university college oxford)

  42. xXAn0nYm0uSXx
    xXAn0nYm0uSXx says:

    Well this is rather amusing, every year I was there someone was caught doing drugs or smoking or something else illegal… yet normally they were suspended (occasionally people were expelled – local newspapers never found out, but it depended on who you were and whether you represented them at sport or music (that how I see it)!!) I can remember last year a person 2 years above me was caught doing the same thing as these people, yet I seem to remember he was only suspended; now I wonder why? Could that be anything to do with how he played music and represented the school?

    Basically in my own opinion at this school it depends on whether you represent the school or not as to how severely you get punished!
    Also there is quite a lot of bullying that goes on there from what I can remember, a guy in the final year was actually threatened with a deodorant can and a lighter (flame-thrower), what happened to the people who threatened him? One got a detention yes, a detention and a couple got letters to their parents – anyone else would have got expelled…but no…a scholar and prefect were involved and they could not expel a scholar as it would cause bad publicity.
    Someone manages to have a fight with someone each day also, when its an open day or visitors are expected everyone is told to clean up everywhere and look smart, ohh and we get told to put our hands up in classes if visitors walk by the window! No joke!
    some of the teachers swear…
    some will even answer phone calls in class while teaching…
    yet they tell students to turn their phones off…
    someone there is seriously biased!
    They make the sixth form act as slaves…that’s one of the reasons I left…they make them clear up at break times, do the registration, look after the houses, shut all the windows…like the teachers and cleaners aren’t paid to do that?

    There is nothing special about this school, its a waste of money…who knows what they do with all the money they get, the amount of people that just go for a smoke at break and never get caught its pathetic, it might as well be called City of Ely, you can get all the criminals there without having to pay £12,000 per term…King’s is permanently after publicity, dropping and restarting rugby was just do get publicity, that’s how King’s really was…nothing special!

  43. S
    S says:

    I agree with GJ. Whilst I was there I also saw people expelled for drug use. There is consistent treatment and I feel it was the right thing to do. Peer pressure is high in all schools and removing the students protects many others. Parents are paying a large amount of money to send their children to this exclusive school and expect the environment to reflect this. These students were lucky to be at the school and it is their own fault that they are no longer able to study there.

  44. GJ
    GJ says:

    The title of this is “The King’s School Ely In Cannabis Shocker”. As a former pupil of the school I can easily say this is no shocker. Every year I attended Kings at least one person was expelled or suspended over drugs.

  45. Philip Cutts
    Philip Cutts says:

    This kind of incident and activity is replicated all over the UK, and I feel that parents, LEA’s and society on the whole fail these children. Why is it that so many children today do not have the confidence and competence to engage in a productive way with others. There are many who are painfully shy and insecure in many of their surroundings and their spirit and talents are left to dissolve. All children need building up and it falls to every member of sociaty to ivolve themselves in this task.Failure to do so, I feel, will lead to mass insurrection from a future generation. I have however seen a great ray of hope, specifically in education and in Ely. The establishment in question believes and delivers a foundation for strong mental and physical growth for children, regardless, I may add, of their background. These professionals work together with the children so that we will see in the future a caring and responsible adult.

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