Jane Campbell: Imaginary School

Jane was born in 1959 in Surrey and attended a local special school from age six to age sixteen. She then went on to a residential special college in Coventry, going on from there to University.

Here Jane recalls creating a false identity for her local friends.

  • Jane Campbell
  • Jane Campbell
  • Jane Campbell


So when I was at home with my friends from the street, my local friends – by then I had a really good friend called Sue. And I decided I would have to create a school life so that I could feel equal and talk to my friends at home. And I was really very, very sort of keen – well, I remember I refused to allow, or to invite, anyone around before 4:30 because I didn’t want them to see that I was being dropped off in the school bus with loads of other 'crips'. I didn’t tell them anything about my special school and my special school life and I created another school. And I got my mother, my poor mother, to go and source a school uniform that I could wear. And I remember she even managed to get me a badge at the jumble sale to sew onto the blazer. And so I was in my school uniform and I had this briefcase, this satchel, that I would put all my sister’s castoffs, maths books, history books – and I got my mum to buy me some of these books, you know, these books with lines, the books you had, and I would create my school. And I even went to the extent of doing my homework with my friends, doing things like mathematics and equations that I had no clue about whatsoever. And looking back, it makes me think, oh my gosh, I was a pathological liar. I’m happy to say though now, I always tell the truth and nothing but the truth, but in those days half my life was a complete fraud.

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