A non subserviant girl's opinion-pls read this objectively

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Mary Edmunds
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:02 pm

A non subserviant girl's opinion-pls read this objectively

Postby Mary Edmunds » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:34 pm

Dear forum users,
I have been aware of the existance of this site for some time now but have only recently visited it and read some of the many many posts. Until July of last year I was a pupil at St James' Girls school which I attended for my entire education (from the age of 4 until I was 18.) Having left St James I decided to take a gap year and am currently in West Africa taking part in an outreach run by a charity called "Mercy Ships." This has been one of the most challenging periods of my life for many reasons. Firstly the poverty in this part of the world and the lack of social infrastructure provides a stark reminder of just how lucky we all are. Secondly, this charity, although primarily a medical charity providing surgery and other health care to those who could otherwise never afford or have access to it, is Christian. When I say Christian I do not mean hymn singing and the occasional Amen from a docile congregation, I mean full on evangelical and (some would say fundemantalist) Christian.Since I have been here I have seen some of the most incredible examples of generosity and service. Examples of self sacrifice that are simply overwhelming. And yet I have also observed narrow mindedness and self justification like I didnt think was possible.
Having been here for almost 7 weeks now I am beginning to appreciate the freedom of thought I was permitted at St James. I have begun to realise how lucky I was not to be forced into accepting anything as "The Only Way" and I am increasingly thankful for all the opportunities I was frequently given to enquire into any subject and to make up my own mind about the issues that affected me.
Before I continue I would like to assure all of you that no-one has "put me up to" writing this and I have been upset by the suggestions that some of the other posts have been a "hoax." I know for a fact that the statements enterred on behalf of Mr Body were genuine and that the boys writing in on behalf of their school are in no way being forced to defend it. I am not sure why many of you find ot so hard to believe that the school today is no longer a place filled with misery and oppression. In fact it is an extremely nurturing environment full of happiness and warmth. Please do not write off what I am saying as false, I simply want to defend a place that I have great affection for having recieved so much from it over the years. Not only did I recieve an outstanding education that has meant that I have got a place to go to St George's medical school in September. I obtained 6 A*'s and 4 A's at GCSE and two A's and and B at A-level and, i also left with an incredible set of friends and a strong sense of who I am. I greatly resent the implication that because I am a woman who has been through St James I must be subserviant to men and have no idea of what living in the "real world" is like. In fact I was given excellent careers advice throughout my time in the Senior School including talks from many past pupils who had made excellent careers in a wide variety of competitive fields. Surely, if the school honestly believed that all we would be good for was serving men they would have presented us with examples of "happy housewives" and images of the bliss of motherhood. We were also given a thorough education on drug abuse including the wider affects of using (beyond personal health issues)and sex education including methods of contraception and a detailed understanding of STI's. You may argue that this is atandard in all state and public schools but I have spoken to many of the friends I have met here who went to British state schools and they have said that they were often given little more than a video depicting two cartton characters "getting close in bed."
I do not have the time right now to go into the many details of St James life that I have enjoyed but I would wish to say that I hope this posting reveals that it is possible to gain a lot from an education there. I would also hope that it might allow some closure to those that suffered there in the past- at least you know that the schol has realised that those practices are harmful and dangerous and that they have stopped them completely. You can be safe in the knowledge that children are no longer being exposed to the treatment that you were. I do understand that some past pupils experienced terrible times at St James. I have 5 elder siblings 4 of whom are brothers and all of them went through St James. They too say that some of their experiences were terrible but; having seen the way in which the school has developed through watching the younger of their siblings go through it more recently, they have been able to let go of their past experiences and see the schol for what it is today. I would please encourage you to do the same so that the school can continue to grow in the positive way it has been for quite some time now.
With great sincerity
Mary Edmunds
Last edited by Mary Edmunds on Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sam Hyde
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Postby Sam Hyde » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:36 pm

Warm welcome to you darling!

Sambo xox :B-fly: :Fade-color
thats old now, like me, only 4 weeks to go!!!!!
"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education"

mm-
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Postby mm- » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:54 pm

I know for a fact that the statements enterred on behalf of Mr Body were genuine and that the boys writing in on behalf of their school are in no way being forced to defend it


Mary Edmunds,

Is it possible for you to explain how you know for a fact? West Africa seems a long way away, for someone to state that they know for a fact that statements posted on this BB are genuine.

