Moving schools - taking a child out of St James

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Merry
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Bouncing meditators

Postby Merry » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:26 pm

Yes Mike - The idea of 'hopping about on one's arse' sounds most intriguing - have you been going to some dodgy nightclubs?

Regrettably is does not form part of my meditation but I'm willing to give it a bash and let you know what happens.

Boing....boing.....boing......

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ET
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Postby ET » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:33 pm

Teacher 100,

I agree with Goblinboy that it is very brave of you to keep posting on here despite the strong opposition to a lot of what you have written.

If your picture of the senior girl's school is true, then I am heartily relieved that things have changed so much for the better since I was there. It's what I always hoped would happen.

However, I would be genuinely interested to know your own personal views on the role of women. This is something which has been discussed at length elsewhere on this BB, and it seems that the SES philosophy on this has not changed much. The destruction of my will and the school's insistence that my one role in life was to get married and have babies (although I could be a teacher if I really wanted to - this was said very begrudgingly) has caused me significant problems.

So - what do you feel is a woman's role in society? What is her role in a marriage? Can and should women strive to be as successful as men in whatever job they want to do?

The reason I am so interested to know your views, is that I think that the generally held SES belief when I was at the school was that women were in every way inferior to men. I think this did incredible damage to many girls, including me, my sister and (a generation before as a child member of SES) to my mother. I also think it has a lot to do with why so few ex-pupils of the girl's school came forward and took part in the inquiry. I know for a fact that there are loads of us out there who went through hell at the schools, so why the silence? I believe fear and a total lack of self-confidence brought on by years of being made to feel inferior is the reason.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:05 pm

What's the weather like down your way, ET? I'm going to be in Montpellier tomorrow.
I agree with Goblinboy - parents should be fully informed of the nature of St James, and its teachings. Who knows? It could attract more than it puts off. A previous post quoted a complimentary account of the schools from an Indian source - the only caveat being that parents should realise that the Bible would be taught. If they didn't mind that - it was a great school. It all depends on your point of view.

Merry - Like your Bagpuss - he's come up in the world!

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Re: Bouncing meditators

Postby mgormez » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:20 pm

Merry wrote:Yes Mike - The idea of 'hopping about on one's arse' sounds most intriguing - have you been going to some dodgy nightclubs?


No, but I do know what the TM religion stands for and its "Bubbling Bliss of Yogic Flying" aims as formulated by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Mmm... Can I say religion or is this sold in the schools as another "philosophy" or is it this time perhaps indeed a "science"? Surely any transparency should also make clear what religious doctrine the pupils are emersed in.

And for any world piece TM enthusiasts
http://transcendental-meditation.global ... peace.html
Last edited by mgormez on Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:05 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Mike Gormez

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:31 pm

What fun some people have - I think I see Merry there - oh, no, it's some other Bagpuss!

AntonR
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Postby AntonR » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:38 pm

Post deleted
Last edited by AntonR on Wed May 17, 2006 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

teacher100
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Postby teacher100 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:31 pm

AntonR, Please don't patronise me. I only studied the Laws of Manu twice in the last 11 years of being in the SES, and that was to laugh at it. Just because a text is studied in the SES, does not mean that all the members believe every word of it. Jeez, you've got to be reasonable.

As to the cast system in India, what you say is true, but the message of Advaita philosphy in my understanding is that everyone, yes everyone, is an expression of God. That is what I try to practice, and how I try to treat people. This is why the philosophy goes beyond the forms of Hinduism, and why people find it so difficult to understand from the outside. For example, I am a Roman Catholic, and love studying the gospels and letters of the apostles because in them I see the same message of unity. I love the first letter of John, which say that if we love one another God's love will be complete in us. I actually don't see any difference here.

This is what the school is talking about by its non-denominational message. This message is found in all the major religions.

ET, I am relieved you brought this up. Female subservience is nonsense. I do think there were members of the school who made a big mistake about this. I have to say this is certainly not the message the girls receive now. Marriage is great and it is a combination of equal partners. Because I work so hard at school my gorgeous hubby does the shopping, washing and cooking and I have a cleaner to do the ironing and cleaning. So I don't do anything domestic. I actually think its a bit unfair because these things should be shared, but at the moment he would actually starve if he waited for me to finish my marking!

I actually asked the head here whether she would encourage a girl who wanted to study engineering at University before I took the job, and she said she would. This may sound a small thing but it is very important to me that the girls are encouraged and supported in any field they wanted to follow. We have girls going off to study all sorts of things and doing fantastic things in gap years - I am quite envious!! ET, I think I know you too, I think you were the one girl in our class who I felt had a rough time in the early 1980's. Hope you are OK, and lots of love. The place couldn't be more different to how you remember it. We just did a staff review on Monday, spoof James Bond and I played M, other teachers playing other parts, including 4 teachers dancing to 'Kung Fu Fighting.' It was so great and unstuffy and the girls loved it. This school gets better by the minute!

Again, feel free to contact me and many thanks to those who have supported me.

MM, please don't think I am trying to attack you or insult you, I am really trying to be honest.

Best wishes

teacher 100

chittani
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TM

Postby chittani » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:28 pm

Just to clear something up, there is a BIG difference between TM (administered by the Maharishi) and the School's meditation. We don't:

- bounce around trying to fly
- claim that it has a mystical effect on the world
- refer to it as TM

The Maharishi is a (somewhat) rogue disciple of Shantananda ... don't know the politics, but the School of Meditation was set up to administer meditation to School members as an alternative to going to the Maharishi's lot. It also offers meditation to the general public.

By the way, a friend of mine knows someone involved in a class-action suit against the TM organization for damage to his knees ... I guess those who fly too close to the sun get their wings burnt, eh!

AntonR, it seems to me that your harshness has more in common with the "Old School" ways than with those of the present organization. I can hear in your 'voice' the echo of the past. Not sure whether you're aware of that.

Teacher100, I agree with a lot that you say, but GoblinBoy's remarks go to the heart of it. Without transparency, we got nothing.

teacher100
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Postby teacher100 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:33 pm

Apologies, I didn't answer the question on Mental Health.

There are enormous pressures on teenagers today and I have found that pupils from broken homes particularly, often suffer enormously in terms of self-confidence.

There is not a school in the country where pupils, particularly girls, do not suffer from eating disorders or engage in self-harm. Any school that claimed this would be lying. As teachers we are aware of those issues. We do have a small number of cases at school, but my friends who are teachers in other schools are always surprised by how few cases there are relative to other schools. I think this is because the girls here are generally confident and happy.

Any girl who needs it is referred to a professional counsellor, we are not amateurs and a good teacher knows the limits of his/her abilities.

I talk to my form about ways to relieve pressure from academic work - go for a walk, take regular breaks, try to stick to deadlines, plan your work but I also encourage them to be confident in who they are, that they are perfect as they are and do not need to be different.
'If God had wanted me otherwise, he would have created me otherwise' etc.. I also tell them how great they are and how much I love them, and try to praise them as much as possible as do other teachers. I hope this helps with self-esteem.

Why are people so convinced that something must be wrong, when so much is right? I don't know what I can say to convince people.

A bit bemused

Teacher 100

Planet
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Postby Planet » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:24 pm

mgormez wrote:
Merry wrote:Yes Mike - The idea of 'hopping about on one's arse' sounds most intriguing - have you been going to some dodgy nightclubs?


Image

chittani wrote:We don't:

- bounce around trying to fly


Looks like fun to me.

teacher100 wrote:Why are people so convinced that something must be wrong, when so much is right? I don't know what I can say to convince people.


On a more serious note it seems teacher100 is doing some good for her pupils and this should be respected. However trust is something that takes years to build and seconds to lose.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:19 pm

teacher100 wrote:I talk to my form about ways to relieve pressure from academic work - go for a walk, take regular breaks, try to stick to deadlines, plan your work but I also encourage them to be confident in who they are, that they are perfect as they are and do not need to be different.
'If God had wanted me otherwise, he would have created me otherwise' etc.. I also tell them how great they are and how much I love them, and try to praise them as much as possible as do other teachers. I hope this helps with self-esteem.

Why are people so convinced that something must be wrong, when so much is right? I don't know what I can say to convince people.

Well, the SES doesn't have a great record of telling the truth about its schools, does it? What was it that David Boddy said on Channel 4 the other night? "This was the first time the Governors had really heard of all of this." Hmm...

By the way, how do your pupils react when you tell them that girls at St James and St Vedast used to be beaten with shoes in front of the class, or had soap forced into their mouths, or were made to do exhausting physical exercise in front of the class as punishments? Or do you choose not to mention these things and just dwell on the positive?

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:34 pm

Teacher100 wrote:

Why are people so convinced that something must be wrong, when so much is right? I don't know what I can say to convince people.


Possibly the thing that is wrong is that the school, its teachers, its heads, its governors are being so slow to move effectively after the damning findings of the governors own report. You would think that there would be a real urgency to offer meaningful apologies, and when they are not forthcoming from your own governors and heads, you might expect pressure from within the school to force the process. But instead we have everyone coming on this site telling everyone how its all changed.

