Schools' new statement on the Inquiry

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Goblinboy
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Re: Debenham

Postby Goblinboy » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:04 am

Ben Wheaton wrote:In 1992 he appeared at my parents divorce case as a witness for my stepfather - so on the face of it he believes in the legal process.


Ben,

Face value indeed. Debenham appears to believe in the legal process insofar as it can be exploited to support outcomes desired by the SES.

According to Hounam and Hogg's Secret Cult , Debenham has appeared in similar circumstances when the SES felt it was in their interest to drive the outcome of a case in a particular way. Frith Oliver who has posted on this BB may be able to give more insight on this matter as Debenham testified against her application to have custody of her children - children she wanted to remove from St James, against the wishes of her SES husband.

Cheers,

GB

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Re: Debenham

Postby Matthew » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:01 am

Ben Wheaton wrote:I am encouraging said brother to contribute - I trust you are too.

Yes, I have been for the last 2 years! He has contributed to the Mike Warham?s St J/V Reunited site, and more importantly (with some gentle persuasion) to the inquiry. His is a story that really does need to be heard; of which there remain a great many others too.

They?ve been saying Debenham has been ill for years now. He looked a picture of health when Tom, Dan and I met him a year or so ago, and he was well enough to make a statement to Channel 4. I believe they?re just saying that to protect him.

Goblinboy makes a good point about Frith Oliver. It may be worth PM?ing her about it as I?m not sure if she follows the site regularly.

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bella
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Postby bella » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:49 pm

Frith's story is one that has stayed with me long after many others have faded. I agree that it would be great to renew a connection with her.

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Letter from the Governors

Postby Matthew » Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:34 am

Stanton wrote:I received by recorded delivery this morning a letter from the governors (sent by Veale Wasbrough, the solicitors for the inquiry), dated 13 March. It says, inter alia, 'We would like to do all that we can to reconcile any differences or difficulties there might be, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how this might take place.' It's signed by John Story and Mary Pickering.

I received mine in email form via Christine Betts. Her covering letter reads:
Dear Contributor
St Vedast & St James Inquiry
As part of the reconciliation process following the Inquiry, the Governors of St James Independent Schools wish to make contact with contributors to the Inquiry. Please be assured that your name and address has not been disclosed to the Governors. This is why the Governors have sent me the enclosed letter and asked me to forward it to you.

Yours sincerely
Christine Betts
Clerk to the St Vedast and St James Inquiry

The attached and undated letter reads:
Dear

St James and St Vedast schools ? Independent Inquiry

We are writing to you on behalf of the Governors of the Independent Educational association Ltd, which has the responsibility for St James Schools and, formerly, for St Vedast School.

We note that you contributed to the recent inquiry conducted by Mr James Townend QC and although we are not privy to what you said, he listed your name as one of the complainants.

The Governors and all connected with St James and St Vedast schools are concerned that any former pupils found their time at the schools to be a source of unhappiness or distress.

We would like to do all that we can to reconcile any differences or difficulties there might be, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how this might take place.

If you would like to do this, please contact either of us at the address given (below). Please mark any correspondence as private and confidential and address it to either (or both) of us.

Yours sincerely,

Mr John Story
Governor (St James)

Mrs Mary Pickering
Governor (St James)

I am happy to share my reply with this board:

"Dear Mr Story and Mrs Pickering,

Thank you for your letter sent by Christine Betts via email on 13th March.

Taking what you write at face value I accept that it has been written with the best intentions for all concerned. However, I have to say that I do not recognise either of you as being in suitable positions to facilitate such a process. It would really need to be handled by a neutral and independent party i.e. one with no connection whatsoever to St James and/or SES.

Also, I do not think it is time to speak of reconciliation yet. When the teachers and Governors as identified in the Inquiry report have shown accountability for their actions, and resigned, thereby showing that the School is taking the findings of the report seriously, I may then be ready to consider reconciliation.

Essentially what I wish to communicate with the Governors is contained in the open letter. This has been widely publicised on the Internet message board, so you are no doubt aware of it by now. This will be sent to the Chair of Governors shortly. In my opinion, any talk of reconciliation is ?a waste of breath? until you and your fellow Governors have acted on what is being called for in the letter. So far all they have offered is rhetoric, and ten weeks on from the publication of the report, still no action has been taken. In a nutshell, talk is cheap.

To elaborate, it is my belief that St James and SES need to first reconcile themselves (from within) before they can think about reconciliation with former pupils. They need to take a long hard look at themselves and the nature of their interface with the outside world. When the Governors describe their reconciliation process on their IIRP website they have omitted a crucial step in the process. They say first we must establish the truth, then they talk of reconciliation. But what they fail to include is what action will now be taken inbetween these steps in response to the Inquiry?s findings i.e. demonstrating accountability and taking responsibility.

