Letters to governors "private and confidential"

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
chittani
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Postby chittani » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:36 pm

mm-

OK, but 20 or 65 still means it's one of the top schools in the country, no? Top 0.1 % I suppose.

My own children were there till recently, and I didn't notice them suffering as a result of the quirky teaching methods. When they went to state school afterwards they were 2 years ahead of most of their peers. Class 3 kids are only 6 or 7 ... why do you assume they should all read fluently? I didn't learn to read at all until I was 6. I don't know how you can be so certain of your point of view in the face of evidence to the contrary. Your child was at a school that is statistically very-good-to-excellent in academic terms, though non-selective and with many kids from difficult backgrounds.

Your other point is that it's run by a "mind control cult" ... well, that may or may not be true. Plainly, you've convinced yourself of that, and nothing anyone says to the contrary will make a difference, so I won't try.

The 'cult' thing is what's colouring your view of the academic performance. It must be, because the facts totally contradict your anecdotal evidence.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:34 pm

chittani wrote:A firm of solicitors put St James on notice a year back that they were acting for a group of anonymous former pupils and gathering evidence for possible legal action. That threat stands. The calls by Alban and others for the governors to come on this site are, in that context, no more than rhetorical taunting, as I presume Alban, Tom, Matthew etc are involved with this action, or know about it.

Excuse me! I'm not involved with any firm of solicitors or threatened legal action and I'm not an anonymous former pupil.

chittani wrote:If the Governors' invitation is the equivalent of a wolf inviting a sheep to dinner, then Alban's 'invitation' is no more friendly or safe than theirs, and Alban knows it. Any governor would have to have taken leave of their senses to do so.

Not at all. They'd just have to be willing to practise what the SES preaches, i.e. tell the truth. I think Alban's invitation is perfectly reasonable.

Anyway, why all the secret meetings? Lambie, the SES leadership and the St James governors know perfectly well what kind of abuse went on at the schools. The Townend Report has removed any possible excuse of ignorance. Why don't they just get on with it and apologise NOW?

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:43 pm

[Leaving Stanton to speak for herself, maybe you'd like to explain to me in what sense I'm a stooge? Or, you could just admit that it's another example of the casual, unthinking aggression that seems to be the stock-in-trade hereabouts.]

Unthinking? I certainly hope so. If you were thinking I would hate to think what unthinking might be.

Casual, unthinking aggression = yob. Yeah, let's lob a missile. who cares? Are you surprised that more people don't post on this board if the penalty is to get mugged?

daska
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Postby daska » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:57 pm

chittani wrote:Daska's post is quite typical of the kind of 'reconcile this, you b@st*rds!' reaction that can be expected for even the brand of mild approval of the School articulated by Stanton.


Chittani your post demonstrates that you haven't read many of my previous posts that actually deal with the school, btw if you decide to do this you should bear in mind that they are factual and based on my own experience...

I haven't ever addressed anyone here in 'that kind of language' - I reserve it for my ex-husband as he truly deserves the term - but I will observe, report and criticise behaviour which is deserving of criticism. And some attitudes demonstrated on either side are fully deserving, whether that is the "everything's ok now" or the "eradicate the schools at all costs" or the moderate way which I think I inhabit - a proper apology (not hidden away on an unknown website) and a demonstrable commitment to ensuring that the influence at the root of the problems we experienced is curtailed.

And Stanton, I think the majority of ex StV and StJ pupils who post here fall into the category of 'vulnerable'. Most of us, like chittani, have buttons that are easily pressed by those who programmed them.

nilsabm
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Postby nilsabm » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:34 pm

Gosh.... the most inflammatory thing I've seen Daska call anybody on this site is "sweetie" (on the thread 'Channel 4 Television would like to hear from you' on 1st March 2006). The recipient of that remark spat their dummy so far they're still searching for it in the Australian outback somewhere!

Where anger management is concerned, some of the most blatantly angry outbursts I've seen on this site have come from SES members, e.g.

chittani wrote::bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words: :bad-words:


All this suppression of the emotions they teach you guys is really bad for the psyche I'd say. You really need to get in touch with who you are and learn a to express yourselves in more constructive ways.....

For instance;
ner ne ner ne ner ner... and rasperberrries with waggly ears on them!!!!!

