Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

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ConcernedMum
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Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby ConcernedMum » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:41 pm

Hi folks,
in case you haven't come across this yet. It relates to a proposal to merge a school, St David's in Staines with St James. Many of the parents are objecting but there seems to be an implication that members of the Governors of St David's are members of the SES?

The site also has a letter from an ex-pupil of St Davids, who, through dating a pupil from St James, does not think it is a good idea for the two schools to merge.

http://www.fosd.org.uk/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

also this link is relevant too:
[url]http://www.stainesnews.co.uk/staines-and-ashford-news/news-staines-and-ashford/2009/05/27/st-david-s-school-parent-furious-at-merger-54472-23724209/
[/url]

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ET
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby ET » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:46 am

My God this is scary! At least the newspaper article mentions the name of the school and says it's run by a cult. The You and Yours interview slot doesn't even mention the name of the school.

Incidentally, why is it that the inquiry is always quoted as being about the Senior Boys School? Mr Townend also investigated the junior boys and junior and senior girls. Ok, his findings weren't as dramatic as the paragraph that's quoted about the senior boys in the article, but it does make me want to spit tacks that my experiences are being completely ignored both by the school (throughout my life) and now by the media too!

I would urge anyone from St David's who comes across this site whilst possibly researching the school that's taken them over to remove their children as soon as possible. Despite their assurances to the contrary there is absolutely no evidence that the schools have changed the way they teach since I was at school, and the teachers who Mr Townend picked out in the private section of his report as proven abusers are all still working at the school. Please don't subject your children to this poisonous organisation.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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bonsai
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby bonsai » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:12 pm

This is all very concerning indeed. I would strongly urge any parent that is effected by the merger to thoroughly question the so called spiritual and philosophical aspects to the St James education model.

Pupils will pause at the beginning and end of every lesson, reciting Sanskrit invocations.
Pupils are invited (mainly coerced) to be initiated in Transcendental Meditation when they are 10 and will then meditate at the beginning and end of the school day
At 16 Pupils will be invited to join the SES properly through foundation groups.
In the timetable includes assembly every day that involves Sanskrit prayers
Weekly philosophy lessons is the opportunity for the teachers to pass the SES belief system, though this pervades the whole curriculum.
Junior school parents should examine very closely the way subjects are taught, from maths using a vedic system to science essentially teaching a creationist view.
There is a heavy slant on classics including Sanskrit at the expense of modern languages.

Please bear in mind that the core philosophy of the SES is that of advaita, which is a branch of hinduism. The St James and SES vocabulary is littered with Sanskrit and Hindu terms. Please please please don't take my word for it but do your own investigations and don't just take the answers that the staff fob you off with.

Bonsai

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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby Daffy » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:26 pm

This appears to be related to the announcement below on the St James website (http://www.stjamesschools.co.uk/seniorg ... news_id=57). I understand that the 'merger' will end up being just a takeover of the old St David's premises - all the students of St David's are moving to other schools after their parents heard about the history of St James.

I see Jeremy Sinclair has written a letter to a local newspaper (http://www.stainesnews.co.uk/staines-an ... -23835620/) in which he perpetuates the lie that St James is separate from the SES (or SoES as they now seem to call themselves). I'd say they are about as separate from each other as Sinn Fein is from the Provisional IRA.

Saturday 23rd May 2009

The Governors of the Independent Education Association Ltd (IEAL), the charity which manages the St James Senior Boys School in Twickenham, announced today that it has agreed terms to affect a merger with St Davids Independent School in Ashford, Middlesex.
The IEAL will continue junior school education for both boys and girls on the Ashford site and in September 2010, will transfer its senior boys school from Twickenham to Ashford. The junior boys at Ashford will have the opportunity of transferring directly to St James Senior Boys in Yr 6, in accord with IEAL schools' common practice. Junior girls at Ashford will have an opportunity to enter St James Senior Girls in Olympia for entry at Year 7.
IEAL will offer the opportunity for senior girls to transfer to St James Senior Girls School in Olympia or to St Catherine's School in Twickenham.
Commenting on the merger, Mr Aatif Hassan, Deputy Chairman of IEAL and an old boy of St James said:
" The Governors of IEAL have been looking for an opportunity to expand our educational provision by opening a junior school in the Twickenham area and, at the same time, providing more places for our highly successful senior school.
" The St Davids schools, whose trustees have provided excellent education for countless numbers of boys and girls for hundreds of years, share many of our values and we believe that this merger is a natural one.
" At the same time St James senior boys have been hampered by lack of physical space. We have unprecedented demand for places at present and the move in September 2010 will allow a three-form entry at Year 7, as well as access to 30 acres of playing fields."
Mr Hassan indicated that IEAL would retain its prestigious Pope's Villa premises and would work with neighbouring schools to ensure that educational provision remains on site.
St James Senior Boys School will liaise with its parental body to ensure a smooth transition to Ashford, including provision of transport facilities from the centre of Twickenham.
For further information, please contact:
Aatif Hassan: 07956665988 or David Boddy ( Headmaster) 07831345923

