Latest submissions to enquiry

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Latest submissions to enquiry

Postby Lee » Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:40 pm


27th June 2005

I joined St James at approximately the age of 4 1/2 years old and left at the age of 16. During the time I was in this school, I was under two seperate form tutors Mr Barnard & Mr Salaman and the headmaster during the entire time was Mr Debenham.

Throughout my time in the school I witnessed and was subjected to continuous degrading physical and emotional abuse, from the majority of teachers in the school, although some made an art form of it.

From a very young age I was repeadly told on an almost daily basis (as were other children) that I would never amount to anything, and that I was never going to be any more then a dustman, that I was stupid, an idiot, a fool, and many other various insulting names, and was often made to wear a hat with an 'F' on it for 'fool' and stand in a corner with my nose touching the wall.

This was a school environment where the children at the top of the class were complemented whilst those who did not do so well were never encouraged, or given any attention or helped, so they might improve, instead they were scolded, insulted, put down and, if they spoke without being asked to do so (even if politely) were often severely beaten or cained.

Facilities, such as the opportunity to learn to use a computer (which I was dying to do and would have been really excited about) were denied to all but the 'chosen few' at the top of the class.

because I did not do well in my studies I was often a target for the teachers anger and abuse, and was regularly beaten, bashed and slapped.

Some examples of regular treatment by various teachers follow:

Mr Russell used to love making me stand on a chair at the front of the classroom an if I moved my eyes from straight ahead he would slap me 'full-force' in the side of the head on my ear, more then once blood ran out of my ears after this treatment.

If I hadn't done my maths homework (which was very frequently since it was homework I didn't understand and didn't even know how to do) Mr Saville made me take my trousers and pants down in front of the whole class and thrashed my bottom with a gym plimsole as hard as he could, and seemed to love it when I screamed with pain.

Mr Lacey often came up to children when they were annnoying him, or even singing out of tune in the choir, put his two hands on their shoulders and kneed them full-force in the testicles, in front of the entire school. He also reqularly engaged in beating children on almost any part of their body with rulers, gymshoes, rugby shoes, cricket bats, in fact, pretty much anything that came to hand.

Mr Salaman (my formteacher for many years) was possibly one of the cruelest and most twisted all the teachers in the school although he had plenty of competition. He would hit you as hard as he could for the slightest little infraction of 'his rules', like not sitting still enough during (forced) meditation or not concentrating in class, I had to endure hundreds of beatings from this man over the years. He would make you drop your trousers and your underpants and bend you over his lap to hit you, his favourite tool was a cricket bat, but he also used a gym plimsole, or anything else that came to hand. On a couple of occassions he performed this sadistic ritual upon my bare bottom and tops of my legs with a running shoe with metal spikes on the sole, I bled very badly. He also used to thoroughly enjoy slapping boys heads or on the backs of the tops of legs with his hands or with rulers, stinging them as much as possible and leaving them in immense agony and often marked quite badly.

Mr Barnards punishments mainly consisted of the use of a ruler accross the knuckles of a child who annoyed him.

Then we come to Mr Debenham, Mr Salaman and he were best of friends and had known each other for many years. Mr Debenham would love to cane children for anything and everything, although the law stated that the cane should not be raised above a horizontal level when being used, and that the user should not take a step when caining, Mr Debenham would routinely take a run up (usually three steps) and bring the cane down from above his head to inflict maximum pain on the child before him. I was cained hundreds of times by this man, often for nothing more then not concentrating or allowing my gaze to wander to looking out of a window whilst sitting in class. Mr Debenham's aim was not always great and he would often hit the backs of your legs instead of your bottom. The usual result of caining in this manner would be black and purple whelts where you were hit that often bled for a while. These marks usually lasted for a matter of weeks before they would disappear, and any attempt at sitting down during this time would be extremely painful. On many occassions he demanded that you pull your trousers down in order to recieve this violent beating.

I remember incidences such as when a tramp did a huge watery runny anal excretion down the steps to the basebent area of the school and I was forced to clean it up with no gloves, just a bucket and a cloth. The task was so revolting that I was trying to hold my breath and threw up several times in the process.

I also remember having wet myself on a number of occassions when I was younger out of pure fear of the beatings that I knew I would recieve from various teachers, this then resulted in me having to clean up the mess and being beaten even worse then was already iminent. - often the reason for the oncoming beating would be just because I hadn't remembered my 7 times table.

