St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
kevin
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St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Postby kevin » Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:03 pm

My name is Kevin and I'm father to 3 kids at St James - a boy in the Junior and Senior Schools and a Senior Girl. I am not a member of SES, nor have ever been, but was made aware of this web thread by a letter to parents from David Boddy. Perhaps the forum will allow me to make these points:

1 Times change. The school described here bears no realtion whatever to the schools I have known personally for the past 10 years.

2 Attitudes change. What was permissible in society nearly 30 years ago would be illegal today. The disciplinary approach at my ordinary Northern Grammar School would today count as aggravated assault and battery.

3 The portraits I read here of Mr Debenham are of an entirely different person to the one whom I have known well and respected enormously. When retailed to our eldest, he simply didn't believe that we were talking abuot his old Headmaster.

4 At no point have I or my kids been put under any pressure to join SES. On the contrary, there has been healthy, funny, unsolicited irreverent discussion about the limitations of this group - from existing members.

5 This is not to deny the very laudable aims espoused by SES in the formation of the Junior Schools. What is wrong with wanting to prepare future generations of useful, conscious citizens?

6 That the teaching methods employed in the past may have been eccentric at minimum does not diminish the extraordinary level of care and success achieved by the schools today.

7 As with any organisation, it can take time for the import of a situation to be noted, accepted and acted upon. Seems to me that the criticisms levelled here of a previous regime are taken very seriously, the instigation of a Truth and Reconciliation commission giving weight to this.

8 The concerns of existing parents of culty activity are very simple to address: hang out at the schools! Spend time with your children and their teachers. The spirit of openess and access to practiced by St James's is, in my experience, unprecedented, and everyone is made welcome. And use your eyes! Are the children indoctrinated automatons? Are their emotions sat upon? Are their eyes afraid? Are they heck. Each school - and remember, I visit all 3 in London - is evinced by an atmosphere so happy, so positive and so enabling as to be truly inspirational. Listen to them sing, watch them act, compute their academic results - these kids are HAPPY! (Yes - even our recalcitrant 15 year old!).

Thank you for letting me air these opinions.
Kevin
current parent of kids in Junior and Senior Schools

leonm

Re: St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Postby leonm » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:11 am

kevin wrote:
3 The portraits I read here of Mr Debenham are of an entirely different person to the one whom I have known well and respected enormously. When retailed to our eldest, he simply didn't believe that we were talking abuot his old Headmaster.




so what do you infer from this?


If your four year old son was beaten by nim so severly that blood was drawn,for a minor offfence, ie talking how, you view Debenham?

Perhaps you think i am lying?? Believe it. Get real. Perhaps it is ok now. It was not in the past. Reconcile it anyway you like.

leonm

Re: St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Postby leonm » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:18 am

kevin wrote: parents of culty activity are very simple to address: hang out at the schools! Spend time with your children and their teachers.



no! Hang out at SES groups! Not the schools!
Do you know why your kids chant "om paramat naman at iti?"

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mike_w
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Postby mike_w » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:30 am

Kevin,
Thank you for sharing your opinions & the implied support of the proposed inquiry (or whatever it is being called by Mr Boddy this week). Maybe you can bring useful pressure to bear to the effect that it becomes a truly independent and full enquiry and not what some of us cynics are expecting it is likely to be (ie a true spin-doctor style cover up of which Maggie T or any other politician would be proud)?

In addition I note that this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/68965.stm suggests that Debenham was unchanged in opinion if not action as late as 1998 (within your 10 year experience zone)...?

Regards

Mike

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Postby Guest » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:01 am

mike_w wrote:a truly independent and full enquiry and not what some of us cynics are expecting it is likely to be (ie a true spin-doctor style cover up of which Maggie T or any other politician would be proud)?


For the benefit of those readers who may be a little confused by this remark, the above poster is referring to a certain Mr.D. Boddy, and his political past.

Alban
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Re: St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Postby Alban » Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:10 am

ok Kevin, lets take your post one point at a time.

kevin wrote:1 Times change. The school described here bears no realtion whatever to the schools I have known personally for the past 10 years.


Times do indeed change, and so do some people....but others don't. I submit to you, as has been documented here by many people, that you as a parent are being shown a somewhat subjective view of the schools.

kevin wrote:2 Attitudes change. What was permissible in society nearly 30 years ago would be illegal today. The disciplinary approach at my ordinary Northern Grammar School would today count as aggravated assault and battery.


Punching and rendering children unconscious has never been acceptable within the last 50 years. What's more unbelievable about this and many other incidents, is that the actions were subsequently excused.

kevin wrote:3 The portraits I read here of Mr Debenham are of an entirely different person to the one whom I have known well and respected enormously. When retailed to our eldest, he simply didn't believe that we were talking abuot his old Headmaster.


I can assure you, they are one and the same. Do you not think that for so many people to contribute so negatively to these boards about incidents that have been indelibly stamped on their minds by that man, that you may have only got half the picture.

kevin wrote:4 At no point have I or my kids been put under any pressure to join SES. On the contrary, there has been healthy, funny, unsolicited irreverent discussion about the limitations of this group - from existing members.


I'm glad to hear it, however, there are postings on this board that tell of different (and very recent) experiences.

kevin wrote:5 This is not to deny the very laudable aims espoused by SES in the formation of the Junior Schools. What is wrong with wanting to prepare future generations of useful, conscious citizens?


Nothing wrong with the desire, just the execution.

kevin wrote:6 That the teaching methods employed in the past may have been eccentric at minimum does not diminish the extraordinary level of care and success achieved by the schools today.


"Eccentric"! have you actually read the experiences on these boards. You lost my respect when you trivialised our experiences.

kevin wrote:7 As with any organisation, it can take time for the import of a situation to be noted, accepted and acted upon. Seems to me that the criticisms levelled here of a previous regime are taken very seriously, the instigation of a Truth and Reconciliation commission giving weight to this.


Slow down with the "previous regime" malarkey! A number of the current teachers were part of that "Regime" as were the majority of the governors. There are still very close links with the same organisation that guided the "previous regime", and that organisation has not changed significantly! So that particular description is not entirely true!

I like many, sincerely hope that the enquiry will fully address ALL the issues and be totally transparent.

kevin wrote:8 The concerns of existing parents of culty activity are very simple to address: hang out at the schools! Spend time with your children and their teachers. The spirit of openess and access to practiced by St James's is, in my experience, unprecedented, and everyone is made welcome. And use your eyes! Are the children indoctrinated automatons? Are their emotions sat upon? Are their eyes afraid? Are they heck. Each school - and remember, I visit all 3 in London - is evinced by an atmosphere so happy, so positive and so enabling as to be truly inspirational. Listen to them sing, watch them act, compute their academic results - these kids are HAPPY! (Yes - even our recalcitrant 15 year old!).


As they always were when people were shown around the schools when we were there. There may indeed not be the fear of getting thrown across a classroom, or being knocked unconscious, but how much of this is down to the law and how much is down to a change of attitudes. If attitudes had universally changed, then all parties would have followed the excellent examples of the three that have posted apologies already. Unfortunately that is clearly not the case, and is the cause of a fair amount of criticism from former pupils.

You should also bear in mind that it took most of us a long time to come to terms with the extent of the indoctrination that we were subjected to. While we were kids, and they provided all the answers, we didn't think to question the philosophy that was told to us...we just accepted it because it came from the authority of a teacher. There were a few who were wise enough (even at that age) to see through the rhetoric, but there are a couple of very recent pupils who have posted negatively on this board as well.

I do not expect you to change your mind of the current schools, but I would urge you to look again, and maybe question more deeply. You may still find that you agree with everything that they stand for, on the other hand you may find out a few things that don't sit quite so comfortably.

Frodo
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Re: St James - a current non-partisan parent replies

Postby Frodo » Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:36 am

[quote="leonm"]no! Hang out at SES groups! Not the schools![/quote]

Well, the SES is pretty much open for scrutiny. Go to any of the public events. You'll see SES members all over the place doing whatever it is SES members do. Like walking very slowly with their arms outstretched, a vacant expression in their eyes and a bolt through their neck, or being incredibly sexless as has been stated in one thread, or totally lascivious as stated in another, their ipods playing Mozart, a book of Plato tucked in their armpits, the men being condescending towards women, the women cringing fearfully, all of them spouting confused quasi-philosophical nonsenses, the world is a piece of marzipan on the backside of a cosmic hippo, that kind of thing. The show that they put on outside the school gates as described by the evidently deluded Kevin (ie cheerful, normal, friendly etc) is obviously a carefully constructed front!

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:39 am

hello frodo - care to share your experiences? oh, and please pass the marzipan.

bugger - what IS marzipan - is it that yucky stuff underneath the icing on wedding cakes?

Frodo
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 6:39 am

Postby Frodo » Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:14 pm

Yes, Marzipan is that stuff made out of squashed almond paste (I think) you get under the icing in wedding cakes. It's not the marzipan that bothers me about wedding cakes, it's the dried fruit you have to chew through while telling the bride's mother that it's delicious.

A Different Guest, are we having a discussion elsewhere about washing machines? Or is that a different A Different Guest? Maybe we should start a new thread about domestic appliances and confectionary but I don't think that would sit too well in this forum.

As for my last post on this thread, I just think if anyone thinks that's how SES people are they should take a look for themselves.

My experience? At the risk of bringing out the crocodile dundee in you, I have found them to be a mixed bunch, as people are, but generally decent and generally normal.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:13 pm

a mixed bunch, as people are, but generally decent and generally normal.


well i consider my ses relo's "generally decent' - its the beleif system they are gobbling up and force-feedin their kids that worries me.


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