Jenn Ashworth: Why I refused to go to school

“But isn’t it also true that there are plenty of adults (most, perhaps) who would not choose to spend their days locked into a series of rooms with 30 people dressed just like them; to be startled by a bell every 35 minutes; to queue for 40 minutes of a 50-minute lunch break in order to eat; to stand outside in the cold for 15 minutes twice a day; to be told to “shoo” when standing in the wrong place; to be forced to sit on a sports hall floor in rows and be lectured at for 20 minutes twice a week; and, most of all, to be bored, bored, bored out of your mind – bored to the point of depression, to the point of rage.”

“I have worked in a prison. It is not that different. Most grown-ups would not volunteer to spend five years of their life like this. This is what I wanted to say then and what I still want to say now: disliking mainstream school and declining to take part in it is not an illness. It is not a mental health problem, or a behavioural problem.”