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Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
Free
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Postby Free » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:13 pm

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ET
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Postby ET » Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:03 am

Yes it is isn't it? Particularly the section about his Will - seems certain followers of McLaren aren't too happy with the way his personal effects have been treated since his death.

Could it be that the SES are riding roughshod over someone else's feelings and wishes?? I can't believe it! Can you?! :fadein:

The rest of it is just the same dross he came out with all his life, IMHO - I tried to read some of it, but my eyes kept slipping from the page. The current "quote of the month" is hilarious in that it makes very little sense at all. He wasn't that articulate, was he?

Plus the "History" page glosses over the beginnings of the SES, making it sound like it was all dear Leon's idea, instead of being something quite different that was set up by Andrew McLaren and then taken over and turned into what it is today by his wierd son.

It would be funny if it wasn't so serious, wouldn't it?
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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Postby Free » Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:20 pm

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Postby ET » Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:58 am

Free wrote:He seems to have disavowed these people, both by declaring the leadership to be over, and by leaving his copyright to all his works--which formed the basis for the SES and St James teachings--to his assistant rather than the new leadership.


Interestingly, if you click on the Will and read it, it also says that he wanted to make all his papers and books available to Mr. Lambie, who he was passing the leadership of the SES over to. So it would seem he wasn't so keen to "disinherit" the school, but that, as you say, he perhaps didn't trust the people now leading the organisation enough to completely sign over the copyright to them. But then that might have been more due to his own paranoia than any real need to distrust them.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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Postby ConcernedMum » Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:16 pm

How intriguing indeed.
Is there a touch of.....
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Postby bonsai » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:32 am

Like ET, I have found the pages pretty difficult to read and concentrate on. However I think the site is a good thing and would welcome more of his works, letters and writings being published. The more information that is in the public domain about what MacLaren and the SES and hence St James espouse the more that people will be able to make informed decisions about the groups and whether or not they would want to be a part of them.

I am all for again these sites being published by the supporters of MacLaren and the SES so that people also have a chance to see how people get caught by this group and its philosophy.

I am actually surprised it has taken this long for a site such as this to appear. I am pleased that it acknowledges (though no where near to its true extent) how strict MacLaren was and also acknowledges this as a flaw. It is also interesting that the first quote of Maclaren's that is shown on the site on the first page of his life history is:

Leon MacLaren, taken from www.maclarenfoundation.net/life1.htm wrote:“It became very clear to me that there was such a thing as Truth and there was such a thing as Justice and that they could be found and being found, could be taught. It seemed to me that that was the most valuable thing one could pursue.”


It would seem to me that it is this belief of Mr MacLaren's that set him on a path that was in conflict with the world. Not only did he think that it was purposeful to teach people about Truth and Justice but implied in this belief is that people need to be taught about truth and justice. ie most people don't know about truth and justice.

In following his convictions MacLaren has done a significant number of people injustices in inflicting upon them his own sense of truth.

Bonsai

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:35 pm

Good find, Free!

I sent the following email to the MacLaren foundation:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a former pupil of St Vedast school, an institution which was run by Mr MacLaren's School of Economic Science. I am writing to enquire whether the MacLaren Foundation has expressed an opinion on the findings of the recent inquiry by James Townend QC into the past discipline policy at St James and St Vedast schools. I would also be very interested to know whether Mr MacLaren knew of, supported or even ordered the criminal assaults that I witnessed and experienced at St Vedast.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Grubb


Here's the (anonymous) reply I got. I think you'll find it interesting.

Dear Mr Grubb,

You have asked "whether the MacLaren Foundation has expressed an opinion on the findings of the recent inquiry by James Townend QC into the past discipline policy at St James and St Vedast schools." In addition you wanted to know "whether Mr MacLaren knew of, supported or even ordered the criminal assaults that I witnessed and experienced at St Vedast."

The MacLaren Foundation, founded by former students of Mr MacLaren, came into existence after this Inquiry. The information regarding the Townend Inquiry is unfortunately limited to partisan Internet discussion sites, a captive Inquiry sponsored by the SES and certain other documents such as the Goldschmied letter. Based on these sources, it appears likely that some of these allegations are true, including that some faculty at these Schools committed repeated abusive acts against students, that these acts were known to the Heads of School and Board of Governors, and that during this period the School of Economic Science (SES) exercised a degree of indirect oversight of these Schools through Governors who were also senior students in the SES.

Regarding these contested events, the MacLaren Foundation is of the general view that those who act wrongly must recognize their faults, accept responsibility for their actions, attempt to reconcile with and restore those who have been adversely affected and not try to pass the blame by unresponsive or legalistic behaviours. But we cannot draw specific conclusions as to fact given that these matters have not come under review by reliable, objective third parties such as Government Inquiries or courts of law.

