Towards a practical resolution for pupils past and present

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
nilsabm
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Towards a practical resolution for pupils past and present

Postby nilsabm » Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:37 pm

From recent exchanges with the current pupils of St James, I am under the impression that there are particular areas of interest and concern that both they and the ex-pupils on this site are in agreement about.

As I understand it, the newer pupils want a resolution that clears the St James schools of any adverse connections to the past.

The aim of the 'oldies' on this site is not to harm St James or its pupils, but to a) seek redress from those adults who were deemed culpable for the abuses that were highlighted in the recent Townend Inquiry, and b) to ensure that the SES doctrine which was so instrumental in initiating the said abuses, cannot again cause harm.

In the interests of progress, I am interested to know how pupils, past and present, feel about the demands put forward in the open letter. (The opinions of parents and others on this site would also be appreciated.) Which parts do people agree/disagree with; can any other resolutions be put forward etc.

So, in a spirit of reconciliation, here is a recap of the demands. I await your considered comments and observations.

1) The resignation of all current governors who were teachers or governors at St James or St Vedast during the period considered in the Townend report.

2) The termination of contracts of any teachers currently employed who were identified by Mr Townend as guilty of persistent acts of excessive punishment, including criminal assault.

3) The Schools to undertake genuine consultation with current parents on reform of the Schools' governance (including the appointment of non-SES governors), and that you act on the results of this consultation.

4) Complete transparency over the SES's influence over the St James Schools - including addressing governance, management, staffing, recruitment of pupils into the SES, curriculum, philosophy, and ethos.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:49 pm

I fully agree with the open letter.

Tom (former pupil)

daska
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Postby daska » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:04 pm

I have some reservations about point 2.

In theory yes all well and good, if they were guilty of criminal assault they should 'take it like a man' or woman etc and go...

but...

what if one of those named was one of the teachers who apologised voluntarily, who has successfully modified their behaviour and is valued by the current pupils as an excellent teacher?

The loss of a teacher under these conditions may appear to the current pupils to be vindictive behaviour on our part that negatively affects their school and education.

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:08 pm

Agree with Daska. Do you really want to be vindictive to someone who may have changed voluntarily years ago, had 'an epiphany' as Zathura said of Mr Lacey?

nilsabm
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Postby nilsabm » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:26 pm

Thanks for the responses so far.

Having started the thread I should, of course, state my own position!

I will do so, but first I want to urge people to state their views on this thread. I know many have expressed their opinions on the letter and means of reconciliation elsewhere, but these are spread out and diffused, and I think a central record will be of benefit to us all.

Personally I agree with the letter on all points except the second. I share the opinion that those teachers who have reformed, and are good at their jobs, should be entitled to continue in their posts, with the proviso that they make a sincere, public apology for their actions in the past.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:56 pm

My personal view is that those that actually committed abuse should never be allowed to work with children again.

I agree that Hipshon has a better case than the others because he did come forward with an apology, and I did respect him for that. However it was not an unreserved apology, but one with excuses attached to it - he vehemently defended Debenham and the SES in the same statement. For me a sincere and unconditional apology has not 'buts'. Out of the four other implicated teachers still currently employed at St James, not one of them throughout this whole episode has publicly come forward to express any form of contrition or apology for their abusive conduct.

Number two in the open letter states: "The termination of contracts of any teachers currently employed who were identified by Mr Townend as guilty of persistent acts of excessive punishment, including criminal assault". The point being only the governors know exactly which teachers, if any, Townend identified in his private report to them.

In addition to the above, I would also fully go along with what 'Sugarloaf' has written on the subject over the last couple of days:
I have signed the letter, and called for the implicated teachers dismissals, and I feel sorry for them. I think they are victims of the SES as much as we were. But its a matter of principle, if the governors want to show that they are taking responsibility, they have to demonstrate it by cutting all links with the abuse of the past...At the end of the day - this mess isnt going to go away untill the schools have cut their links to the abuse - so forcing change is the best way to get this done quickly, rather than letting it drag on. I dont want it to affect current pupils - but its clearly the schools behaviour thats in danger of making it do just this...To be fair, the only teachers whose dismissal is being demanded, are those named as having persistently used excessive punishment or indulged in criminal behavior, in Townends full and confindential report - available only to the governors. We all have a pretty good idea who they are, but until we have seen the report, we ought to be careful naming names. The school have admitted 2 current teachers fall into this category.

Alban
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Postby Alban » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:05 pm

I agree with all points.

I might have been persuaded that point 2 was a bit harsh in one circumstance, but IMHO the deafening silence from all but 3 of the teachers has convinced me that a total 100% break with the past is required. Besides which, you've got to ask yourself...would I ever be able to trust my child to a teacher that I know was guilty of abuse of children the same age...regardless of how long it was ago.

I guess I'm willing to forgive but not forget.

Alban

BoeingDriver
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Postby BoeingDriver » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:06 pm

Nils,

I think you have hit the nail on the head with your post.

I have been following the various threads on this sight for quite some time now and of late it has become apparent to me that various parties from both sides of the fence have been doing their best to muddy the waters of reason.

