Stanton: "...otherwise the children will be harmed"

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Snowman
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Postby Snowman » Mon May 08, 2006 1:59 pm

My understanding of that paragraph:

Decisive action is required by the governors without delay in order to minimise disruption to current pupils' education. i.e. the longer that the governors sit on their hands and do nothing, the greater the risk to current pupils' education and academic success.

To ensure that current pupils are happy, safe and fulfilled - in contrast to my 14 years of St James education where I felt extremely unhappy, often fearful and unloved.

I recall anecdotes from current, or at least recent, parents on this BB telling of humiliation, unhappiness and emotional distress.

IMHO

concerned-parent
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Postby concerned-parent » Mon May 08, 2006 2:16 pm

Snowman wrote:My understanding of that paragraph:

Decisive action is required by the governors without delay in order to minimise disruption to current pupils' education. i.e. the longer that the governors sit on their hands and do nothing, the greater the risk to current pupils' education and academic success.



What risk, Snowman? As I recall, when current pupils came on to this board because they perceived (and stated) that this board was attacking their school, they were told that this was not the case. It doesn't seem to me that the majority of the posters here wish to attack the current school, although perhaps some do - I personally cannot conclude that grafitti and leafletting is somehow coincidental, although perhaps it is. But not the signatories of the open letter who say there has been 'no threat' intended by them.

What then is the risk? Do you mean the fact that this public website exists and puts off prospective parents? Does this website therefore in itself cause a risk to the current pupils' education and academic success?

daska
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Postby daska » Mon May 08, 2006 2:30 pm

concerned-parent wrote:I would also like to ask for clarification of this paragraph in the open letter. I do not see that it is a threat, but what actually is meant by it? Why is it in the open letter; what disruption to the current pupils is being referred to?


The disruption of an inquiry? The disruption of the comments on this BB being spun and fed to them with a dose of poison? Do these not count as 'disruption'? Is certainly what I understood it to mean.

concerned-parent wrote:Why is decisive action required to ensure that the schools are places where the children are happy, safe and fulfilled? Does that mean that they are not?


They looked happy to outsiders when we were there, indeed we even told people we were happy, but as the report has confirmed, they weren't. The governors were still saying that it was StV that was unhappy and not St James but, as the report has confirmed, this was not the case.

concerned-parent wrote:This paragraph mystifies me - not the reconciliation part- but the rest. As someone who has followed this board I do not imagine for a moment that it is intended as a threat, but I do not understand what the intended meaning is.


The governors did nothing to ensure that we were safe when we were at school. How do you know they've changed their spots?

Snowman
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Postby Snowman » Mon May 08, 2006 3:37 pm

concerned-parent wrote:What risk, Snowman? As I recall, when current pupils came on to this board because they perceived (and stated) that this board was attacking their school, they were told that this was not the case. It doesn't seem to me that the majority of the posters here wish to attack the current school, although perhaps some do - I personally cannot conclude that grafitti and leafletting is somehow coincidental, although perhaps it is. But not the signatories of the open letter who say there has been 'no threat' intended by them.

What then is the risk? Do you mean the fact that this public website exists and puts off prospective parents? Does this website therefore in itself cause a risk to the current pupils' education and academic success?


Hi CP,

The risk of disruption that might be caused should the inquiry, responses and action thereafter (or lack of it) drag on and on indefinitely. Time and resources are diverted from the job of running the schools to dealing with the process and consequences of the inquiry - this may pose a risk to the quality of academic learning that pupils receive.

This website may put-off prospective parents but I don't believe that the consequences of this, if there are any, disrupts current pupil's education. I do not believe, either, that this website causes a risk directly to their education - however, inasmuch as this website has played a part in bringing about an inquiry and forced St James governance to address the issues that it raised, then yes it may well have caused disruption to some pupil's education.

Sam Hyde and other current pupils have no doubt been distracted from their academic pursuits by the fallout from the inquiry and the place that they turned to voice their opinions was this website.

Had the governors taken immediate action to genuinely seek reconciliation and to be seen to be changing the governance structure of the schools when the allegations first arose, then we would not be into the 2nd year of this. Consequently all the outstanding issues could have been resolved by some time ago and any disruption or risk of disruption could have been minimised.

The wording of the letter advises that disruption to pupils' can be minimised by the action of the governors. There are no threats or attacks directed at the school, its pupils, teachers or parents but there are 4 suggested actions for the governors to take.