I also spent a good percentage of my time in this school being bullied by prefects like 'Simon Willis' and 'Buchanon' who would get you to do press-ups then stand on your hands or kick you or likewise incidents that amused them, at your cost. These incidents were overlooked by the teachers, who considered the prefects responsible enough to apply their own brand of discipline.

At the schools 'Army' camps in area's like Snowdonia, there were a shameful tears when students captured by the enemy force said they had been sodomised, however, despite complaints, the teachers chose to ignore this too, and no action was ever taken, though some children undoubtably had experiences forced upon them by older boys that they may never forget.

This was a school where bullies flourished, as did wealthy children, whose parents made donations to the school in one way or another.

Those appointed to the position of 'teacher' often had no formal teaching qualifications and this may have accounted for their being more inclined to intimidate and bash the living daylights out of helpless children rather then make any attempts whatsoever to actually teach them. There were a couple of nice teachers, I remember Mr Barber and Mr Rasmusen (an American gentleman) as kind individauls, unfortunately they were very much in the minority.

The children had no choice in the subjects taught, and rather then having the opportunity to learn things that they might enjoy or that might assist them in life we were taught Sanskrit, Ancient greek, Latin, Vedic scriptures, and Mr Debanham's own beliefs and interpretations of the bible, and if you ever asked a question that didn't agree with his beliefs, you got cained, as I did regularly.

I have long ago tried to put all of this abusive treatment behind me, but will be happy to relive it all one last time on the stand of a court if it means that these individuals are treated to a little backlash from all the years of abuse, misery, fear and degradation that they inflicted on me, and on many other innocent and defenceless children.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me,

Lee Rodwell DCH DHPsy (adv) LLB ITEC - 07967 349 105.

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Submission addition

Postby Lee » Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:42 pm


30th June 2005

Firstly, we discussed incidences that would be of easy recollection to most students, one of the most basic, that sprung to mind on my way home, would be of having wooden 'blackboard' dusters flung by teachers at their heads of children if they weren't concentrating in class, this was common practice in most classrooms. (Mr Saville, Russell, Salaman & Lacey all had a particularly good aim, probably due to the vast amount of practice they got).

I did also want to make clear my feelings regarding a point that you raised, which I am not sure I answered fully, this relates to mental distress suffered after leaving the school, which I feel I may have 'played down'. Although I may have seemed quite normal and to have 'got it together' fairly well when I came to see you, there are some lingering factors that I should perhaps make quite apparent.

For the whole of my 12 1/2 years in St James and for about 17 years following, that is up until about a year ago, (I am 34 now), I have suffered from severe nightmares featuring various mentioned teachers from the school, my sleep would always be very disturbed and I would toss and turn and would often wake up in a cold sweat, or 'shout out' in my sleep and wake myself up in a panic.

I have (to this day) an undoubted phobia of schools and classrooms although it has improved somewhat. At it's worst, I used to come out in a profuse sweat, lose all colour in my cheeks, and feel my knees start shaking as I had to control my fear as soon as I would go near a school. This can prove more then a little challenging when you have a son whom you regularly have to take into school.

I would also mention that the lack of actual teaching left me in the position of being completely uneducated with no formal qualifications at the age of 16, and that although I went on to a normal comprehensive school and tried to make up for my lack of understanding, my knowledge of certain subjects is still undoubtedly poor, and my wife is constantly surprised that I don't know when the seasons begin or end, or that my geography only extends only out to the M25, to name just a couple of minor points .............. or that my maths has never fully recovered and is, at best, still 'very basic'. These are just a few of the 'longer-lasting' consequences that come up day to day, though I am very aware that there are still many large gaps in my field of knowledge, even now.

I spent a so many years attempting to overcome the label that I had been given of being 'irretrievably stupid'. This was the reason that I forced myself back into education early on, only out of sheer anger, and wanting to prove to myself that these individuals were not going to make their own prophesies correct as to how they had 'sentenced' my life to turn out.

Therefore, when I say that I have "tried to put all of this behind me", please do not take that to mean that it was something easy to forget about, I felt extremely traumatised for a great many years and it did affect my life in every conceivable way, from an inability to easily get jobs, to difficulties in communication and especially in low self-worth and lack of confidence.