In response to your second question, the Trustees of the MacLaren Foundation spent many years with Mr MacLaren, and none of us are aware of any knowledge by Mr MacLaren regarding these matters, with the specific exception of caning in the Boys' Schools, which he supported. To the best of our knowledge, he was entirely unaware of any abuse. Indeed at one point he became aware of abuse in a Day School in another part of the world. He immediately acted to stop it. It is our view that he would have done exactly the same in London had he been aware of such activity.

From the beginning of the Schools, Mr MacLaren took a particular interest in the students and received a full report on each student once a term for the first two years the Day Schools were in existence. His concern was the spiritual welfare of each child. After these first two years, he left the running of the Schools totally to Nicholas Debenham and the teachers. This withdrawal from direct involvement resulted from his age (nearing 70) and extensive commitments within the SES, but more significantly, he realized and accepted that the Day Schools, once up and running, were outside his jurisdiction as Senior Tutor of SES. After this point, he was consulted with respect to the appointment of teachers as they were all members of SES, but that was the extent of his involvement.

We appreciate that these answers may not be entirely satisfactory to you, and others who experienced harmed by such actions. In our years as Mr MacLaren's students, we saw much good arising from these Day Schools for so many students, and like others supported them out of our love and hopes for the young people they served. We are deeply grieved to learn so many years later that some students experienced such terrible difficulties. As well-meaning participants in the initiation and support of these Schools, we extend our profound sympathy to you and the other students so affected, and hope that these remarks may in some small way contribute to your broader understanding of these issues and ultimate release from the effects of your experiences. We wish you well.

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Postby ET » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:10 pm

Well done, Tom, and what a fascinating reply you got!

I find it particularly interesting that whoever wrote this e-mail (and one assumes he/she speaks for the whole of the McLaren Foundation) seems convinced (as many of us are) that the inquiry was not as "independent" as it should have been.

It's also interesting that he/she chooses to remain anonymous and that there are no names mentioned on their website either - it's amazing how paranoid the SES makes everyone feel.

Although I myself don't agree with much of Mr. McLaren's "philosophy", I do believe that people have right to believe what they want to believe as long as they don't harm anyone else whilst doing it. It's clear that the McLaren Foundation are not fans of the current SES set-up, and I applaud the moves they are taking to distance themselves from it.

I also greatly appreciate the obviously heartfelt sympathy expressed at the end of the e-mail. I'd rather hear it from the SES themselves of course, but it does help a bit to have some of Mr. McLaren's students (who were presumably members of the SES at one time) expressing it.

And it's great that they responded so calmly and also quickly to you.

What did you think of the reply, Tom, and what do others think?
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:53 pm

Thanks, ET! I must admit that I'm not entirely sure what to think about their reply. It raises so many fascinating questions...

Since whoever replied is being so candid, I thought it only fair to let him/her know that I have posted the reply on this forum. I've just sent off the following email and will definitely keep you posted if I get another reply!


Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for swift and fascinating reply, which I have posted on the forum at http://www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=7 as I believe it will be of great interest to many former pupils of SES-run schools.

I appreciate the directness of your answers to my direct questions! I am rather puzzled, however, as to why you have replied anonymously. Was this a deliberate decision and, if so, why was it taken?

I fully agree that it seems likely that the heads of the schools and the governors at the time (or at least some of them) would have been aware to some extent of the abuse perpetrated by St Vedast and St James teachers. I must admit, however, to being sceptical of your opinion that Mr MacLaren was probably not also aware of what was going on. I find it quite difficult to believe that the perpetrators of the abuse, all of whom were members of an organisation which viewed MacLaren and his ideas with such enormous reverence, would so openly and shamelessly have carried out their acts of violence if they were not convinced that these actions had been approved by their leader.

I was particularly interested to read the following sentences in your email: "Indeed at one point he became aware of abuse in a Day School in another part of the world. He immediately acted to stop it. It is our view that he would have done exactly the same in London had he been aware of such activity." I do not recall reading or hearing of such an incident before and would be very grateful if you could supply further details.

Finally, I greatly appreciate your expression of sympathy for those harmed by their experiences at SES-run schools. Such sympathy is something which, so far, has been in very short supply from the SES and, with a few noble exceptions, our former teachers!

Regards,

Tom Grubb

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Postby bonsai » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:30 pm

A very interesting response and to be honest I think a generally positive one and to be welcomed.