I put my name to that letter because I believe that those 4 actions are necessary steps for the school to take. Have they yet taken place? No; and the longer that there is no proactive effort by the governors to do so, the greater the risk that the standard of education that St James can provide will slip.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Mon May 08, 2006 3:53 pm

Pincham?s reply to my open letter is currently being circulated to its 91 signatories. Now that it has also been posted here I thought I should clear up any confusion surrounding paragraph 3 of the open letter:

The assurances Pincham has sought (and on which the governors? consideration of the letter is conditional) are based on a misreading of the 3rd paragraph, stating ?decisive action is needed now to minimise disruption to current pupils?. This statement was merely a recognition of the fact that the inquiry and Townend?s findings of abuse will inevitably be causing much anxiety to current parents and pupils. It is my belief that decisive action by the Governors is essential to bring this matter to a close. Absolutely no threat of disruption was implied.

I would add that the open letter was a public letter available for any member of the school community (past or present) to sign should they wish to do so; as such it is also incorrect of him to infer that I represent any of the signatories.

I have made these points clearly to him in my own personal reply.
Last edited by Matthew on Mon May 08, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

concerned-parent
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Postby concerned-parent » Mon May 08, 2006 4:24 pm

OK, it makes sense now. Sort of - I mean your reponses, Daska and Snowman, do make complete sense. However, as a relatively disinterested outsider I must say that the original paragraph was not clear to me at all. I am not at all trying to play Devil's Advocate in this, nor do I consider myself paranoid and/or prejudiced, but to me personally, it is understandable that it could be misunderstood.

Daska, I cannot answer your question about whether the governors have changed their spots as you put it, and I don't see how anyone could know either way. I have noted that the current pupils seem to be happy enough, and I really have no patience with the various arguments that they are brainwashed, only say that because of their relatives, deluded, blah blah. It seems to me to be worth listening to what they say, and considering that they may be simply voicing their personal views (as I am, as we all are).

I utterly support the call for the governors resignation, because of exactly this; "they did nothing to ensure we were safe when we were at school". They should go because of this, full stop.

daska
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Postby daska » Mon May 08, 2006 4:55 pm

? How can you be "a relatively disinterested outsider" and a "concerned parent". This appears to be an oxymoron.

concerned-parent
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Postby concerned-parent » Mon May 08, 2006 6:37 pm

daska wrote:? How can you be "a relatively disinterested outsider" and a "concerned parent". This appears to be an oxymoron.


Sorry, you are quite right! I took the moniker when I was considering St James as a possible school for my son a couple of years ago. Researching the school - and I researched all the possible schools for him - I came across this website. My son subsequently achieved a full scholarship at another school, and decided he wanted to go there. I have kept up with this board since then. I have no other connection with the schools or the SES, either now or in the past.

I am not terribly disinterested to be honest. I have been - am- appalled by some of what I have read here. I don't post very much because I feel this whole mess needs to be sorted out by those who have had a part in it, been personally affected by it. It isn't just the result that is important, but also perhaps for some, the process itself. Perhaps it is more important - the posts by those who met up with some of the teachers seem to indicate that.

I am interested to know - do any of the past pupils on this board think that it is possible that the current pupils might indeed be happy and safe as stated in Pincham's reply? I ask, because I was amazed by the strength of the reactions to the posts of the current pupils. It seemed to me that the very idea that such a thing was possible was felt by some to threaten the veracity (not the word I want, more like the reality) of what they themselves had experienced, had been through. I am not interested in more theories about what or what not might or might not be happening, but is it possible to accept that the current pupils are safe and happy? Or is it impossible to accept?

daska
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Postby daska » Mon May 08, 2006 9:14 pm

Realistically? It's difficult for someone with our experience! Look at it this way:

The children are currently in the care of a board of governors. Some of whom (even if only complacently) condoned violence towards children in their care.

The children are currently in the care of Teachers. Some of whom were violent towards the children in their care.

The school was reportedly 'happy' when we were there. When the TV crews came round the pupils were shuffled off into lessons. The 'spokesboys' were carefully selected.

Before the inquiry the governors tried to make out that it was only St V which was unhappy and St James had no problems. The inquiry found that this was not the case.

The girls among us have stated that the problems in the girls schools were not addressed by the inquiry as the abuse was not primarily physical and far harder to quantify.