I have only really quite recently attempted to leave this all behind by trying to forgive, and to believe that these individuals were only doing the best that they knew how to do at the time, however still, somewhere, lingering in the back of my mind remains the certainty that, in fact, if animals were treated this way, the RSPCA would bring charges of cruelty against the perpetrators, and that there really was no excuse, these individuals really ought to have known better - and actually should never have been put into the responsible position of teaching children in the first place.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me,

Best Regards,

Lee Rodwell DCH DHPsy (adv) LLB ITEC - 07967 349 105.

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Postby Free Thinker » Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:24 pm

WOw, Lee. Thanks for being willing to post your submissions. I agree that emphasizing the emotional effects of your years there was very important.

I certainly seem like I've got it together, and in many ways I do, but I had many horrible after-effects just from being raised in the school and attending the adult school for several years (without having to deal with the physical abuse.)

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Postby RobMac » Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:28 pm

Hi Lee,

If you have not already submitted this information to the enquiry I strongly urge you to do so.

If you were not contacted by the school and advised of the inquiry then you should also include this in your submission.

I have lodged a formal complaint about the inquiry being closed when I am able to demonstrate the the school has not even taken reasonable efforts to contact ex-pupils and on this basis I would hope anticipate that your submission would still be accepted.

ross nolan
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 5:10 am
Location: Melbourne Australia

SES abuse

Postby ross nolan » Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:02 am

Lee, your testimony of absolutely appalling treatment is heartwrenching and it beggars belief that such conduct could be carried out without anyone involved being exposed and punished when they should have been.
Surely you and others have to take your case to the police and MPs, the media and probably the educational accreditation system that permitted it to occur -- an internal enquiry by the SES appointees would have no legal status of itself to obtain justice ,or compensation ,as I think you should all organize and press for -- that bricks and mortar owned by the SES was obtained at your cost and to me it seems that you would be best served by hiring a lawyer (or maybe you could get some legal aid) and SUE the arse off those bastards.

In Australia (based on British law) we have had a new scheme called CDDA or Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration -- this is aimed at getting some belated,financial,justice in the form of compensatory payment for loss caused by government or agency fault - perhaps you have something similar in Britain -- I was subject to a campaign of unremitting attack by a government agency for nearly twenty years ,lost everything as a result, had my work,business and relationship destroyed even got beaten up by a previously convicted hitman also later exposed as a drug 'cook' for the worst criminals in Melbourne but hired by a government official to "put the wind up" me to not give evidence to an official enquiry and backdown from giving help to several widows whose husbands died in unsafe aircraft I had 'defect noticed' as an engineer -- I once spent 23 nights in a tent on the airport trying to 'defend' the remains of my business,aircraft and career that had been dumped in the open as a 'public example No1' -- I only add this to indicate that I am not a 'voyeur' on this website or have no experience with injustice -- I am trying to do something to curb the SES (SOP) over here (Australia) after having been 'conned' by them and becoming angry at the deception and destructive conduct they carry out. For me also it is personal not theoretical and I have a real interest in seeing justice prevail in any such situation.

Perhaps your "statement of truth" is the only time that the word 'truth' has had real valid meaning in the context of the SES.
I wish you every success in getting the justice you deserve and please look into the prospects of taking legal action and/or taking your cases to parliament (yes I know the SES has influence there too ) The best form of punishment would be for you to bankrupt them and resume their property which may be the only thing that really means anything to them.

Best of luck Ross Nolan

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Media, hmmmm.

Postby Lee » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:27 am

Dear All,

Thank you for your replies,

these are the statements that have been submitted to the enquiry, whom I also went to see to answer further questions,

I believe the solicitors conducting the enquiry to be fair and independant, however, it should be borne in mind that they are instructed by the school itself. The only possible reason for this whole excercise, that I can contemplate, is one of damage limitation, since, having read through some of the posts on this website, they may well have feared that they were likely to be sued at some point or another by one or more ex-pupils.

Although the content of these statements is accurate, having some experience in Law, I know what is entailed, and I feel that it would be harmful to my peace of mind to begin legal proceedings at this point. This therefore is not my intention. However, a phone call or two to the media, may well not be out of place.

I feel that the school deserves all of the attention it gets.

All the best,


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