Alban
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Postby Alban » Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:00 pm

chittani wrote:...But any page on this board will glean remarks from the other side that are FAR more abusive. You cannot possibly compare the "iirep" site and say there is any equivalence there to the torrent of abuse that is on this one. Or can you?...


No, you cannot compare the two. The former is an open forum where everyone has a place to speak their mind, the latter a corporate shop-window for St James schools and the SES.

I think you need to look at your usage of "abuse". If you or anyone on this site has suffered abuse then it is their place to inform the moderators of the incident. I have read virtually every word on this board and despite the very emotive subject, there have been relatively few times when the moderators have had to step in.

Unfortunately you seem to confusing "abuse" with aggression. Abuse is directed at the person generally ridiculing or criticising a personal trait or characteristic, and as such is unacceptable. Aggression (within the realms of the written word) is no more than the enthusiastic defence of a position or opinion.

Yes, you may feel uncomfortable and even angry at what is being said, but you must understand that people are not attacking you. They are just attacking the beliefs and practices of an organisation which has caused them much pain and one which largely you have chosen to defend. It would be naive of you to expect otherwise given the circumstances.

chittani wrote:...or whether it is a forum for debate. I'm not questioning its therapeutic value or its effectiveness in agitating, but I think anyone who believes that it is in even-handed and rational is delusional. To be fair, I don't think anyone really does believe that.


A BB such as this is as rational as the people who use it, and you make up a part of it. Besides which, rationality is purely subjective.

It is not even-handed because the few who have come on here to speak on behalf of the organisations in question have generally disappeared pretty quickly when faced with a number of pointed questions about their views.

You could argue they do this because feel threatened, I would argue that they soon realise that they could not justify the experiences that the people here have to offer. They have to go because otherwise they would be forced to admit that the organisation that they have wedded their life and their family to has got a lot of things wrong. This would then bring their own judgement into question - and that would just be too painful

chittani wrote:...A firm of solicitors put St James on notice a year back that they were acting for a group of anonymous former pupils and gathering evidence for possible legal action. That threat stands...


So have they got something to hide or haven't they? They tell us they haven't, so they should have no problem coming on this board to defend their position. If they have something to hide then they will be found out and shown to be dishonest by their rhetoric. I repeat my question - what have they got to be scared of?

chittani wrote: The calls by Alban and others for the governors to come on this site are, in that context, no more than rhetorical taunting


Would you care to defend that statement.

I have given perfectly reasonable arguments in favour of genuine representatives coming here to publicly answer questions and putting their case. So far you have only cited "abuse" as an inhibitor, which in the "context" of what is being alleged is a drop in the ocean...jeez, anyone would think we were swinging cricket bats about.

chittani wrote:...as I presume Alban, Tom, Matthew etc are involved with this action, or know about it...


You seem to know more about it than me Chitanni. I have had no contact with solicitors regarding the schools, and I have always stated that I am not interested legal action on the basis that only the solicitors would benefit. So maybe you can justify your assumption - or is it just another lie sold to you by the influential leaders of the SES that you claim to be in contact with.

chittani wrote:...If the Governors' invitation is the equivalent of a wolf inviting a sheep to dinner, then Alban's 'invitation' is no more friendly or safe than theirs, and Alban knows it.


I don't actually agree that the governors invitation is akin to the wolf inviting the sheep to dinner. The trouble is with the invitation is that it is done between individuals and behind closed doors. This is in their best interests, we simply want them to justify their position publicly - which is far more efficient anyway.

I would certainly agree that it won't be a "friendly" exchange, but from what I can see, it is perfectly safe for both parties, unless the schools are trying to cover up something. So maybe you could comment on the "safety" that is being compromised?

chittani wrote:...Any governor would have to have taken leave of their senses to do so.


Why?

What are you suggesting will happen?

chittani wrote:...The problem so far as I can see is that both sides mistrust each other deeply. So long as that situation prevails, there won't be any truth or reconciliation.


It is true, we don't trust them because historically they have a very poor record in this area as borne out by the Townend report. On the other hand, I don't see why they don't trust us. We have done everything we have said, we have not gone back on our word and we have spoken truthfully of our experiences. They can trust us to say things that are uncomfortable for them to defend, and they can trust us to challenge everything they tell us.

