Today I received a comment from an Old Bedian, Paul Taylor from North Manchester. Paul is not as old and wizened as I but he was at the College, his years there straddled the Duggan and Riley eras. His experiences of the two cultures are in a way unique. We have never met but he has been a major commentator on my blog. Just read his comment of today which appeared on my last posting. I append it below and commend it for its perspicacity and clarity.
Paul Taylor – An Old Bedians Thoughts.
Well, in the words of Bjork, it’s all gone quiet. No bad thing considering the last two months of mayhem, during which Mr Malpas has asked many reasonable questions, to be greeted in some cases with verbal abuse, but in most cases no rational answers have been forthcoming, and in some cases, some of the answers have been downright lies. The truth seems to have been in very short supply, I’ve observed.
Any institution which conducts itself in the way Bede’s has over the last 60 years, with no sign whatever of learning from previous mistakes, is doomed to failure. The recent act of almost the complete removal of lay members on the Board of Governors can mean only one thing – the drawbridge has been drawn up, the hatches battened down, awaiting the onslaught of the lawyers regarding the case of abuse – to try and defend to the last by admitting either ignorance or nothing.
I’m glad I’m not in the shoes of the College defending this one, as to why there were allegedly not only two serial abusers, but several more whose names will come to light in the court case, but absolutely nothing was done about it. The fact it happened is terrible enough, the undoubted fact there was a concerted campaign to cover up what had happened is to me truly unforgivable. The defence lawyers, by their strategy of instructing the college to adopt a policy of almost continual denial, have painted both the clients and themselves into a legal corner.
Legally, to a limited extent, they’ve already admitted Tommy Duggan’s misdemeanours, they now have to explain their extent of suppressing any other attempts at covering up the abuse. The fact that from 1950 to 1990, with very little if any breaks in ‘service’, they had a paedophile lurking around the hallowed corridors of the Alma Mater. The place became virtually licensed for a pervert to operate, knowing there was little if any chance of being caught. I fear for the College’s already damaged reputation, I sincerely do.
On a more up to date note, matters haven’t been improved by the ‘overthrow’, which is a polite way of putting it, of the Head Mr Barber two years ago. What kind of institution kicks out the head, then without any consultation, installs one of the alleged perpetrators of said putsch? Why was the position of Head, and also Deputy Head, not advertised following Mr Barber’s defenestration? A reasonable question to answer, the best reply was Barber was apparently useless at his job, but unfortunately, a la politician-speak, it’s not the answer to the question. Other than the current Care Quality Commission, I can think of very few organisations that would operate in such a cavalier manner. Burying one’s head in the sand, the current stance of the College, doesn’t seem to be working either.
The future for the College does not bode well, its struggle to achieve decent OFSTED ratings alone means a problem of recruiting fee-paying pupils. A description of the current status quo could fairly be described as dysfunctional. Throw in the abuse case and the City Apprentices, googling t’Internet and seeing St Bede’s Abuse Cases located prominently, when the whole thing is put together, I’m surprised anyone would pay good money to send their child there, when clearly there are other more tempting options available. People clearly have voted with their feet.
Apologies for the length of this posting, whereas no doubt people may completely disagree with some or all of what I’ve said, I deem myself a fairly logical person, by not believing what people say, but what they do. I base my posting on this, I do not claim to be omniscient, but I defend the main argument I have put forward, which is backed by admittedly only partial evidence, no doubt someone with irrefutable proof may correct me where I am wrong. In the coming months, actions, not words, will determine the way forward for the College. I live in hope the right course may be chosen. Personally, given the previous track record, I have severe doubts.