And then every aspect of the inquiry and communication from the schools has followed a pattern that we recognise from our time in the schools and SES. Denial and accusation followed by subversion of the subject in hand. (The response to the open letter is a perfect example. No right minded person would have taken that letter as a threat but the response has been 'we'll do what we feel like when we feel like it and we accuse you of something we know you haven't done and of being something we know you aren't just so that we can look like we're occupying the moral high ground.')

And then whenever an SES bod turns up on this site and you ask a factual question they don't like they run away...!

In this context it's possible to hope but difficult to believe that much has really changed.

I'm sorry it's not a better answer in terms of a straight yes and no but it's the best I can do.

Alban
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Postby Alban » Mon May 08, 2006 10:54 pm

daska wrote:
Alban wrote:It would appear that the "...Otherwise children will be harmed" letter that Stanton thought wise to report on...

...was none other than the open letter from Matt to the governors.


Alban, for the benefit of those here who are not in the know, could you explain how the letter Stanton 'quoted' from has been identified as the open letter - seeing as the open letter doesn't actually contain the words that she 'quoted'...


Well, probably not necessary now that the Roger Pinchams letter has been torn-to-shreds on another thread.

But just for the record, I actually laughed out loud at both the initial misinterpretation of the letter and the following dissemination of mis-information throughout the SES. Both show a level of incompetance that even I'd not imagined could be achieved by a chairman of governors. To be perfectly honest, those two actions alone should be enough to lose him a vote of confidence let alone his part in a governorship that sanctioned the abuse of children.

I should have been shocked, but for those of us who have been bemoaning the mis-information spread by the organisation, it came as no suprise. Finally the humour of the situation hit home, with all the accusations and denials of stooge-like behaviour etc...I could only laugh, whilst feeling just a little sorry for Stanton.

Actually, if I was pro-SES, I would want Pincham gone even more, as I wouldn't want to have to try to spin away any more idiotic responses like that one.

Alban

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ET
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Postby ET » Tue May 09, 2006 9:20 am

concerned-parent wrote:
I am interested to know - do any of the past pupils on this board think that it is possible that the current pupils might indeed be happy and safe as stated in Pincham's reply? I ask, because I was amazed by the strength of the reactions to the posts of the current pupils. It seemed to me that the very idea that such a thing was possible was felt by some to threaten the veracity (not the word I want, more like the reality) of what they themselves had experienced, had been through. I am not interested in more theories about what or what not might or might not be happening, but is it possible to accept that the current pupils are safe and happy? Or is it impossible to accept?


I pretty much second what daska has written about this. I would love to believe that the pupils are all happy now, but after so many years of being lied to it's so difficult to believe it. I thought I was happy there until I went to another school and realised I wasn't supposed to be miserable at school, if that makes any sense.

Current SES members and school staff have both on this board and privately urged me to visit the schools and see how much they have changed. I don't see the point, but it's not because I don't want to believe them when they say the schools are happy now. It's because it would make no difference to how I feel about what happened to me. In some ways it makes it worse - why couldn't they get it right then if they are getting it so right now? And as daska said so well, I also have a fear that I may be being shown the same smoke-screen that people who visited the schools when I was there were also shown.

In a nutshell, I don't think I will ever completely believe them, as they will never be able to prove it sufficiently for me. However, I do recognise that this is my problem and not theirs, and as a result I have no real desire to see the schools closed down. If the governors do what is being asked of them in the open letter, then that would go a long way to calming my fears.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

daska
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Postby daska » Tue May 09, 2006 9:37 am

I think it worth pointing out that I have seen the schools recently. And it makes not an iota of difference to how I feel about what happened or what I believe ought to be done to rectify the situation.

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Tue May 09, 2006 10:29 am

I have to apologise. I have now established that the letter to which I referred was, in fact, the open letter. Apparently, the combination of 'disruption' and 'safe' was interpreted as threatening, coming as it did after leafletting and graffiti at St James. However, I should not have raised a hare without triple-checking. Mea culpa.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Tue May 09, 2006 10:56 am

Stanton wrote:Apparently, the combination of 'disruption' and 'safe' was interpreted as threatening, coming as it did after leafletting and graffiti at St James. .


And what is your take on that 'interpretation' Stanton? Do you think it was reasonable?
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

leon
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Postby leon » Tue May 09, 2006 4:36 pm

thanks for posting that apology, stanton. However you wrote that the message "ended with the chilling words - the children will be harmed'. Thats not an misinterpretation, more a fabrication.
Last edited by leon on Tue May 09, 2006 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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