If they believe that all or some of us are lying then at least they'll get a chance to come and defend themselves - at the moment they are offering no defence, which does not look good to any prospective parents searching on Google.

So to get to a position of Truth and Reconciliation, we must start with the Truth. At the moment, there is a huge discrepancy between what they are saying and what we are saying. I'm guessing that all their public communications are vetted by lawyers (certainly on this site all the recent communications has been through CBetts)...but why (again!)...what are they scared of saying...we speak of our experiences without recourse to lawyers knowing that it would be relatively easy to trace any one of us with the appropriate court orders.

The only way to get to a tenable position on this is for discussion to take place, but given the nature of the process, it must be open. This site is the nearest that can be achieved given the geographical location to a number of the parties.

chittani wrote:...And for those of us who aren't involved with the conflict directly, the question is how long we want to go on posting on a site with this kind of atmosphere. As much as anything, does it do any good?


Yes, it does do some good in that it at least gives people a chance of hearing both sides of the story so they can make up their minds themselves. I can understand if you get tired of it - I do too sometimes. Maybe you could persuade some of the governors to assist you, and maybe David Boddy and Laura Hyde would like to start contributing again too.

Alban

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:38 am

chittani wrote:A firm of solicitors put St James on notice a year back that they were acting for a group of anonymous former pupils and gathering evidence for possible legal action. That threat stands. The calls by Alban and others for the governors to come on this site are, in that context, no more than rhetorical taunting, as I presume Alban, Tom, Matthew etc are involved with this action, or know about it.

You raised exactly the same question last month and I told you then that I have never been involved in any type of legal action against St James, and nor has it ever interested me. You accepted this then, so why raise it again? If SES apologists still choose to doubt or question this, for whatever reason or agenda, then that's their problem, but frankly it's getting pretty boring now. And why do you single out us three just because we have had the guts to use our real names. I've always used my name because I have never had anything whatsoever to be ashamed of, or feel the need to deny. I do, of course, fully appreciate the well-documented reasons why some feel the need for anonymity.

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:46 am

chittani wrote: You cannot possibly compare the "iirep" site and say there is any equivalence there to the torrent of abuse that is on this one. Or can you?


Agree that they cannot be compared usefully for levels of abuse, or for anything much else, because one is a website and one is a public bulletin board.

It's like the difference between a monologue and and public dialogue. The BB is the product of almost entirely unmoderated contributions of anyone who cares to register. The website is the carefully crafted product of the organisation(s) that it belongs to.


chittani wrote:The problem so far as I can see is that both sides mistrust each other deeply.


The idea of "sides" is perhaps oversimplying things, because there's wide range of apparent positions and sympathies exhbited by many posters that do not lend themselves to categorisation as adversarial opposites.

I think any poster demonstrating sympathy for the SES will receive a high degree of scrutiny of their arguments on this BB, which is one reason the BB exists - as a general discussion of the SES. As such, it is not likely to be comfortable place. Some of that scrutiny is likely to be hamfisted or misdirected, much is less so. Oh the whole, I think that SES members such as yourself, Stanton and Bella have been widely appreciated by the regular readers of the board, and I value your participation highly.

On the subject of abuse - there are very few posters who are consistently abusive or calling for the destruction of anything. I think it's regrettable that yourself and Stanton were labelled as "stooges" without apparent justification of that claim (unless you have an affilication with the early work of Iggy Pop, in which case it's laudable). The perpetrators of most recent ad hominem attacks - a very small number of the senior St James students - appear to have drifted away. Even they consistently agreed with the position of many of the posters calling for more appropriate action from the St James School governors.

BTW - a digression - I don't think a school's ranking in league tables indicates anything other than its ranking in league tables. A very high standard of academic excellence has little to do with a school's "goodness", as far as I can see. But that' s another topic entirely.

Regards,

Goblinboy

daska
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Postby daska » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:47 am

P.S. Chittani, I may be 'anonymous' but I know nothing of any threat of legal action other than has been mentioned on this board - MAINLY BY YOU!

chittani
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Postby chittani » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:48 am

Phew! That stirred things up, eh!

My use of the angry faces :bad-words: were an illustration of the emotional atmosphere on the board, NOT of my feelings towards it.