You post a lovely account of life at St James and all that you have acomplished. My children must so obviously be at a different school. I am beginning to see the light....perhaps I shouldn't remove my children from St James after all..........

I wish you well.

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Sam Hyde
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Postby Sam Hyde » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:56 pm

Not quite as far away as some of the stuff coming out of Australia!!!! Ssorry couldn't resist....I'm off now I promise!

Sam xox
thats old now, like me, only 4 weeks to go!!!!!

"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education"

sugarloaf
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Postby sugarloaf » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:49 am

Welcome Mary,

Its refreshing to have such a well thought out, cogent, to the point, and readable post from a current/recent St J pupil for a change!
you say
I have 5 elder siblings 4 of whom are brothers and all of them went through St James. They too say that some of their experiences were terrible but; having seen the way in which the school has developed through watching the younger of their siblings go through it more recently, they have been able to let go of their past experiences and see the schol for what it is today. I would please encourage you to do the same so that the school can continue to grow in the positive way it has been for quite some time now.
With great sincerity
Mary Edmunds


One thing i couldnt help noticing though is the similarity of your views on the past mistreatement to a number of the other current/recent pupils on here. You seem to imply that what is needed is for 'us' to accept your word that the school is now absolutely fine, so we can then 'let go', and allow the school to continue to grow in a positive way.

As i think has been made abundantly clear, the vast majority of pupils who suffered at the schools just want the governors to demonstrate that the school is AOK now, by behaving in a manner that would be expected of normal school governors. We really shouldnt have to rely on the testimony of current pupils to feel secure. when you think about it it really is an extraordinary situation.

I am in no way suggesting that physical abuse is rampant in the schools today, but I would point out that when I left school in the mid eighties, at the end of a 10 year stretch where pysical and mental abuse did occur, I think if you had asked half my classmates whether they had a good schooling, I reckon at least 50% would have said yes. For one reason or another, it is possible to have people go through similar experiences, and come out with apparently irreconcilably different viewpoints.

Do you think anyone is currently standing in the way of allowing 'the school to continue to grow in a positive way'? If so who and how?

What do you think of the schools and the school governors response to the inquiry report?

CeliaR
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Postby CeliaR » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:05 am

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CeliaR
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Postby CeliaR » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:10 am

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The O
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Postby The O » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:50 pm

MM, I'm sorry if I appear rude, but one can access the internet worldwide within a matter of seconds, just because Africa is a third world continent it does not mean that there is not internet available. The internet is not only available to browse, but as a means of contacting and talking to others, I happen to know that she is still very friendly with people still in St James, do not forget, she has only just left, not much has changed since then anyway. Please do criticise Mary as she has done nothing wrong, how would you feel if you were in her position? I have been reading your posts, why are you so determined to bring the school into disrepute? Your kids are/were in St James? Did you notice any negative behavioural patterns since their joining? We are not evil, brainwashed or sanskrit reciting zombies, we have lives and if you want to understand how people turn out in the school if they stick with it till the end of 6th form I have countless examples of te fine people they have turned out to be. Mary is an example of this. How can we help you?

Sugarloaf, why can you not believe what we are saying? are words of 16-18 year olds not good enough for you, we have a much better idea than you may think, seeing as we go to the school! I agree with you that the Governors should come out with a statement sooner or later, which deals with the school currently, whether they will or not is another matter. I personally believe that we, the pupils, have a much better idea of what goes on inside the school than the Governors, I may be wrong, but thats how I feel. The governors only come to the Senior School once a term, and tend to not look at the state of the school, they just receive a report from the head-teachers, I understand.

If you are truly trying to find out if the school is OK at the moment, can't you help wondering if your campaign may be detrimental to the pupils inside St James? Especially the higher years where a main topic of conversation is this board, these are the students doing public examinations. Do you not feel that you have taken it far enough? Perhaps to make a frsh start...

Welcome Mary! Hope you're having a great time in Africa.

Thanks for reading
Theo Gould

Jerome
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Hello Mary!

Postby Jerome » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:20 pm

Great to hear from you again! Hope (as I'm sure) you're having a great time, Hannah says hi. I completely agree with what you are saying, and I think the people who don't just because they hate SES and everything and anything to do with it are arrogant and spiteful. Anyway, hope you get this, and have a fantastic time.

