The Teacher & Society

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Tom Grubb
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The Teacher & Society

Postby Tom Grubb » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:32 am

Nicholas Debenham's Education Renaissance Trust held their conference on 'The Teacher & Society' yesterday. It didn't go quite as they had planned!

Stay tuned for more news...

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:12 pm

oh you can't leave us in suspense like this!
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:34 am

No, you're right: I'm being a terrible tease. It's partly because there's a lot of information still to come in about this one. But I feel you deserve at least an outline of what happened, so here goes:

NOTE: Although all the 'activists' behaved politely (despite the confrontational and aggressive actions of a very senior SES member) and with respect for the law, I do not yet know whether they wish to preserve their anonymity. Therefore, I'll include no names. Others can fill them in later along with further details as they come in.

On the morning of Thursday 30th November, participants arriving for ERT's conference on 'The Teacher & Society' were politely offered a flier by a small group of people standing near the entrance of the conference venue, which is also the headquarters of the School of Economic Science. Most people were happy to accept the flier, although one or two faces changed when they took a closer look at it. The flier gave the sort of useful information about the St James Inquiry, the ERT and the SES that the conference organisers were unlikely to have included on the agenda. One conference participant even came back out after reading the flier. She seemed very interested to read that St James had a history that she had not previously been informed about and asked for more information about the school. She was politely directed to some of the internet links included on the flier.

Some of the participants and speakers at the conference had also been contacted by email prior to the event with similar information and useful links. The 'anonymous attacker' who contacted them of course included his name and contact details in the email and received some interesting replies from people grateful for this information.

Anyway, a few minutes after the first fliers had been accepted, a very senior member of the SES emerged from the building, rather aggressively snatched a pile of them from the hand of one of the group and said something like, "I'll take those, thank you!". He also managed to drop them on the pavement as he did so.

Members of the group then informed this excitable gentleman that the fliers were not his property and that they were engaged in a perfectly legal activity. Having perhaps considered the implications of his actions, the gentleman was kind enough to return the fliers. However, before returning inside, he also felt the need to ask the group this question (or something very similar): "Have you ever stopped to consider the harm you have caused to so many people?" Note that this is one of the leaders of the SES addressing victims of SES abuse. You couldn't make it up!

After a copy of a flier had apparently been faxed to somebody (a lawyer perhaps?) the same gentleman re-emerged from the building with a camera and rather ostentatiously started taking photographs of members of the group. As they had nothing to hide, the group did nothing to resist this until the gentleman rather rudely thrust his camera near to someone's face prompting this person to politely put up his hand to block this uninvited close-up shot.

Despite the unpleasant behaviour they had faced, the group remained until shortly after 10.05 when just about all the conference participants had arrived. Having spent about half an hour peacefully exercising their democratic rights and feeling that their point had been made, they then left in an orderly manner.

As for what happened inside the conference itself, I'm sure a lot more details will emerge very soon! I'd also love to know whether the star speaker who arrived in a taxi and then left the building shortly afterwards ever returned to the conference.

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ET
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Postby ET » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:38 am

Well good for those of us who went along and did that, and how great that it's made the SES look like such overexcitable idiots. I'd love to know who that very senior member was though - I can understand why your not posting his name on here, even so.

In my opinion, this is exactly the sort of thing that we should be doing, and I only wish I lived in the UK so I could take part. This quiet, polite and democratic dissemination of information is perfect. After all, aren't we just exhibiting the politeness and quiet but determined actions that they always taught us was the "right" way to behave? It means that they don't have a leg to stand on when criticising us.

The "don't you see what harm you are doing to so many people" comment did make me laugh, but it's also quite sickening because it is yet another example of the way in which SES members from the top down have managed to remain convinced that we are the enemy and they have done nothing wrong. It makes those so called "apologies" seem even more hollow, doesn't it?

Keep up the good work all of you, I'm rooting for you! :multi:
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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Postby Daffy » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:58 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:... there's a lot of information still to come in about this one.

I'm looking forward to hearing more!

Well done on taking positive action against one of the most disgusting SES spin-offs - and one headed by the man most responsible for the abuse condemned by the Inquiry.

The governors have refused to resign despite being found to be in dereliction of duty for more than two decades. No doubt they hoped that the Inquiry would make all the bad publicity go away. Hopefully this kind of action will cause them to reconsider.

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Postby sugarloaf » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:56 pm

Thanks for your support to all those who couldn’t make it on the day due to distance, work or childcare commitments.

For those interested, here is a picture of the flyer:
http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ertsch ... pg&.src=ph
and
http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ertsch ... pg&.src=ph

I do hope it’s not necessary to take further direct action to persuade the St James/SES/ERT to act appropriately following the Inquiry. And its a shame they still seem to think its just one or two 'hardened activists' who are out to do them harm, rather than a large group of ex pupils and parents who are all simply asking for the schools to take expected, normal, appropriate action.

