Choose your tribe: chav, pikey, jock or loser

16th September 2005 at 01:00
We have a poster tacked up at various places in our school which says:

Our school expects:

A learning environment

Politeness

Your best effort

To move around the school safely

Obey all instructions

None of these rules is obeyed. My school is full of drugs and disaster and a dangerous group of kids: the pikeys. They are scary and should be avoided at all costs. They have large amounts of money which they spend on huge medallions, sovereign rings, necklaces as thick as bike chains, and diamonds as big as rocks that hang from their earlobes. They wear hoodies which reach to their knees, low-rise jeans and either tiny, or really big, white trainers.

The main difference between a pikey and a chav is that a pikey is not afraid to stare. A chav will look away, frightened of getting in trouble, but a pikey shows no fear. Pikeys tend not to talk - they murmur - whereas a chav's vocabulary goes about as far as the four "-nnits": innit, wonnit, dunnit, and hannit.

Then there are the "popular girls". If we were in the United States they would be the cheerleaders. They spend lessons flirting with boys, brushing their hair and checking that their lip-gloss is still shiny. I call them "popular", but they don't actually seem to like each other. As long as they look pretty, are emotionally and mentally in their early 20s, and have a few boyfriends on the go, mates don't matter. My definition of popular means having a lot of friends, but they've each got about 10 "frenemies" (a friend who is really your enemy).

The ever popular "jocks", the boys who are on every sports team, are not particularly nasty, but good luck trying to have a conversation with them if you're not the sporty type. They spend their lunchtimes playing rugby or flexing their muscles in front of "the popular girls". After school it's time for a work-out or perhaps a tournament of some kind. In assembly they are constantly going up to collect awards; it's amazing they don't get repetitive strain injury from all that trophy lifting.

The "swots" sit at the front of the class and are always the first to put their hands up. They don't struggle in any area of their education and, I suspect, spend their "enjoyment time" massaging their temples over a cryptic crossword. Strange as it seems, they genuinely enjoy sitting in the library at break. They're picked on by the jocks most, as jocks don't care for people who study.

Which leads me to the "losers". Picked on by everyone, even teachers, I don't know how this bunch gets by. They really seem like complete failures.

They have annoying voices, "ankle swinger" trousers and tend to smell. They hang with the swots, but even the swots hate them.

You could say there is pressure to belong in a place like this. As soon as the new recruits arrive, you can tell immediately which group they will join. I don't think this is a bad thing; there will never be a world where there is no judgment, and everyone is equal. If anything I feel it has motivated me. I see pikeys and I think, "I don't want to end up like that".

I see swots and think, "I want to do better than them". It's not who your friends are, it's your education that counts.

The writer is a 14-year-old at a London comprehensive.She wants to remain anonymous

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now