crishog
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby crishog » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm

>The You and Yours interview slot doesn't even mention the name of the school.

Ah well, they cut about 80% of the interview & even moved one of my answers to a different question. I think they objected to "it's a cult which beats its children" - I, of course, paraphrase what I actually said, but they wanted to talk about the effect of the recession on private schools, not St. James's & St. David's in particular.

Sadly I've seen the effects of SES-style thought (I use the term loosely) on friends of mine in the past. I would never allow my daughter near such an organisation - in fact after a day or two with her THEY would never allow her near them again.

Largely the takeover (forget the word merger, that is a face saving fiction for the old governors) is due to monumental incompetence by St. David's governors. SES must be laughing like drains to be handed such a site, such a history (to give them specious credibility) - and the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

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bonsai
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby bonsai » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:02 pm

Welcome crishog,

Thanks for posting. What can you tell us about how St James came to be involved in this?

Bonsai

crishog
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby crishog » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:35 am

The timing is a little vague - St. James claimed to be contacted a week or two into the summer term - though I've heard a rumour that they we approached last year.

St. David's had been looking for a partner or a large charity to take them over. They failed to do so & the governors decided to close the school. Essentially a matter of funds & the recession - although the school had begun to grow again after a bit of a slump, the bank reckoned it would take too long & they withdrew support.

At a meeting at the end of the Easter break one parent mentioned that St. James's in Olypmia were looking to move out of London.

Shortly after this international Education Systems (IES - no relation to SES, they are a worldwide educational charity, with its roots in a Spanish educational group set up over 100 years ago) approached me & I organized some meetings with parents. They wanted to maintain St. David's as a girls through school

The governors didn't seem at all interested in IES and if St. James's timing is correct, only then did the St. David's governors approach St. James's with a view to merging the girls' schools. St. James weren't interested & offered to take over the site, moving the boys school onto it & effectively closing St. David's senior school. An offer of places at Olympia was made, but if it was too far for them to come to Ashford, it's too far to go the other way.

I don't think they were interested in the senior girls at all - too independent by that age - but they offered to maintain & expand the junior school, saying they would start a campaign after this 1/2 term just gone. I've seen no evidence of any campaign, but then again my daughter is too old for that anyway. Nor do I know of any parents who wish to keep their children in the junior school.

We've had no news from the school, but hey, what's new? I assume the takeover has happened (the school is to "continue", which is a lie, as there will be no pupils on site for at least a year), however I'm not their favourite person, so I get told nothing.

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bonsai
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby bonsai » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:30 pm

crishog wrote:St. David's had been looking for a partner or a large charity to take them over. They failed to do so & the governors decided to close the school.
So am I correct in assuming there are no pupils currently attending St David's school? When did St David's close?


crishog wrote:I don't think they were interested in the senior girls at all - too independent by that age - but they offered to maintain & expand the junior school, saying they would start a campaign after this 1/2 term just gone. I've seen no evidence of any campaign, but then again my daughter is too old for that anyway. Nor do I know of any parents who wish to keep their children in the junior school.
It sounds very much like St James is trying to simply get its hands on the real-estate assets. Is that fair?

Has there been anything from St David's governors as why they think the St James deal is good for the former pupils of St David's. The letters I've seen on the internet suggest that girls would be offered subsidised places at St James in Olympia or St Catherines, have you not even been offered this?


crishog wrote:We've had no news from the school, but hey, what's new? I assume the takeover has happened (the school is to "continue", which is a lie, as there will be no pupils on site for at least a year), however I'm not their favourite person, so I get told nothing.
Am I correct in assuming that from your point of view St David's folded and closed and you've just been forced to find alternatives for your daughter before any deal was done with St James.

What is the general view of St James from the parents of the former pupils of St David's?

