'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
George
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 10:54 am

'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby George » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:51 am


Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: Family values

Postby Daffy » Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:18 pm

Wow. In nearly five years of involvement in this site I don't think I've ever read an account that so accurately and succinctly captures not only how I felt throughout my twelve years at St James, but also how I feel about it now.

This passage really resonated with me - in particular the parts I've highlighted in italics:
Because of my parents' ongoing involvement with the organisation, we have been unable to let things lie. Our pasts are inescapable. I still find it unbearable when one or other of them casually keeps me up to date with the daily antics of some past tormentor, though everything I hear about the school today suggests things have changed for the better. Sometimes I don't think my parents realise how fundamentally we have all been affected by the organisation. Because of my early experiences, I learnt to build a cocoon around myself. I rarely cry, am fiercely resilient and unsentimental.

I realise now that I have two sons of my own, that it's not easy bringing up children, and trite as it sounds, I do believe that my parents thought they were doing the right thing. I shall, however, be steering my own children well away from any whiff of organised religion.

I recently had to meet up with a group of SES members of my parents' generation. Despite the Townend inquiry that the SES itself commissioned, these people were still oblivious of the harm St James and St Vedast caused, and they assumed I looked back fondly at my time there. I had to cut them short and tell them 'don't go there'.

Well done Clara for 'going there' - and well done to your mother for supporting you and leaving the SES after so long in their grip. I look forward to reading your book. I'm guessing that fact will still prove to be stranger than fiction.

User avatar
ET
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Family values

Postby ET » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:54 pm

I second Daffy on this one, amazing. I have already pre-ordered the book from Amazon, and posted a link to the article on my Facebook page.

My parents left the SES a very long time ago now, but the influence of its screwed up beliefs is still there in the family (not least because we are still in contact with relatives who remained in the organisation).

I too identified with the section about not getting emotional. My sister still struggles to show (or often even feel) emotion, and it took me a lot of years of therapy and a very supportive relationship to learn how to feel and express mine properly. After all, one of the main things about the SES is that they encourage you to suppress emotion and the "ego". I'm absolutely sure that's why a lot of the teachers were so angry and volatile - after all, the more you suppress how you feel, the more it builds up, and it has to find an outlet somewhere eventually. What a tragedy that we had to be the ones that were at the sharp end of their pent-up tempers.

Let's hope that Clara's brave book and the articles and reviews surrounding it will open up the SES to some more scrutiny, or at least make people aware that such a place exists and therefore recognise the signs if they accidentally get involved.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Family values

Postby Tootsie » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:54 pm

Having spent 14 years in SES the main reason I left was the practise of putting school first in everything. The tutors seemed to have no idea about compassion when something happened that stopped you attending a group activity or a residential. School also reminded me of the Public Service which I was employed, for many years. The longer you stayed with the Public Service the higher you went up the ladder, after a number of years I found myself running the department with some outrageous salary, even though I did not have a clue what I was doing and had about 50 people under me. Maybe my 14 years in SES was my punishment for taking money under false pretences, but at least when I left SES I could make a good cup of tea!

ses-surviver
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:11 pm
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby ses-surviver » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:18 pm

Book ordered

Matthew
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby Matthew » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:36 pm

There's another excellent interview with her here in today's Sunday Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1201397/It-relief-discover-I-did-fit-real-world.html

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby bonsai » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:38 am

Very interesting articles.

Have ordered the book. Couldn't help but notice that the cover has a girl in a St James junior school uniform. That's a very evocative image for anyone who has been to St James.

Bonsai

User avatar
ET
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Family values

Postby ET » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:59 am

Yes, Bonsai, I noticed that too, very evocative. I think the book will probably be very hard to read, particularly for ex-pupils of the girl's school. I think the Mail article is actually better (although I am not a Mail fan normally) as it's a little more in depth.

I particularly like the quote about the need for suffering to be recognised. I think we all felt a sense of relief when Mr Townend actually acknowleged our suffering in the inquiry report, but then to have it ignored and even denied (despite all evidence) by the SES after we'd "swum around in the murk" again to submit our complaints to the inquiry brought back all that hurt and suffering with a vengeance.

A question - does the Pupils and Parents Inquiry Action Group (I think I've got that right!) still exist? Might it not be an idea to use this tiny amount of press interest in Clara's story to get some more press interest in the plight of ex-pupils generally? I know there are issues with confidentiality and not laying ourselves open to litigation, but it seems to me that we have a window of opportunity here that just wasn't available to us at the end of the inquiry process. I notice that there is no mention in either article about the fact that despite the inquiry finding so many of our allegations to be well-founded, nothing has been done at or by the schools (or so it seems).

If the group does still exist, I would love to get involved in anything you do decide to do. I don't have the same issues around confidentiality that I did a while ago, so I could get more involved than before. Please PM me if there is anything I can help with.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

Matthew
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby Matthew » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:24 am

bonsai wrote:Couldn't help but notice that the cover has a girl in a St James junior school uniform.

Yes, and arent those the steps outside Sarum Chase? No longer an SES bulding now of course.

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby bonsai » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:47 am

Matthew wrote:...and arent those the steps outside Sarum Chase?


I couldn't be sure but it certainly looks like it.

Bonsai

Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: Family values

Postby Daffy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:10 pm

These passages in the Mail on Sunday article also really rang true with me:
And her childhood fostered independence. ‘I grew up fast, as I understood at a young age that there was no reason to respect adults unless they really showed they were worth it.’

‘I always knew I felt betrayed by my parents – but I hadn’t realised I felt quite so betrayed by my contemporaries,’ she says. ‘I find it an immense hurdle to get over the fact that some people from my class are still there. One is a teacher at one of the schools.’

‘I don’t know what the schools are like now and I don’t want to know,’ says Clara quickly. ‘They were built on the organisation’s foundations and that’s enough for me.’

I noticed that both articles say they can't name the organisation concerned for legal reasons, but some online bookshops including the Guardian bookshop (link at the end of the Guardian article) still mention St James and the SES by name.

Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby Daffy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:12 pm

By the way, I've renamed this thread after the title and author of the book so that people can more easily find this important discussion.

Daffy

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby bonsai » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:21 pm

Tootsie wrote:Having spent 14 years in SES the main reason I left was the practise of putting school first in everything. The tutors seemed to have no idea about compassion when something happened that stopped you attending a group activity or a residential.
Welcome to the forum Tootsie. You are so spot on with your post and it is the same reason that I left too. When I was choosing universities whilst in the 6th form, my foundation group tutor and my teachers at school were actively encouraging me to go to Imperial College. The main stated reason for this encouragement was so that I could stay in group. SES was meant to come before everything.

Much of the articles about Clara and her book resonate for me. I feel that the SES has stolen my parents and I seriously hope that one day they will leave, though I feel pretty resigned to the fact that they won’t.

Bonsai

PS I learnt to make a cracking cup of tea too.

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Re: Family values

Postby Tom Grubb » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:39 pm

ET wrote:I particularly like the quote about the need for suffering to be recognised. I think we all felt a sense of relief when Mr Townend actually acknowleged our suffering in the inquiry report, but then to have it ignored and even denied (despite all evidence) by the SES after we'd "swum around in the murk" again to submit our complaints to the inquiry brought back all that hurt and suffering with a vengeance.

Yes!

Can't wait to read the book. Thank you, Clara, for writing it! And so glad the activities of this vile cult are back in the public eye.

trubleshtr
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:54 pm

Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby trubleshtr » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:48 pm

This book is the final straw for me - I won't be returning to the SES next term.

Trubleshtr


Return to “St James and St Vedast”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests