St James School

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
mm-
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St James School

Postby mm- » Sun Nov 06, 2005 10:33 am

I have two children who have been attending the St James school in London for a number of years. I am one of those parents (who believe it or not) have not known about the SES until this September. I have read and re-read your forum on many occasions and obviously am rather disturbed by some of the messages contained, although mindful also that most posts concern references to the school before the late 90's.

However, there is an element of secrecy within the school itself and this is apparent as I am sure that most parents are unaware of the significance of the SES or even that it exists. Also, I don't know whether or not I am just being paranoid, but it IS very easy to determine who in fact belongs to the SES, as they have a particular way about them. I have in fact spoken to my childrens teacher who has assured me that the SES is not a cult or religion and no one is forced to join. I was in fact made to feel quite ignorant about the whole thing. I have also noticed that those children who belong to SES families seem to be treated very differently at the school. The whole SES thing is disturbing but in particular the way women are expected to behave and the differences in teaching the boys and girls is present within the school to this day. I also have to say that the school is quite controlling both to the children and parents that attend. There is a 'big brother ethos' within the school where there seems to be someone watching your every move....for eg. a teacher always sits by reception watching out over the courtyard as parents come in to collect their children!

I feel that I have quite talented and clever children, nevertheless. I find that instead of progressing academically they seem to be behind their friends who attend other independent schools. They are unable to think logically or to work out simple mathematical problems. I feel that they are made to wait for those less able than themselves so that by the time they reach the senior school they are all up to the same standard. It also seems that by the time they reach Year 6 in the senior school they are crammed with things that perhaps should have been taught at an earlier age.

Also St James primary ends a year earlier than most other schools and they don't prepare a child for an 11+ exam making the withdrawal of a child to another school particularly difficult. The study of Sanskrit is particularly perplexing and for the life of me I am unable to fathom the use of it or indeed any good points about it at all, other that it sounds and looks nice. Also their system of Vedic mathematics and dance practised by the girls (I think it is spelt Abinayah) all seem to point to this trance like state that SES members seem to possess.

I have unsuccesfully tried to get a copy of Hounam and Hogg's book but apart from ordering it from New Zealand I am at a loss. I would be grateful if anyone could tell me where I could get my hands on a copy here in the UK.

Also if anyone has answers to the following questions I would be very grateful;

1. Is it true that you are asked to join the SES following once in the senior schools?

2. What is it that makes some teachers and parents look like they are in a permanent trance?

3. Is meditation practised in the primary and senior schools in such a way that a child is unaware that it is being practised?

4. Has anyone refused to join the SES in the senior school and been treated differently as a result?

5. Although corporal punishment does not now exist within the school, other methods are used to control, including making children sit next to children who they have not formed close bonds with, and discouraging close friendships as a result. Scolding children one minute and then being over friendly the next. Is there anyone out there that has just recently left the school and can give more information on these points?

Many thanks.

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non-conformist
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Re: St James School

Postby non-conformist » Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:18 pm

mm wrote:Also if anyone has answers to the following questions I would be very grateful;

1. Is it true that you are asked to join the SES following once in the senior schools?

2. What is it that makes some teachers and parents look like they are in a permanent trance?

3. Is meditation practised in the primary and senior schools in such a way that a child is unaware that it is being practised?

4. Has anyone refused to join the SES in the senior school and been treated differently as a result?


Hi mm

In answer to a couple of your questions, although please bear in mind that the schools might possibly have changed since we were there...

Children tend to be initiated into meditaion from the age of 10. They are also encouraged to go to Art In Action and "help" from a young age, either stuffing and selling programmes or catering for a cast of thousands. Once they reach the age of 16 (ie: 1st year of 6th Form) they are invited to Waterperry for a discussion and introduction to the Foundation Group. I know in my day there were also "marriage balls" in which young women were essentially paraded infront of so-called eligible bachelors. The mian idea hoisted upon these impressionable young children is one of "if you joined you would be able to spend lots of time with your friends", I presume based on the premis that in a couple of years, school would come to an end and everyone woulod go their own separate ways. Of course, the fact that people might actually stay in touch with eachother without joining SES was never mentioned.

I remember one year being at AIA when I was approached by a member of SES. She asked if I enjoyed spending time with my old school firends, to which I naturally replied that I did. To which, she said that if I joined SES I could see them all the time and proceded to call a few other SES members around her so I could make a commitment there and then.

If you agree to becoming part of the Foundation Group, you go through yet another initiation process, involving wearing a white dress, putting flowers in your hair and taking part in a ceremony where you have a Sanskrit phrase chanted over you. I kept refusing to join despite pressures from all angles, not least the teachers at St James. At one point I was getting phonecalls every 4 hours (no word of a lie) saying "we have a white dress for you; we can arrange transport there and back; it'll be like a party; why are you still saying no?" It was only thanks to my best friend, who by this time had had the sense to move out of London and thus away from St James and SES, that I was able to stand my ground.

The pressure never stopped until well after I'd left. I was treated like a leper by teachers who I thought were there to support me. I once made the mistake of trying to talk to my form teacher about something hugely personal and potentially life changeing, only to be laughed at and have it thrown back in my face. I started going to church, which really put their backs up despite them saying over and over again that there was no contradicition between what they taught and what the church taught.

They kept me back a year, whereby separating me from my friends, because I refused to dance to their tune. In short, I was not popular for saying no, and they went out of their way to let me know. All the time there was this constant re-inforcement that I was a bad person for having nothing to do with SES antics. I still have unresolved issues which will no doubt take a long while to sort out.

This is my own personal response to your questions and I can only speak for myself. I know others have expereinced similar problems as a result of standing their ground. Maybe they will share them here, maybe not. Either way, what you have just read is a brutally honest answer to straightforward questions...

stj75-88
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Postby stj75-88 » Sun Nov 06, 2005 10:30 pm

Hounam and Hogg - well worth reading. Join the British Library in Kings Cross, its open on Saturdays and most evenings if you can't get there in the day, they have a copy of this as well as every other book ever published in this country. Nice place too.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:17 am

MM - I read your post with interest as I have children I am an auntie to at one of the Australian schools. It was concern for these kids that led me to find this site.

Are you children still at the school? I get the feeling from your post that they still are. If that's the case why haven't you withdrawn them?

mm-
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Postby mm- » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:13 am

Hi,

I have only found out about the SES recently and whilst I have already begun looking at other schools, it is very difficult to find an independent school with two vacancies at this point in the school year. Most independent schools in London have waiting lists as long as your arm. The biggest hurdle though is that both children would have to sit entrance exams which unfortunately St James have not and will not prepare them for. I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that over the past year there have been a high number of children leaving the school, if you try and probe as to what the reasons are, the reason will always be the same that the family is moving. I know of a handful of people that have taken their children out of the school because of the SES movement. Having said that there does seem to be a long wating list for the school these days, and if someone leaves a replacement is soon found.

I am really concerned about everything that I have read, both on this and other sites. I have found sites like INFORM and cultinformation.org really useful and helpful.

At this stage I am definately looking to take my children out of the school. Realistically though I do not feel that this will be before the start of the summer term as i have to give one terms notice otherwise I forfeit my fees. At the moment I feel that any school wether it be state or private has to be a better option than St James and all of this SES nonsense.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:43 am

MM - I wish you all the best with finding another school for your kids. You must be very worried.

I find it interesting that from what I can glean from British friends here, that in the UK the primary years of education are thought more worthy of 'independent' ed, and that in high school a state school is more accpetable. (I assume this is because of comphrensives etc. - but correct me if I am wrong).

Here people are generally happy with state schools for primary ed but then may look to indpendants for high school.

You might find the lower and last pages of this thread
http://www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/vi ... 1&start=60 intersting reading.

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Re: St James School

Postby ET » Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:09 pm

mm wrote:2. What is it that makes some teachers and parents look like they are in a permanent trance?


I have my own theory about this one, and I think it has to do with the meditation. The constant repetition of one word (what they call the "mantra"), whether aloud or in your head silently, leads to a form on self-hypnosis, and make you seem that you are in a permanent trance.

The other reason for this strange trance-like state (and I agree with you, they all looked like that when I was there in the 70s and 80s too) could be that the SES places a lot of store on "inner and outer calm", and this apparent trance could be a "mask" intended to make them look as if they are in this constantly calm state. I believe strongly that this constant swallowing and suppression of any kind of "troubled" thinking (everything from anxiety to anger) is what was responsible for the violence which many pupils suffered which was so out of proportion with the "crime" committed. After all, if you suppress something, one day something will blow.

Good luck finding another school for your children!

StVSurvivor
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Postby StVSurvivor » Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:19 pm

Hello mm,

It's a creepy, weird, dark, and dangerous place. I'm speaking from first-hand experience. I was there in the 70s and 80s but I do not believe its a great deal different today. I know this because I still see and observe a lot of the members today and they haven't changed at all. The only reason they stopped the physical beatings was because corporal punishment was outlawed in the 80s. Anyway you could never describe it as "corporal punishment", but rather the unadulterated physical/psychological abuse of utterly innocent and defenceless children from as young 4 and a half years of age. I'm a grown man now, but I've never fully recovered from those traumatic experiences. In all honesty the best thing that could happen to all the SES-run kids schools is for them to be closed down immediately, and no doubt I will continue to speak out about this until that takes place, as I'm sure will countless other unfortunate ones that were caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. What these ex-child-abusers need to understand is that they've made one hell of a lot of enemies out there of now grown men and women, from several generations of children over a 20-25 year period.

If I were you (and to any other current parents reading this) I'd get my kids out of there immediately. Anywhere else would be preferable to a single day longer in that environment. I'm honestly not trying to sound alarmist, and nor do I in any way exaggerate. I'm just giving you my sincere and informed opinion.

Best of luck.

mm-
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Postby mm- » Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:01 pm

Hello STV survivor

I would definately have to agree with you, although corporal punishment does not exist today, emotional and psychological abuse does. It is very cleverly done and one is unaware of it unless you spend time at the school. Simply dropping children off in the mornings does not allow you to see what really goes on.

I do not really know very much about the inquiry that is taking place at the moment. Do you know when the results of this will be known and wether this will be made public. I do know that a letter was sent out to the parents of the senior school last term but unfortunately not to the parents of the junior schools.Why not, do they not think that the parents of the junior school need to know or are they just worried that the junior parents would then not allow their children to go into the senior school?[/quote]

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Postby ET » Tue Nov 08, 2005 1:08 pm

The last any of us who have taken part in the inquiry heard was that the chairman was unlikely to start drafting his report before the beginning of October. It seems likely that it is either taking him a while, or he started even later than that.

The cynic in me thinks it's very unlikely that the report will be made public by the SES (unless it's a glowing description of the schools as a healthy and unharmful place for children to be!), but I imagine it will be published on this website if the chairman is happy for it to be so.

I think the way the SES have conducted themselves in terms of letting both current and ex-parents and pupils at the school know about the inquiry is despicable. As you may see elsewhere on this site, many of the people who post here have had plenty of unwanted letters from the school over the years, but have not received anything about the inquiry. My personal feeling is that the SES were rather hoping that the inquiry would be over before it had begun - I hope they are going to get a nasty shock when the report comes out!

sugarloaf
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secrecy

Postby sugarloaf » Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:52 pm

I am one of those parents (who believe it or not) have not known about the SES until this September. I have read and re-read your forum on many occasions and obviously am rather disturbed by some of the messages contained, although mindful also that most posts concern references to the school before the late 90's.

However, there is an element of secrecy within the school itself and this is apparent as I am sure that most parents are unaware of the significance of the SES or even that it exists.


Hello MM,

Thanks for posting here. I know of other parents with children at the school that are for some reason scared of the SES and have withdrawn their children quietly and disappeared.

The only reason the childrens schools have managed to survive so long without having reformed is because people keep quiet. In 1983 parents complained they didn?t know of the SES connection and what it really meant. 22 years ago! And we are only now starting to find out the ugly extent of what went on then in the school, a school run by the SES, with no parent governance, and no parent teacher association. They said they didn?t want parents to interfere with professionals doing their job!

Its no accident that to this day there is no non-SES parent governance, and no parent teacher association. In any of the schools. Its no accident that the schools omitted to mention the inquiry to you. Its no accident that the inquiry is private, internal, and that the school retains influence over what part of it, if any, will get published.

These people are living in their own bubble and the only way to ensure it?s a safe bubble for - above all ? children to be put into, is to make sure every single parent that puts their child into an SES school is aware of the full extent of the connection to SES, and the schools history.

Please carry on talking! Talk to as many other parents as possible. Ask questions and ask them to ask questions! Talk to everyone you know!
Why not start a connection via email with other parents with kids there (you can use anonymous addresses). That way at least once youve gone, and your kids are in a better school, there will be others left to keep going. Talk talk talk!

You owe it to the next wave of kids that will otherwise be sent to the school by unknowing parents..

And thankyou for posting while in the position of still having your kids at the school.

Sugarloaf

PS do feel free to PM me if you want

mm-
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Postby mm- » Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:39 pm

Hi Sugarloaf,

What you say makes a lot of sense.

However, in reality parents are reluctant to talk about the SES. Also I have found that parents are fearful of bad mouthing the SES. Many deny it's existence. On the odd occassion when I have challenged other parents about the SES, I always meet with resistance and a reluctance to even believe some of the things I have found out about the SES. The general consensus about this site, I am afraid, is that the majority of the people that post here have some gripe with the school or that they are in some way deranged and so the information contained cannot be relied upon. This is the exact excuse I was given when I approached my childs form teacher about this site. It seems that the school are aware of its contents but have chosen to neither explain to parents that it exists or even to acknowledge some of the points contained herein. You would think that as a school a letter would be sent out (seeing that they are so aware that some parents have a problem with the SES) but St James refuse to address the problem.

There always seems to be some excuse, there is always an answer, there does seem to be at least one SES member lurking about on some level. Those that do know, believe that by asking direct questions about the SES to the teachers within the school they will get direct answers. As i ahve founf out, we all know that this is not the case and as always the truth will be covered over. Unfortunately many parents believe that the effects of the SES within the school are limited and will not affect their children.

What makes things so difficult is that amidst all of this ugliness parents are made to believe that the school is a caring nurturing place. St James is shrouded in an imaginary bubble of happiness. I worry even at this early stage with my children how life outside of this bubble will affect them, especially with the older one. One seems to be sucked in by the very essence of St James and as a parent when your child seems to be happy it is very difficult to stand your ground and take them out of that environment. Just when you get really pissed off about the whole SES business something nice happens to your child or at the school and everything looks rosy again. Sometimes it makes you feel quite guilty and two faced. I know now though that this is a particularly brilliant cult approach and one of the many tools cults use to entice people into their fold. It is so ironic that their over friendliness is dampened by their inability to show emotion, coupled with their pale faced sombre faces. Before you know it another few years have passed and your child is being invited (or co-erced) into joining the SES and you as a parent will have no control over the situation.


Basically to me the SES is a cult bordering on a religion and St James the perfect grooming ground for young innocent children and their ignorant parents.

One question; I am new to all of this forum chat thing and one thing has been bothering me about the SES discussion pages. Why are the SES on the same site as those talking about Scientology. Are the two interlinked somehow? What is the SES' link if any with Scientology. If there is a link then this whole thing really is scary.

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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:01 am

nm!

There are no ties between Scientology and the SES. The owner of this forum is simply interested in cults. So don't worry about it!

FT

jojo
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Postby jojo » Fri Nov 11, 2005 5:38 pm

I have unsuccesfully tried to get a copy of Hounam and Hogg's book but apart from ordering it from New Zealand I am at a loss. I would be grateful if anyone could tell me where I could get my hands on a copy here in the UK.


If you are still interested in getting hold of the book, amazon.co.uk recently had 2 old copies up for sale. Its definitely worth a read.

Good luck.

T.S
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Postby T.S » Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:31 pm

Dear mm,
I'm sure my parents would relate to everything you are saying..
I went to St James girls school from 1981- 91.
I was told by the head mistress that we were not allowed to discuss what goes on with our parents (after a parent made a complaint), I was also told by another student that you were not allowed to leave ( at 7years old I took this as fact).
My parents found my diary when I was about 11 years old filled with details of the punishments I went through and more worryingly filled with the extent of my depression.
My younger brothers were taken out immediately. I sat some 11+ exams but with my head full of Sanskrit and Vedic mathematics I couldnt answer most of the questions. Then at 14, having completed my GCSE's (I was the youngest in my class who were mostly 15) I went to further interviews and tests for 6th form- but again, my lack of common knowledge and mostly- my age- meant I wasn't accepted. I was given the option of repeating the 5th form, but as this had been such a stressful year for me, I didnt want to repeat it. At one point I simply stopped revising as I was planning my suicide for the beginning of the exams- I was too scared to go through with it and then did very badly in my exams.
My father kept trying to pursuade me to leave- we even had screaming rows about it. Even though I was so unhappy it was what I knew- the 'bubble' you refer to had me safe in it and I was scared of the world outside St James. Looking back I wish my parents had acted quicker, more decisively and not given me so much choice in the matter. I don't blame them now and they feel awful about it, but the longer you stay the harder it is to leave.
My parents were anti SES ( they joined for 1 year and left horrified), I always thought of myself as strong minded but the pressure was strong and the manipulation extremely sophisticated. We were given the 'choice' whether or not to meditate, the majority of us didnt want to but it ended up being only me who did not meditate- the pressure on me became so unbearable I gave in. ( I was also the first to give up meditation a year later after being discovered encouraging younger students to not give in to the pressure). The pressure to join the SES- white dresses and all- grew stronger and stronger- thank God- to this I resisted- but many didn't. I have just discovered that a friend who I believed was horribly abused by our form teacher is currently a teacher in the school and a member of SES.
Good luck with getting your children into another school- it is hard but utterly worth it, I understand the difficulties but please dont make the same mistake myself and my parents made.
T.S


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