EXPERIENCES AT ST. VEDAST (now St. James) AND THE S.E.S

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Alban
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Postby Alban » Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:15 pm

Well I've identified myself from those records, and I only appear once in those two years...ha ha ha ha ha....what a joke. There's no way that that book is anything like correct. Even so, for a "last resort before expulsion" it appears he caned about 1 in 4 boys at st V during those two years...it's a shame he was "allowed" to cane us, because if he'd expelled us instead we wouldn't have been going through this now.

Oh, and the cane may have been reserved for use by the headmaster, but it didn't stop various bats (including a cricket bat on more than one occasion), shoes, fists and anything else that came to hand, being used willy-nilly by the other teachers.

So, lets not forget that while the report said a lot (in fact as much as it could legally say), the truth is that the levels of abuse were far in excess of those mentioned.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:20 am

Of course it should also be stressed that when Debenham instituted the punishment book in late 1979 he had been beating children for an entire FOUR years prior to that, of which there are absolutely no records of, nor were witnesses ever present. I wonder why that was...

This period was also when he was possibly at his most violent and out of control.

chrisdevere
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Postby chrisdevere » Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:30 pm

Alban good point about the punishment book. I tried to find myself in it, but could find nothing that looked like it referred to me. Last resort before expulsion! my memory was I pretty much got caned for the first time by Debenham on tick. After he had subjected me to a couple of days of interrogation (Long visits to his office for cross examination that lasted for at least an hour then back to class while he contemplated what to do next.) He eventually decided I was innocent, but had contradicted myself over the course of the interrogations so there must have been a lie there! Which was reason for him to beat me senseless!

Obviously as a nine year old boy, new to the school whatever the minor misdemeanour was. Obviously warranted an inquisition over several days. Being scared half to death by a psychopath and then beaten sensless.

My father who had no issues with corporal punishment for bad behaviour. Threatened to turn the police on to Debenham if he ever touched me again. I guess this daily entertainment caning was not suitable to be written up in a punishment book. maybe there is another book he wrote these up in. "the joys of thrashing and terrorizing young children book"?

Whilst never having been beaten with a cricket bat. I mentioned to Townend that I had witnessed it, he seemed to find it unbelveable. He was to say the least., in my oppinion shocked and disguusted![/quote]
Christopher de Vere
chrisdevere@hotmail.com

Alban
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Postby Alban » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:19 pm

Hi Chris,

Yet another example of a complaint to Debenham that apparently "did not happen" as far as the governors were concerned.

If the governors were totally unaware of the multitude of complaints that were being made to the headmaster then they were not doing their job properly.

This constant denial makes me sick - why oh why will they just not come clean and admit that they made mistakes and subsequently take responsibility for those mistakes. We all make mistakes, yet they seem to still think that they can sweep theirs under the carpet - don't they realise that it will not go away this time as it appeared to after the publication of "A Secret Cult".

Damn! it's like walking in treacle sometimes!

Matthew
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PLEASE SUPPORT AN OPEN LETTER TO ST JAMES SCHOOLS

Postby Matthew » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:52 pm

Re: The SES, and the Townend inquiry into St James Schools

I have written an open letter which is now in circulation, demanding St James schools take action following the findings of the Inquiry .

This has been posted here: www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4535

I hope you will consider signing it if you have any relationship to the schools, the SES, SES schools or organisations abroad, or are simply an interested party. Please do forward this message on to anyone who you think may have an interest.

I believe it is only through public pressure that the schools will address the issues raised in the letter.

Thank you

Frith
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Postby Frith » Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:48 pm

Please feel free to add my name to your open letter, Matthew.

I've just read your account, and feel close to tears, poor you. I'm still battling the effects of what happened to me, too - extreme lack of self esteem and alchohol problems have dogged me ever since - 35 years on I've just started going to counselling again. I was so alone, being the first child MacLaren ever got his hands on, and 12,000 miles from home. It's astonishing how close your account is to mine in some particulars - and you're right, people might think we were exaggerating. Poor Ian, my son, was at St James's, and I had no idea what was going on at the school until his health began to suffer. At that point I removed both the children from the schools, whereupon the entire might of the SES was brought to bear to try and take the children away from me. I reserve particular loathing for Nicholas Debenham, who stood up in court and said that I was not a fit person to bring up children, and my home was not a suitable place for children, that they were dirty, poorly clothed and uncared for. You can imagine how the court received this at first: single mum, irresponsible etc. If it had not been for the Evening Standard's support the case might have gone very differently.

Another thing which most people find hard to imagine is the loneliness of a 14-year-old suddenly uprooted from home and sent to a foreign country - throughout my teens I never met anyone of my own generation! Everyone in the SES was a 'grown-up' in my eyes and I had no friends any where near my own age. I felt suicidal most of the time! It is a hideous memory, and has ensured that all my relationships have been disastrous over the years. Oh dear, I do wish the SES could be stopped - but they have such a convincing respectable middle class front, typified by people like Roger Pincham. He's exactly the type who would allege that I was a sinful, wicked young girl who deserved everything she got.

Well done for the support you are giving to others, it's all very brave of you. At last I've been brave enough to put something here!

Fortunately, after my court case, I was able to offer support to two other mothers who were facing similar experiences. I hope they were successful in their efforts to get their children away from those pernicious schools.

Frith. f.hooton@imperial.ac.uk

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:52 pm

I don't think Roger Picham would say that. He's not been a member of the School for nearly as long as you have.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:28 pm

Stanton wrote:He's not been a member of the School for nearly as long as you have.

That is a factually untrue statement and you should retract it.

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:44 pm

My apologies if he is still a member of the School. I thought he left years ago.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:31 am

It's me that must apologise Stanton. I misunderstood your post. I thought you were saying that Frith is still in the School. Roger Pincham may well have left years ago. Sorry about that.

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ET
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Postby ET » Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:53 am

Roger Pincham is currently the chair of the board of governors of the school, and one of the men that PPIAG, SESSA and the rest of us are calling on to resign. He is still very much involved in the school, as far as I know!

Well done Frith for finally posting on here - I read your story in The Secret Cult and was moved to tears. I'm so sorry to hear you are still being affected by what happened to you, and hope that starting to post on here and get support from others who were affected too will help you.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:45 pm

I think Stanton was referring to the SES, not St James. When SES people talk of 'The School' they are referring to the SES. My mistake for the mix-up! And yes of course Pincham is still the chair of governors for St James.

Frith, it must have taken a lot courage for you to post here, so thank you. I'm sure you will receive great support from fellow contributors.

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:21 pm

Glad we got that sorted. Yes, he is still Chairman of the governors (but not an SES member so far as I know). He and the other governors in the period under discussion should resign simply because they were not doing the job for which they were appointed, i.e., to ensure that the day schools were being properly governed. They should have known about the abuse and they must take the responsibility for being blind to it. It baffles me why they don't realise this. They've accepted the Townend report, they have apologised, and yet they've failed to draw the obvious conclusion.

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ET
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Postby ET » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:58 am

Sorry I should have spelled School with a capital "S" as I meant SES! I am happy to be proved wrong, but I'm pretty sure Pincham is still a member of SES. I find it hard to believe that he would still be the Chair of Governors if he's not.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:51 am

Yes, well done Frith for having the courage to post.

If there is any confusion why there is anger and calls for resignations and such a huge outpouring of experiences, let Frith's post tell you. For so long we thought (and were told) that we were wrong and alone.

Now we know that we are not, we are able to talk about what we have been trying for so long to deal with in isolaton.

True reconcilliation is achieved only when all voices are heard and valued equally.


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