St james 1973-1980. 7 years of Sadism survived, almost.

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:39 pm

TB wrote:Hi Tom Grubb,

I have not seen any mention of a reunion system or old boys (girls) for St James/Vedast. I assume these do not exist. My experience is that these are organised by past students.
Are there not school photos, class lists or even compilations from student memories to identify students in each class? Then checking in phone directories or internet surfing to track people down. It is not a trivial exercise but it would seem that a comprehensive view from students from all years would help define things for the inquiry. Just as has been done to name the various teachers and their level of culpability. Some of the later students should also be able to identify when the school changed.

Hi TB,

Well, yes, there is the 7th Form, whose stated values are "Honesty Integrity Justice Service" (pass the sick bag, please) and who apparently want to want to "raise education standards in society". They are, of course, little more than an SES propaganda tool and unlikely to take kindly to being asked to help in uncovering the real truth about St James and St Vedast.

I've spent quite a lot of time over the past few months trying to track down former pupils through such channels as Friends Reunited, with some small degree of success. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of former pupils who probably haven't heard of this website and who probably don't realise the advanced stage the campaign for justice has now reached. Any suggestions on how to reach these people would be extremely welcome.

Tom

Guest

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:47 pm

Yes.

Look up your old school photograph or any such group gathering. Look up all the names. Identify one or two names and people that you are in touch with. Call them and ask them to contact 2 others that they are in touch with and so on and so forth. Team effort.

TB

Postby TB » Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:44 am

Hi Tom
Well, yes, there is the 7th Form, whose stated values are "Honesty Integrity Justice Service" (pass the sick bag, please) and who apparently want to want to "raise education standards in society". They are, of course, little more than an SES propaganda tool and unlikely to take kindly to being asked to help in uncovering the real truth about St James and St Vedast

I have not been able to find anything on the web about this reunion group. How much is known about them? Are they students from the same era as you? How much critical mass do they have?
Given your other comments, I agree with the Guest posting. Each person who was there and is aware of this site needs to recall and contact their classmates. A question the inquiry is sure to raise will be how representative are the views posted on this site. What proportion of the students that passed through the school had an issue with the system? Surely there is a feel for this?

leon M

Postby leon M » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:27 am

They were the 'in' crowd, ie students with wealthy parents who donated funds, or did not question SES ideology, and who also maybe came from the right class and could thus be possibly influential. These children generally had an easy time of it and were spared a lot of the abuse. Jerome Webb who helps run this group is a good example. I sat in the same room as him everyday for 6 years from the 70's and can not recall him every being thrown about by Russell or cained by Debenham. He fitted in very well to the school and no doubt has SES connections, and I am unsurprised he is still connected to SES. This is not intended to be a criticism, he was a very nice kid. But as Tamsin and Lowpass illustrated it shows how some students were picked on endlessly by staff while others were completely untouched. This will test the sagacity of an inquiry chairman as contradictory recollections are submitted, especially confusing when the abused children were often merely following a lifestyle contrary to a cult ideology.

Daffy
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Postby Daffy » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:03 pm

Personally I'm not convinced that any pupils were shown particular favouritism on the basis of their parents' identity or status. At least, if there was favouritism, it would be hard to discern any particular pattern to it.

As far as I could tell, the only way of avoiding the attention of Debenham and his band of fellow child-abusers was:

(a) to be academically good in all subjects, and
(b) to be good on the sporting field, and
(c) not to show dissent against or disrespect for any of the doctrines of the SES.

The last of these three was of course the most important.

I can think of several pupils whose parents were rich, influential in the SES or even teachers of St James - all of whom received the same brutal treatment as the rest of us because they didn't meet these conditions.
Last edited by Daffy on Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TB

Postby TB » Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:57 pm

Daffy,
(a) to be academically good in all subjects, and
(b) to be good on the sporting field, and
(c) not to show dissent against or disrespect for any of the doctrines of the SES.

Aside from from the SES specific doctrine, this pattern pretty well describes the pattern of punishment at the Catholic school I attended. Sporting achievement helped but screwing up academically was a sure way to get caned and bucking the Catholic process, like smoking outside instead of going to confessional was also a certain way to get caned.

Shout
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Postby Shout » Wed Apr 20, 2005 5:03 pm

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Last edited by Shout on Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:33 pm

Thank you, Shout, for your powerful words.

I take it you'd disagree with Debenham's assertion (made last year in the presence of three former St Vedast pupils including myself) that everyone at St James was happy. He also claimed that his pupils "accepted" the corporal punishment he meted out.

Either he suffers from extreme delusions or he's a liar.

Tom

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:31 pm

I recently heard from a couple of very high-up SES people who knew Debenham well, describing him as having a "psychopathic side to his personality".

rachelS
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Postby rachelS » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:39 pm

One thing that I have learnt over the years is that most (all?) of us have a shadow side. The man had too much power as did many of the tutors in the SES. They bullied and got away with it. I am just grateful that I was not "good" enough to reach a high position in the SES although I was in it for many years. At least I wasn't in a position to bully others but I don't kid myself that, being under the collective delusion of the inherent superiority of the SES, I would have been any different. Those of us in the school in the 70s and 80s were quite fanatical. One must never underestimate the power of a set of ideas which is held by a group of people who set themselves above "common man". Although I left the school some years ago now, it has really been only since I discovered this message board that I have broken free mentally and gained perspective.

Yes, the schools may have changed. But I question the decision to appoint a headmaster who ( correct me if I am wrong) is not a trained teacher and has never risen up the ranks in a school thereby gaining a wealth of experience in teaching. How is he to understand the problems of young teachers? This seems to me to smack of the same arrogance that permeates the SES. They do not respect teacher training obviously. They think they know better. Would they appoint someone to take over a law firm who was not a lawyer, a medical practice who is not a doctor?

Shout
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Postby Shout » Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:54 pm

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Last edited by Shout on Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Shout
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Postby Shout » Wed May 11, 2005 12:24 pm

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