You would do so much better at reassuring both the past pupils and the current parents that it is a changed organisation if you all demanded an apology be posted on this forum. It is after all the wonderfull caring organisation partially because we bore the brunt of their learning curve.

So please forgive me my distrust, but make some effort to understand why I came out of an education run by the same principles and the same staff as your 'new' school with a deep scepticism of anything run by the SES and a problem with expressing anger - fortunately now cured.

It is not our problem any more, it is your problem and it affects your school. What are you going to do about it?

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Postby anti_ses » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:58 pm

Keir wrote:You would do so much better at reassuring both the past pupils and the current parents that it is a changed organisation if you all demanded an apology be posted on this forum.

Keir, your last post seems to imply that any statement made by current teachers or pupils at St James in personal capacities can justifiably be met with immediate distrust until an open apology is given and approporiate action is take.

Please verify whether or not this is the case because, if everyone held this opinion, there is little purpose in current teachers or pupils posting here at this time.

For the record, I do believe those who have been in any way hurt by St James deserve sincere apologies. Though the mistakes that were made cannot be corrected, they can be admitted.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:59 pm

anti_ses,

I don't imply that I distrust the motives of Teacher100, or indeed anyone who speaks up for the 'current' school, I simply say that I have a problem trusting posters that suggest that everything has changed whilst they are in a school with a well-documented past in minimising the opinions of children and women, and despite almost universal agreement on a meaningful apology, they do not push for action.

There are and always were plenty of people in the SES who knew of the worst excesses of some people in the organisation and for diverse reasons said nothing or when they did they were ostracised, put down, dismissed, and nothing changed.

Do you think that if they had actually been encouraged to take their own appropriate concerns seriously they might have been listened to more intently and the excessively cruel and violent tempered members might have been expelled, or at the very least brought to book much earlier.

To suggest that teachers and current pupils dont have a right to post is ridiculous. To suggest that the organisation that they are prepared to defend publicly deserves their appropriate anger is I think fair given the acceptance of the reports findings and the subsequent innaction and faff. They are after all in place to challenge the governors and the heads. We are all dismissed as rabid lunatics intent on destruction for destruction's sake, so it is hardly likely that they will listen to us.

The schools have a problem, they are uniquely qualified to advise their governors what is at the root of it, and the longer they hang around and post on this BB, the more able they are to understand that the majority of people do not accept their apology as genuine, find their delay abhorent, feel that they should be more visible, and should accept the personal part they played in the environment which provided a cover for abusive teachers.

I believe the younger posters have already lost interest in the promises they have made to take the issues up with their tutors and teachers. That or they have hit that stone wall of resolute bullshit that SES members have been using to try to take the steam out of angry people for years.

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:54 pm

Greetings anti-ses, good to see you participating again.

anti_ses wrote:
Goblinboy wrote:The underlying philosophy of SES-related schools appears to be a highly regulated and adaptation of Advaita Vendata.

This is only true if the philosophy is rammed down pupils' throats.


Don't understand the causal link between the nature of a philosophy and how it is taught that you imply. Conclusion doesn't follow the premise. I'm talking about content, not how it is imparted.


anti_ses wrote:
Goblinboy wrote:Nearly all teaching staff and governing executive are SES members.

Two thirds of the girls school staff are SES members, as Teacher100 pointed out - certainly this is most of the staff, but hardly 'nearly all' teaching staff. I'm not nitpicking here: any sceptic who comes across an exaggerated statement such as this will have the image of some cult in their head. Like many who have visited these boards.


Anti-ses, for reasons that aren't clear to me, you're talking about St James in London. A quick scan of my post will reveal that I was discussing all SES-related schools worldwide. So please don't accuse me of exaggeration.

As for the various leaders' involvement in the schools, there's sufficient material on this BB already - I lack the time and inclination to trawl for it.

But let's get out of the weeds and zoom out to the big picture. The thrust of my post was not these minor details, but transparency. Let prospective parents of pupils know exactly what to expect, and there are few if any issues to discuss. The staff may worship carrots and teach the kids to juggle frogs and set the laws of Manu to themes from The Sound of Music - it's of little concern, providing they are open about what they teach and why. Parents can then make an informed decision about whether they want their kids to be proficient frog-jugglers.

I hope you catch my drift. We can argue about the minutiae for many inches and achieve very little, but I hope you don't disagree about transparency.


GB


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