Anyway ... as I've said before, I don't mind people being angry who have good reason. I have a tiny issue with people who get most of their info here and work themselves up into a lather about it all. And I don't at all believe that this board is balanced. Of course a board such as this is only as good as its participants, but if the moderators use abusive language then things will get out of hand. One moderator (Goblin Boy) has just criticised another (Daffy) for calling Stanton & me stooges of the governors. Not sure what that says.

It's nice that he stood up for us. We didn't get any other supportive responses, though, just lectures about the difference between aggression and abuse.

You're right to say that 'sides' is too cut and dried, however. My own view is that David Boddy's "potter's wheel" analogy could well be applied here. The School and St James are feeling the hand of discipline upon them right now - they're being forced to do what otherwise they would not do. That's what this site has done. Do I think that's bad? Not at all. In fact I'm delighted with it. But whether or not there's much further use in someone like me taking part is another question.

Legal action has definitely been threatened. By whom is a good question, if it isn't the main instigators of the board. Guys, you can rant all you want at me about it. Someone has done it, and it's inhibiting the whole process. Don't you want to know who?

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:32 pm

One moderator (Goblin Boy) has just criticised another (Daffy) for calling Stanton & me stooges of the governors. Not sure what that says.


Well it tells me that you still haven't grasped the nature of bulletin boards.

There is no party line here - to quote Python 'yes, we are all individuals'. Daffy and GB have very different experiences of the SES. One is Australian the other British. Their veiwpoints are their own and not in any way dictated by the board.

a mod's job is merely to ensure netiquette is followed. So if I happen to find out your real name Chit, and post that along with other personal details, the mods will delete the post and rap me over the knuckles - maybe even ban me. Ditto if I start spamming the board with all sorts of useless threads. Ditto if I start personally abusing you.

That is the job of a mod - they are housekeepers.
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

chittani
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Postby chittani » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:34 pm

Ditto if I start personally abusing you.


Ah, but what if they personally abuse me? Do they rap their own knuckles? I thought self-policing was the special preserve of governors of St James, har de har.

Look, I'm not really all that offended.

As Merry would say, gravitate to the luv, y'all.

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:31 am

chittani wrote:One moderator (Goblin Boy) has just criticised another (Daffy) for calling Stanton & me stooges of the governors. Not sure what that says.


Hopefully it indicates, as ADG has observed, some diversity among the moderators, and a willingness to be transparent about our views.

chittani wrote:Legal action has definitely been threatened. By whom is a good question, if it isn't the main instigators of the board. Guys, you can rant all you want at me about it. Someone has done it, and it's inhibiting the whole process. Don't you want to know who?


(Removes moderator's hat) It's certainly worth knowing that legal action has been threatened, as it helps, in part, to make some sense of the Governor's behavior. However I'm not sure what difference knowing the identity of the party or parties would make.

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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:54 am

If the moderators are either not doing their job or are breaking BB rules, then it would be Mike's job as the board owner to act.

However, until then...

BoeingDriver
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Postby BoeingDriver » Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:47 am

Chittani says 'legal action has been threatened.... and it's inhibiting the whole process'.

As Goblinboy said, does it really matter who has supposedly made this move?

The "threatened legal action" is not what is inhibiting the process. The whole thing smacks of more smoke and mirrors from the governors and the SES hierachy, as does, for that matter, Stanton's revelation of the supposed 'children will be hurt' letter.

I would think that any normal organisation when threatened with legal action would look at any means of making it go away, to minimise the potential impact on them.

If there is plainly nothing to answer for, your lawyers talk with their lawyers and it gets sorted, if that doesn't work to goes to court and the system sorts it out.

If there is something to answer for, the smart move is to 'fess up and ask forgiveness - to come to some arrangement that satisfies both parties; not to have the matter taken before the courts for all the dirty laundry to be aired in public.

Sadly, it would seem that the governors and the SES want 'the children to be hurt' and then they will attempt to put the blame on those who were hurt all those years ago.

Today's children won't be physically hurt, they probably won't be mentally hurt, but they will be stuck with the undeserved stigma of being the products of a school run by arrogant, sadistic egomaniacs who, when confronted with the truth, refuse to see it (probably because their heads are stuck too far up their own arses!!!!!).


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