Even in the ?common life? any Board of Directors, Trustees, or Board of Governors who were found by an Independent Inquiry, as a matter fact, to have presided over a regime (even if in ignorance) of brutalising innocent children, would in the very first instance demonstrate accountability by insuring that all present Governors who were Governors at the relevant time, resign forthwith. Without this basic acknowledgment of where responsibility actually lay for these terrible deeds, talk of regret and contrition cannot, in all conscience, be taken seriously. The SES after all, is badged as a house of truth. Please come into the real world.

I shall end with a couple of quotes. Firstly from a friend and former St Vedast pupil:

?The Governors, SES teachers etc. are suffering from a classic case of cognitive dissonance - similar to the Catholic church and other faith based or absolute loyalty style organisations (communist party, mafia etc.).

They need to be woken-up, re-introduced to the real world (with all its beautiful faults and human frailties) and take accountability for what happened.?


And from my father:

?I am well aware of the beneficial influence on my own life of many aspects of the teaching which I imbibed as a member of the SES. The injunction that stands out most prominently is that taking personal responsibility for one's actions is the imperative of any citizen.?

So where I ask is the taking of responsibility here? Surely your organisation does not wish to go down in history being forever tarnished by accusations of hypocrisy, as well as unaccountability?

I hope to get the open letter sent off to the Board of Governors by the start of next week, and will look forward to the response.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Woolf"

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ET
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Postby ET » Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:16 pm

Wow! Excellent response Matthew! My sister and I have decided to respond too, and I had been thinking of replying in a similar vein, so knowing that you have done so will help both of us to reply as well.

Thanks for posting it, it's an inspiration.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:19 pm

Yes, absolutely Matthew,

I too made the point that it is them that need our forgiveness not us that need reconciliation to them.

Mine in post yesterday

Frith
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Re: Debenham

Postby Frith » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:05 am

Goblinboy wrote:
Ben Wheaton wrote:In 1992 he appeared at my parents divorce case as a witness for my stepfather - so on the face of it he believes in the legal process.


Ben,

Face value indeed. Debenham appears to believe in the legal process insofar as it can be exploited to support outcomes desired by the SES.

According to Hounam and Hogg's Secret Cult , Debenham has appeared in similar circumstances when the SES felt it was in their interest to drive the outcome of a case in a particular way. Frith Oliver who has posted on this BB may be able to give more insight on this matter as Debenham testified against her application to have custody of her children - children she wanted to remove from St James, against the wishes of her SES husband.

Cheers,

GB


Reply from Frith:

Yes, (I'm Frith Hooton by the way, reverted to maiden name). Debenham stood up in court and declared that I was un unfit person to be a mother, and that my home was not a fit place to bring up children. He looked a complete fool, because my barrister instantly enquired whether he had ever been to my home, and he had to admit he had not.

It is of interest to note that this same Debenham lay naked on a beach in the Isle of Wight with me when I was 15 and he was 35, at which time kisses were exchanged but no intercourse took place. Doubtless it was instances such as this which led to my being ostracised as a whore by the SES and made to pay a painful price in terms of fear and self-loathing.

I do not think we should place undue faith in Debenham's respect for either law or morality - and he was but one of many. The SES has always been riddled with the most outrageous hypocrisy.

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Postby Frith » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:08 am

bella wrote:Frith's story is one that has stayed with me long after many others have faded. I agree that it would be great to renew a connection with her.


Hullo Bella,

How kind of you to write this. I found it very moving and encouraging. Where do you fit into this unhappy picture? Reply privately if you prefer.

Very best wishes
Frith

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:26 pm

Bella can of course speak for herself but I find her picture a sunny one.

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bella
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Postby bella » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:47 pm

Howdy Frith,

Thanks for acknowledging. I'm a current member of one of the SES's Australian branches, and your story - especially the description of the increasing time demands, the unrealistic expectations on you as a bearer of the torch, and effect on your family relationships - really struck home for me. Your account was heartbreaking because it was so genuine, and there were more than a few passages that resonated strongly. Your evident strength and eloquence is probably what made your story stay with me, though. I'm not unhappy in the school I attend, but I think it would be a disservice to you as well as to myself and my future time in the school to let your story become homogenous in my mind - hence my comment here.

Will reserve the right to contact you privately as well, if that's ok.

Frith
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Postby Frith » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:17 pm

Will reserve the right to contact you privately as well, if that's ok.[/quote]

Yes of course. I'm glad things are pretty well with you, and you are both forewarned and forearmed!
Take care,
Frith.

PS I'm getting the hang of this at last! Only why don't my quotes come out in a nice little white box? Ooh, I've gone up to intermediate!

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Postby mgormez » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:54 pm

Frith wrote:Only why don't my quotes come out in a nice little white box?


Because you have a close tag but did not open the Bella-quote with an opening tag like this

Code: Select all

[quote]
.

So go back to the post of yours that went wrong, press edit and add

Code: Select all

[quote]
in front of the text of Bella.
Mike Gormez


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