Here are some of my thoughts on the reconciliation process:

* There must be a public acknowledgement of the various abuses by,
and an unconditional apology from the Schools, the SES (or SoES) and
Board of Governors. (This perhaps could be in the form of a full page
in "The Times" as I believe that it is, or was, the newspaper of
preference.)

* Apologies from the individual teachers named in the 'Inquiry' who have
not had the intestinal fortitude to do so already.

A reason I have seen given for them not apologising is the fear of being sued if they own up.

I think it far more likely that legal action will be taken against them if they maintain what seems to be the SES stance of say nothing (thus cannot be accused of being untruthful) and ignore it (By ignoring it, we are not acknowledging its existance, therefore it is not there and there is nothing to answer for).

To the best of my knowledge no legal action has been taken, or is likely, against Messers Barber, Hipshon and Rasmussen. I believe that these men ( and that is what they have shown themselves to be!) now have the respect and perhaps even the admiration of the former students involved.

So much emphasis seems to be placed on 'truth and honesty' at the Schools:- is it not past time that those who espoused those very virtues while abusing their positions of trust and authority practiced what they preach?

If they continue to hide behind the flowing skirts of 'old mother SES' they can expect, and deserve, the scorn and derision of their former pupils/victims.

A lot seems to be being made of the open invitation to come to the Schools and see 'what happy and changed places' they are now. Failure to take up the offer is being portrayed as an absolute unwillingness to accept that there has been change.

I have absolutely no doubt that all past pupils want to believe that there have been changes for the better.

Back in the 70's and 80's the schools portrayed this image of students 'happiness and contentment filled' to visitors. What the visitors were actually seeing were students schooled in to looking 'happy and content' under threat of some dire consequence should they let the facade slip.

I can completely understand why former students who have suffered physical and/or mental abuse during their time at the Schools are hardly likely to want to come for a visit to see for themselves - don't forget, they've been there, done that and have the scars to prove it.

(Not wishing to get involved with the slanging matches going on within some of the other threads, but some of the views and attitudes being displayed by those who purport to be current or recent students of St. James are making the possibility any visits less and less likely. There is a threatening arrogance being exuded which smacks very much of the 'old' School.)

Another accusation being made is that the past pupils who have been posting on these forums merely want to take the school down. There is nothing further from the truth. Sure, there will always be someone with that on their agenda, but that is not something unique to St. James, it applies to just about every school, should the opportunity present itself.

The majority of posters, I believe, want the Schools to succeed but want to be assured that the demons from their times there have been exorcised and that they are safe and happy places that offer a well rounded and high standard of education.
I think it's important to recognise who the rabble rousers are and to take their contributions with a grain or salt or two.


Anyway, that's my tuppence worth. I hope it hasn't added to the muddiness!

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:27 pm

A voice of sanity.

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Sam Hyde
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Postby Sam Hyde » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:32 pm

BoeingDriver, I'm sorry but you really lost me there,

WHY DON'T WE ALL GO FOR A BEER!

Sam xox
thats old now, like me, only 4 weeks to go!!!!!
"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education"

BoeingDriver
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:55 am

Postby BoeingDriver » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:35 pm

It really wasn't that complicated, was it?

Try reading it S L O W L Y.

BoeingDriver
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Postby BoeingDriver » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:55 pm

But seriously, Sam, where did I loose you?

ses-surviver
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Postby ses-surviver » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:57 am

Sam Hyde wrote:BoeingDriver, I'm sorry but you really lost me there,

WHY DON'T WE ALL GO FOR A BEER!

Sam xox


Once again, when a serious post is made and the essence of the purpose behind a lot of the postings here is re-iterated, you act confused and suggest that perhaps Alcohol will help.

I really can't remember more than a couple of your posts where you stick to the subject matter at hand and don't try to deflect the conversation away in another direction. Its almost as if you have been schooled to be politicians. Maybe you've got a career ahead of you in Public Relations.

sugarloaf
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Postby sugarloaf » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:17 am

Thanks nils for starting this thread.

My views have been quoted several posts above

I have signed the letter, and called for the implicated teachers dismissals, and I feel sorry for them. I think they are victims of the SES as much as we were. But its a matter of principle, if the governors want to show that they are taking responsibility, they have to demonstrate it by cutting all links with the abuse of the past...At the end of the day - this mess isnt going to go away untill the schools have cut their links to the abuse - so forcing change is the best way to get this done quickly, rather than letting it drag on. I dont want it to affect current pupils - but its clearly the schools behaviour thats in danger of making it do just this...To be fair, the only teachers whose dismissal is being demanded, are those named as having persistently used excessive punishment or indulged in criminal behavior, in Townends full and confindential report - available only to the governors. We all have a pretty good idea who they are, but until we have seen the report, we ought to be careful naming names. The school have admitted 2 current teachers fall into this category.


Please can we keep this thread on topic for once, and ignore diversions like the one above - that seem to be appearing more often now. Sam et al - if you dont have a point to make - why make a post?

And please read that last line again before you think about making a reply

:-)

xstJ
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Postby xstJ » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:33 am

I agree with the open letter completely.

Someone who has abused children should never never be allowed to work with them again.

Obviously their victims may welcome and appreciate their apologies, but ultimately saying sorry doesn't change the crime.


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