Jerome x

Mary Edmunds
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Postby Mary Edmunds » Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:55 pm

To mm,
I am so sorry that you do not think that my post could possibly be genuine. If I thought that a flamboyantly worded promise of assurance would make you believe that it was I would make one. However I only wanted to defend the school that I have gained so much from and the reason I am sorry is that your experience there must have hurt you so much that you can not believe that anything that comes out of it could be truthful. But, if you are a concerned parent or an observer and are worried for the state of the school now I would please ask you to look again before passing judgement. Not just at the evidence of past problems as written about on this website but at the here and now. This leads me to my next point. When I wrote that I hoped past pupils could "let go" of their past experiences so that the school could continue to develop positively I did not mean "get over it" or any other such insensitive statement. In fact I believe that you should be provided with all the means you need to attain closure and that apologies need to be made. However, I can not understand how this campaign is going to do that. Also the leafletting that happened at the school's open days, In what way did that constructively help your cause to find recompense about past offences? As I was still attending the school at the time I remember how damaging it was not only to the morale of the staff but also to the morale of the pupils. This was not because we were concerned that we were surrounded by child abusers but because we could see that a place we loved and many people who we had great respect for, were being threatened. We were not upset because we thought we were at risk but because we thought our school was. I think that this is why there have been so many angry words written on this site. We are hurt because a place that we see as a safe haven is under attack. Please understand that as much as you hate the schol for the past we amire it and respect it for how far it has come from that time. I hope this makes sense.
Once again, with great sincerity
Mary Edmunds
p.s. hey The O and Jerome and of course Sam- miss you all terribly

ses-surviver
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Re: Hello Mary!

Postby ses-surviver » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:13 pm

Jerome wrote:Great to hear from you again! Hope (as I'm sure) you're having a great time, Hannah says hi. I completely agree with what you are saying, and I think the people who don't just because they hate SES and everything and anything to do with it are arrogant and spiteful. Anyway, hope you get this, and have a fantastic time.

Jerome x


*shakes head*

Once again a St James pupil can't post without flying off into Hyperbole!

We dont *hate* the SES - we just wish it would live up to the so-called standards that of truth and honesty and principle that it is supposed to embody. You make it sound like everybody on hear wants to bring the whole organisation and St James crashing down - can't you see that people are just asking for change ... and the proof that change has taken place. Your continued blindness towards the 'real issues' is exasperating and just adds further proof in many people eyes that you are all 'brainwashed'

mm-
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Postby mm- » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:21 pm

Theo,

I wasn't aware that I was criticising Mary, in fact I wished her well.

I was just interested to know how she knew for a fact that statements being posted were genuine ...if she knows for sure as she states, then she implies that she gets that info straight from the horses mouth, which suggests that she is in direct contact with Mr Boddy. If this is true then I have to look at her picture of life at St James with a little bit of suspicion.

I have been reading your posts, why are you so determined to bring the school into disrepute? Your kids are/were in St James? Did you notice any negative behavioural patterns since their joining?


I have no wish to bring St James into disrepute but I would like for the truth to be told whatever that truth is.

My posts are that of a parent that has been through the school completely unaware of their links with the SES (yes unbelievable but true- this is not because I and many others have been walking around with our eyes closed as has been suggested in other posts, but because the beloved St James that Mary speaks of so highly, has done a damn good job in covering this one fact up).

It is very frightening and deeply disconcerting for a parent to suddenly find that their child goes to a school, which teaches their child some kind of Eastern philosophy which as a parent you have never heard of and know nothing about. For a school to not tell parents that there is an ongoing inquiry into serious matters until two days before it is published is deeply concerning. I could go on and on.


Yes, I have grave concerns over what my children are being taught and have been taught up until now without my knowledge or consent. If you have read my posts as you say you have, you will know that my eldest child has been affected by the education she has received at St James. My children will be removed from St James. If I had known or had been properly informed by the school that they had close links with the SES, my children would never have walked through the gates of St James. I am sorry that you feel my posts are vindictive in any kind of way or that I am trying to paint an untrue picture of what I have and am going through at the school today, however if it allows just one parent to make an informed decision about whether to send their child to St James or not then I am happy.

For the record Theo, I have nothing against the School of Economic Science. I simply do not wish for my children to be involved with this group in any kind of way whatsoever. Is that really such a bad thing?

mm-
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Location: LONDON

Postby mm- » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:50 pm

Mary,

I did not wish to cause any offence to you personally by my posts....I apologise if this is the case.

I agree and hope that at some point those that have been harmed in the past can find some way forward.

However, I cannot understand how this campaign is going to do that. Also the leafleting that happened at the school's open days, In what way did that constructively help your cause to find recompense about past offences?


I was not in any way party to the leafleting that occurred at same James. I heard this from a parent who had attended the open day and who as a result decided not to apply for a place for her daughter.

I am also not involved in any cause. I was directed to this site by another parent. I have found this forum informative and helpful. If this site did not exist I would still be in the dark.

As I was still attending the school at the time I remember how damaging it was not only to the morale of the staff but also to the morale of the pupils. This was not because we were concerned that we were surrounded by child abusers but because we could see that a place we loved and many people who we had great respect for, were being threatened. We were not upset because we thought we were at risk but because we thought our school was.


I am not condoning the leafleting but similarly, at least now you and some of the staff at St James can empathise with how parents feel, when they entrust the care of their children to what on the face of it seems like a great place, only to find years down the line that actually it's not what you thought at all. That what you had invested time and money in, was actually faulty.

Can you Imagine for one-minute, how a number of parents are feeling at this moment in time? That the one most precious thing in their lives, (their children) may also be threatened and at risk.

sugarloaf
Posts: 98
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Postby sugarloaf » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:19 am

Sugarloaf wrote:
I am in no way suggesting that physical abuse is rampant in the schools today, but I would point out that when I left school in the mid eighties, at the end of a 10 year stretch where physical and mental abuse did occur, I think if you had asked half my classmates whether they had a good schooling, I reckon at least 50% would have said yes. For one reason or another, it is possible to have people go through similar experiences, and come out with apparently irreconcilably different viewpoints.

As i think has been made abundantly clear, the vast majority of pupils who suffered at the schools just want the governors to demonstrate that the school is AOK now, by behaving in a manner that would be expected of normal school governors. We really shouldnt have to rely on the testimony of current pupils to feel secure. when you think about it, it really is an extraordinary situation.


The O wrote:
Sugarloaf, why can you not believe what we are saying? are words of 16-18 year olds not good enough for you, we have a much better idea than you may think, seeing as we go to the school!


Theo, I have never said I don?t believe what you (current pupils?) are saying. I was simply making 2 points ? that if the governors were doing their job we wouldn?t have to rely on current pupils testimonies, and that often two people can live in the same environment, and go through very similar experiences and come out with very different experiences and opinions.

You wrote:
I agree with you that the Governors should come out with a statement sooner or later, which deals with the school currently, whether they will or not is another matter.


This is not what I?m asking for, nor anyone else on this board. Why do the vast majority of current/recent pupils on this board appear to fail to grasp the basic issues being discussed?

To recap: I hesitate to talk for others, but as I see it:
Very few people here want to damage the school any way
Very few people ? if any ? are ?attacking? the current schools
No one wants to see current pupils negatively affected
The vast majority are simply asking the governors to take responsibility for their failure
And asking for the schools to sever the link with the people whose influences or actions caused abuse
And be transparent about what it is and what it does

I can understand that you feel you are being attacked, but you ought to be able to exercise some objectivity when looking at what is in front of you. After all many others who have much more reason to take a personalised viewpoint seem to be able to manage to.

Mary wrote:
In fact I believe that you should be provided with all the means you need to attain closure and that apologies need to be made. However, I can not understand how this campaign is going to do that.


Many people are asking for the quite reasonable actions from the school as above. If the school is prepared to make them ? it will obviously help closure for many people who find the schools lack of action a major obstacle to the process.

Thanks for your comments in your earlier post, I do appreciate the sincerity of what you say, but I?d still be interested in your thoughts on the following questions-

Do you think anyone is currently standing in the way of allowing 'the school to continue to grow in a positive way'? If so who and how?

What do you think of the schools and the school governors response to the inquiry report? What should they do next?

mgormez
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Postby mgormez » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:47 am

Mary, I've sent you a private message earlier but you haven't read it I see.

Never mind, I'll paste it here:

Could you edit your post and put some white lines in the text between paragraphs? That makes reading easier.

Thanks!
Mike Gormez


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