Its pretty clear that fundamental reform of all the organisations is urgently needed – however it can only really come from within. In the meantime it looks like public pressure is the only way to persuade them to do the absolute minimum required in terms of action following the Inquiry.

I may as well repeat it here as I’m sure someone from the SES will be reading this:

1) Nicholas Debenham to resign from the ERT, and remove himself from any further involvement in child education.

And as called for by the 97 former pupils and parents of St James & Vedast schools who signed the open letter:

2) 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.

3) 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.

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

5) 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.


You’d have thought they’d be intelligent enough to bite the bullet and do what they ought to – but I guess an organisation so ridden with nepotism and arrogance is always going to find it hard to get rid of some of their own.

I guess if they suffer any ill effects from their own history being made public they'll see it as a malicious attempt to harm them. And Im sure they'd fail to see the irony in the fact that it is solely their own past actions, and current inaction that is likely to damage them.

Oh well. You can lead a horse to water....

Alban
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Postby Alban » Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:08 pm

So...more of the same from the SES then!

Well done to those involved...if it has made a difference to just one person, it has been worth it.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall in there - did anyone here actually attend the meeting?

Alban

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Postby a different guest » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:54 am

Alban wrote:I would love to have been a fly on the wall in there - did anyone here actually attend the meeting?


I echo that sentiment!

And yes, well done to those involved. Brilliant idea! :)
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:20 pm

I'm glad to hear that some more action has been taken and that everything has not gone quiet. It is also nice to see some activity back in this forum too. And all this in the light of the total inaction on the part of the SES and St James following the Inquiry.

It saddens me that these organisations are able to blindly put aside and ignore the consequences of their actions and continue to tout and further propogate their flawed philosophies.

Bonsai

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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:24 am

Thanks so much for sharing this information with us!

I'm so glad to hear that people there are still working to get the truth out, and something done about it. I'm eager to hear what happened as a result.

FT

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:22 am

Just out of interest, what sort of people were attending this ERT event and what was their reactions were to being leafletted?

Bonsai

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Postby mgormez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:15 am

Well done and nice flyer! Really neat. In the future, if that is needed, then always have a camera person on the background keeping tabs on the frontline groups. That is essential protection against any bogus claims by SES. Have a person with a video camera accross the street. Take it from someone who had done his share of picketing agressive entities.

Also, to shorten the URLs on the flyer; this website gives you a short one and is nicer to publish and to enter http://tinyurl.com/
Mike Gormez

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The Teacher and Society

Postby Jellybaby » Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:53 pm

WELL DONE! Excellent flyer - just perfect, with all the relevant quotes;
websites for more info - a really great job. The ERT have a constant
push on to recruit teachers - well done again.

By the way, did you alert the local press to it - or even the national?
With protests like this the national press might take a look again
at this organisation and do a full-scale documentary - so badly needed.

Well done to all concerned!

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:47 pm

bonsai wrote:Just out of interest, what sort of people were attending this ERT event and what was their reactions were to being leafletted?

Bonsai

I think most of them were either teachers or heads of schools. I suspect that the ERT targets small private schools of the C of E or Montessori variety. There were perhaps slightly more women than men and, judging by the way they behaved and were dressed, I would guess that nearly all were non-SES.

Nearly everyone took a leaflet and several people looked visibly shocked when they had a closer look at it. I only hope that some of them were brave enough to ask questions about the contents of the leaflet during the conference.

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:25 am

Tom Grubb wrote:Nearly everyone took a leaflet and several people looked visibly shocked when they had a closer look at it. I only hope that some of them were brave enough to ask questions about the contents of the leaflet during the conference.


Thanks for that info Tom,

I have to say that the more I think about it, the fact that the ERT exists and is touting their brand of philosophical education the more evil it seems. This really is the worst of it. It is just plain wrong to actually try and sell a system of education when real concerns have been raised with it and which remain unaddressed or resolved.

It's like a company continuing to sell a product it knows to be faulty. The reality of it is that companies do do this for real but their obligation is to make money for the shareholders.

What is so deeply unpalatable is that this is an organisation which claims to deliver the finest quality of education altruistically for the sole benefit of the pupils. It should have no ulterior motives, yet it continues in its ignorant self-righteousness and buries its head in the sand.

The SES needs to start doing some of the practical philosophy it so claims to be about. This means that it has to start exploring the real experience of those it has educated. What they find here may not be what they want to hear or find but that's what it is all about.

The ERT should not be allowed to continue with what it is touting until it has put its own ship in order.

Bonsai


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