MacLaren Foundation response to Tom Grubb wrote:Based on these sources, it appears likely that some of these allegations are true, including that some faculty at these Schools committed repeated abusive acts against students, that these acts were known to the Heads of School and Board of Governors, and that during this period the School of Economic Science (SES) exercised a degree of indirect oversight of these Schools through Governors who were also senior students in the SES.

Regarding these contested events, the MacLaren Foundation is of the general view that those who act wrongly must recognize their faults, accept responsibility for their actions, attempt to reconcile with and restore those who have been adversely affected and not try to pass the blame by unresponsive or legalistic behaviours. But we cannot draw specific conclusions as to fact given that these matters have not come under review by reliable, objective third parties such as Government Inquiries or courts of law.


It is welcome that whoever the MacLaren Foundation represents that they accept that there is some truth that unacceptable acts of abuse did occur at the school. It is interesting that it accepts that some of these are likely to have occurred with the full knowledge of at least the Head and the Governors. The Foundation’s support for reconciliation is welcome and particularly their encouragement that those who acted wrongly should not try to pass blame by unresponsive or legalistic behaviours.

I wonder whether the Foundation would support the calls for changes in governance that would allow St James to move on afresh without the past lingering over it. I also wonder whether they would support calls for the board of governors to have sufficient independence from SES such that the governors can be seen and held accountable for what occurs in the school going forward without the link to the SES making this obscure.

MacLaren Foundation response to Tom Grubb wrote:In response to your second question, the Trustees of the MacLaren Foundation spent many years with Mr MacLaren, and none of us are aware of any knowledge by Mr MacLaren regarding these matters, with the specific exception of caning in the Boys' Schools, which he supported. To the best of our knowledge, he was entirely unaware of any abuse. Indeed at one point he became aware of abuse in a Day School in another part of the world. He immediately acted to stop it. It is our view that he would have done exactly the same in London had he been aware of such activity.


The only question here remains, why was Leon MacLaren and the SES at large so inactive when it came to responding to the accusations made of them in the Secret Cult? Yes, there was change in the day schools, corporal punishment was outlawed in the junior boys entirely, though it did take some time to die out but other aggressive actions against pupils was common place. Board dusters and chalk being hurled across the room remained for example. Extreme degree of the use of disciplinary techniques remained, like excessive imposition of punishments. The use of cold showers remained. The use of public shaming remained and the general victimisation or bullying of pupils by teachers remained.

The MacLaren Foundation website acknowledges that Leon MacLaren was not a man without flaws. It acknowledges that his nature was to be a disciplinarian. As many people will acknowledge he was a strict and demanding man and at times aggressive. The boundary between acceptable discipline and abuse becomes very fine and from my experience of St James, the SES, MacLaren and the stories I have read here and in the Secret Cult, I have no confidence that Leon MacLaren would understand that boundary. My personal experience of Mr MacLaren is that he was a man far too ready to bully without care or consideration for the feelings of the person in front of him. From this perspective the statement above that he would have put a stop to any abuse, had he been aware of it, is pure wishful thinking.

MacLaren Foundation response to Tom Grubb wrote:After these first two years, he left the running of the Schools totally to Nicholas Debenham and the teachers. This withdrawal from direct involvement resulted from his age (nearing 70) and extensive commitments within the SES, but more significantly, he realized and accepted that the Day Schools, once up and running, were outside his jurisdiction as Senior Tutor of SES. After this point, he was consulted with respect to the appointment of teachers as they were all members of SES, but that was the extent of his involvement.


It is interesting that Leon MacLaren would have thought he had relinquished the control of the schools to the headmaster and the teachers. I don’t particularly doubt in his mind that he thought that he had done this. The difficulty here though is the reverence with which his words were acted on by his disciples. The SES and Leon MacLaren throughout the history of the school have not been shy of giving direct advice about what is the right thing to do in any given situation. Likewise, whilst he may not have been choosing to direct the schools, his view and guidance was often sought after and his answers taken as gospel to be followed to the letter. It is this abdication of responsibility by the teachers to the judgement of a person with his own personality flaws and someone who would not have been a direct observer of the circumstances that has allowed any of this abuse to occur in the first place. For that, Leon MacLaren remains directly responsible as he did very little to stop this if anything. It is for this reason that the SES is a cult and why there have been so many casualties along the way.

This response however remains one of the most positive that I have read out of this whole saga. It acknowledges that there have been wrongs that require addressing. It acknowledges the failings of the organisations in addressing those wrongs. And it expresses regret, which is actually unconditional that any of those wrongs have occurred. This is really most welcome. So thank you to whoever has authored it.

Bonsai

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Postby Goblinboy » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:20 am

Interesting.

Given that the material promotes D. Van Ouyen's claim to McLaren's estate, and has a link to P. Van Ouyen's site, the voice of the MacLaren Foundation may not be hard to identify.