Bonsai

crishog
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby crishog » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:40 pm

Sorry, should have made myself clearer.

St. David's end of term is on Friday 3rd July. There will be no senior school next year & I can't see a prep-school being viable, whatever the plans.

St. James intention is to knock the school about for a year - some repairs are necessary & could be speeded up if they have the money and some alterations will have to be made - such as installing toilets for the boys - and then move in.

The prep-school was down to around 85 pupils & with no scheduled intake would be around 50-60 even if everyone stayed. They are stuck at one end of the school, not in the main building. The whole school was about 440 a couple of years back. I don't think any parents want their children to be rattling around in a half empty building site.

The site is thirty acres of prime land, grade II listed building, lake in the grounds - plus 300 years of history & the patronage of HM The Queen - that's what they are after.

Don't start about St. Catherine's - they, like many other schools in the area offered places to St. David's girls. But St. James's name them specifically & like to imply that they are partners - something St. Catherine's vigoursously denies & seemed to this (when I mentioned it to them) that I was trying to draw them into something - but when St. Jame's at the prep-school open evening (attended by staff & only 6 prep-school parents) said "we have 3 schools, St. James's in Olympia for girls & prep, St. James in Twickenham for boys - and of course St. Catherine's will take the girls too" (I paraphrase), well, they didn't have to mention St. Catherine's at a prep-school meeting and I know that the 3 schools are St. James Twickenham, Olympia for girls & Olympia prep - but a lot of people including staff got the impression that St. Catherine's was part of the St. James Group.

I have tried to explain, but since the last, very rude email I got from someone associated with St. Catherine's I try to avoid the subject.

Subsidised ? Not mentioned - and they can't offer anything on St. Catherine's part. As I understand St. James's Olympia is overcrowded - even if the two schools were next door would it be capable of taking on 165 senior girls? I don't think they wanted any takers.

They way that the governors dragged their heels over the whole matter, offering no support to IES & springing St. James's as a done deal without informing the parents that they we even talking to them, has meant almost every senior girl had been forced to look for a place elsewhere before half term.

Utter incompetence on behalf of the old St. David's governors.

"What is the general view of St James from the parents of the former pupils of St David's?" - well a couple of comments from the girls themselves first:

  • One girl looked at the website & just said "no way, it's too creepy"
  • Another took one look at the site & posted on Facebook (I quote, not my words) "It's a fricking cult"

Almost to a man & woman the feelings may be summed up by "wouldn't touch them with a bargepole".

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bonsai
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Re: Parents against decision to merge St Davids with St James.

Postby bonsai » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:43 am

I'm sorry that things have been so uncertain and badly handled for you and the pupils at St David's

crishog wrote:The site is thirty acres of prime land, grade II listed building, lake in the grounds - plus 300 years of history & the patronage of HM The Queen - that's what they are after.

Can patronage from the queen pass from across automatically or is this what underlies the motive to organise the deal as a merger rather than take over or sale of real estate?


crishog wrote:But St. James's name them specifically & like to imply that they are partners - something St. Catherine's vigoursously denies...

I'm afraid that this is what St James and the SES are like. They will twist and spin anything to their own advantage; in some cases really stretching to the limit truth and honesty. For organisations that put these concepts at the heart of what they are about, I personally find this highly unacceptable. For those who don't know, please remember that David Boddy, head of the senior boys, has a background in politics being an adviser to Thatcher in the 80s. He will twist and spin anything.



crishog wrote:They way that the governors dragged their heels over the whole matter, offering no support to IES & springing St. James's as a done deal without informing the parents that they we even talking to them, has meant almost every senior girl had been forced to look for a place elsewhere before half term.

St James and the SES are also very good at doing deals without a lot of transparency. There is a lot of wealthy business talent amongst the SES membership and it doesn't surprise me at all that from many angles the deal that has been reached may hardly seem fair.


crishog wrote:"What is the general view of St James from the parents of the former pupils of St David's?" - well a couple of comments from the girls themselves first:

  • One girl looked at the website & just said "no way, it's too creepy"
  • Another took one look at the site & posted on Facebook (I quote, not my words) "It's a fricking cult"

Almost to a man & woman the feelings may be summed up by "wouldn't touch them with a bargepole".

Well in that sense I am pleased that the St James are unlikely to be able to expand simply by taking over an existing school and that parents and pupils alike are being critical in examining the type of education on offer.

Bonsai


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