Nicholas Debenham is my beloved headmaster and always will be. He is a man of vision, truth and honesty at heart.
He never ever 'meant' any harm and towards the end of his tenure the school was finally beginning to match the inner quality of his heart mind and spirit. He was and always will be an inspiration to me.
When I was at school at certain periods of my development I was considered subversive and a nuisance by the majority of teachers. At these moments he was the only one who stuck up for me and saw the potentiality within. He was inspiring if not a little old fashioned. But that's O.K he had character and was a character. I left school with the desire to be great and I think I will be soon. He was great too.
Now that he's left, the school can take the inner vision he had, edit out the old fashionedness and show what he really had within his consciousness with regards to the Self. In many ways he was his own worst enemy because the social conditioning of his upbringing couldn't let go of certain attitudes and keep his integrity at the same time. As the schools develop
and certain attitudes to woman and 'morality' drop he himself will see where has alliegences truly lay and even though the schools will appear totally different on the outside the REAL INTEGRITY will shine through and what he was going on about throughout all those assembelies with regard to The Self will finally become a living reality within the school and throughout it's education. I love the man and always will.
Barrington Barber was one of three best art tutors I ever had. (out of 9) Unfortunately he very seldom had the raw talen to work with. In my case he did. And he was superb. I had a tendancy to get really laboured on my work and he encouraged me to paint big and loose. From that moment on I've never looked back. What the school lacked in Modern Art awareness he made up for with encouragement vision and love with regards to painting and art. In it's early days in the 70's and early 80's the school was very military and disciplined. A lot of the allegations of abuse are merely the looking back into the past through the tainted glasses of recent legal awareness. As soon as smacking was 'dropped' it was dropped. I don't think it ever should have happened, physical punishment, at any time in history. But the sad fact is that in general, not just at St James, we are only just beginning to really question how to educate people.We've had the Victorian version Wev'e had the the liberal version. Now it's time to clean the decks entirely.
Barrington Barber is O.K
David was a terrifying running master, but to be honest me and my mates used to find him terribly amusing. He would run out of the trees and kick you up the arse, but to be honest it was funny. He was a complete maniac but in my experience it was done mostly tongue in cheek. To me he is Peter Sellers. The goon of Richmond common. And he had a great sense of humour. He even let us drink tea after our runs. That was like drinking a rare scotch whisky to us small tots. Only the staff were allowed to drink tea. Love the guy.
My Medieval History lessons were the highlight of my whole school career. He was a rigorous teacher of the material but by god could he have a laugh. He was the 21st sixth former. (out of a class of 20) None of us could ever fail to see innuendo in any text. We weren't as lucky as the ancient greek students. 'Hector of the shining helm' But there is plenty of laughs in the Norman period. Love Hipshon he was the greatest.
Collin Russell was born in a concentration camp. He was also rather small. I was always his pet in Rugby and I didn't mind if he kicked me to get me going once. He would make it up to you in
good will afterwards. What the allegations are missing is the whole other side to these people. Yes they could sometimes throw a Cricket ball or shout or throw a tantrum but they would pat you on the back as well and make you feel like you've achieved something.
The allegations sound severe in isolation, put them in context and they aren't so severe. It's quite easy to use a story the sounds bad isolate it and suddenly everyone thinks we are in Aushwitz. It wasn't like that. Even in the old days.
Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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