(later). They think so too here: http://kaiwalya.hyperboards.com/index.php?action=view_topic&topic_id=99

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Postby Tom Grubb » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:19 pm

As promised, here's the MacLaren Foundation's reply to my latest email.

Dear Mr Grubb,

The Foundation's modest purpose is to promote what we feel are the interesting and useful aspects of Mr MacLaren's life and works, not engage in public controversy. You contacted us privately and we responded in kind, as honestly as we could. Our anonymity in part anticipated your public posting of our letter.

We did note that "these answers may not be entirely satisfactory to you, and others who experienced harm." It remains our view that Mr MacLaren was unaware of the abuse experienced by some students at the Day Schools, based on our decades of regular contact with him and frequent conversations on a full range of subjects.

You most certainly have our unconditional sympathy and encouragement for resolution of these issues. Regardless of how one may feel about SES or the St James Day Schools past or present, there is little reason to expect fundamental change in these organisations. Accepting this, we have all in our various ways taken what was good out of our SES experiences and moved on to the fullness and freedoms of the rest of our lives. Not all injustices can be rectified in this life, and some must just be surrendered, lest they become lifelong burdens.

We look forward to gradually adding to the MacLaren Foundation website, including essays on such topics as Mr MacLaren's educational philosophy, spiritual growth, conversations with his teacher and correspondence with his students. In this way, all of us can better appreciate his thought, successes and failings, and their impact in our lives.

We wish you well.

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Postby Matthew » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:46 pm

My parents (both ex-ses members) have always told me that MacLaren not only sanctioned the beatings and punishments at the day schools, but positively encouraged them. One of his well known quotes went along the lines of "all a child needs is to be fed, clothed and given a good clip round the ear at the slightest display of insolence". I notice www.maclarenfoundation.net has a quote of the month page, so perhaps this would be worthy of inclusion.

All I can possibly say in his defence is maybe he was never fully made aware of the extent, degree and various forms the punishments took. And the acknowledgment and sympathy expressed in the reply to Tom's email is noted and of course very welcome.

As for his will, historically this is interesting, but ultimately I wonder how many people honestly care less WHO eventually got their hands on his letters, articles, manuscripts etc. The man was clearly way off the mark in so many areas, particularly when it came to child welfare and education; not to mention music! What value would they have other than a curious record of a misguided and misogynistic megalomaniac. A man that present SES members still refer to as "The Master".

Yes, I could hazard a pretty good guess as to who are behind the MacLaren Foundation.
Last edited by Matthew on Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:57 pm

Just to keep people updated, here is my latest email to the anonymous spokesperson for the MacLaren Foundation.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have grown used to secrecy and evasiveness from members and ex-members of the SES so I am very grateful that you choose to engage with me at all, even anonymously.
[By the way, I think I was a bit harsh there. I've met some very open and direct ex-members of the SES, including Matthew's parents. It's the ex-members who are still apologists for the SES who tend to be the secretive and evasive ones.]

You write: "Not all injustices can be rectified in this life, and some must just be surrendered, lest they become lifelong burdens."

I realise that it is too late to undo the vast amount of harm that the SES and its schools have already done but I assure you that I do not see the struggle for justice as too much of a burden. I cannot speak for other survivors of SES abuse but my own aims are fairly modest: I want genuine acknowledgement and apology from the perpetrators of abuse and steps to be taken to ensure that the abuse does not happen again. Since I do not expect to have any further lives, I have no intention of surrendering to this injustice before my current life ends.

I look forward to reading more about Mr MacLaren as your website expands. Meanwhile, perhaps you could provide me with more details about his action in dealing with the "abuse in a Day School in another part of the world" to which you referred in your previous email. When and where did this abuse happen, what form did it take and what action did Mr MacLaren take to stop it?

Best wishes,

Tom Grubb

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:28 am

Tom Grubb wrote:You write: "Not all injustices can be rectified in this life, and some must just be surrendered, lest they become lifelong burdens."

I realise that it is too late to undo the vast amount of harm that the SES and its schools have already done but I assure you that I do not see the struggle for justice as too much of a burden. I cannot speak for other survivors of SES abuse but my own aims are fairly modest: I want genuine acknowledgement and apology from the perpetrators of abuse and steps to be taken to ensure that the abuse does not happen again. Since I do not expect to have any further lives, I have no intention of surrendering to this injustice before my current life ends.


Now that is amusing. When read the sentence you quote from the reply from the MacLaren foundation, I had read it simply as "the past cannot be changed" It is interesting that you pick up on the subtlety that it could mean about possible future lives.

Bonsai


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