He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune.

I was going to let the onslaught on the piss poor management at St Bede’s College in Manchester have a rest for the summer and let old DK and Florid have some breathing space to think up some more hare-brained schemes to make us despair even further during the forthcoming Christmas Term starting in September but Sean Carr’s comment today in my posting of 25th June 2013 entitled Comment From A Bedian Parent intrigued me.

Sean tells us that there are a recalcitrant bunch of parents who have come together.  Parents who are not at all happy with the way things are going, not at all happy with the quality they are getting for the hard earned fees they have to cough up every term.  These parents it seems are demanding something better than what Kearney and Florid are willing to give them, although all they are asking for is what it says on the packet.

Kearney seems to be ignoring them and calling them a bunch of ingrates.  Surely he, it would appear, is best suited to know what quality and type of education to give to the children of these renegades.  What do they know, after all, they are only parents, as thick as pig shit most of them and I, Mr Daniel Kearney, Headmaster of St Bede’s College in Manchester, am the professional with God and might on my side.  But we will see, because Danny, these parents are the people who pay you, the piper, to play their tune.

Now it seems that these disaffected parents are determined but are meeting complete disdain from the management and I am suggesting and it is only a suggestion, that they widen their scope and use this forum as a means of advertising their cause.  For it is better to let all parents understand the arguments and points of view that you pioneers are putting forward.  There are many disaffected fee payers out there with no apparent ear to listen to their worries and fears and it just might help everyone, if you brave people who at this moment are doing all the running, open up, advertise your cause and let others in to help, because very shortly you few could well become many.

Without meaning to blow any trumpets, it is this medium and as far as I can gather nobody or nothing else has brought the atrocious management of the College to everyone’s eyes and ears.  It is this medium which has been shouting for months for parent power to come to the fore, I doubted whether it was possible, I doubted whether anybody had the spunk to stand up to these destroyers of history and quality but I am bloody glad that a few of you had the bravery and determination to stand up to the plate when it mattered.  So it would be appropriate for you small bunch of pathfinders to come on board and make Kearney et al realise you absolutely mean business.  This blog, I understand, is DK’s favoured matinal devourment even before he starts the crossword in the Opus Dei Chronicle.  He prefers to get most of the bad news over with first.

So please you pioneers of parent action, tell me your aims, publicise your reasons for disaffection.  Get it all out in the open.  Behind closed doors and non-transparency are the tools of the Church, the Diocese and the Governors, they should not be your tools.   You can contact me privately on malpas46@eircom.net or comment publicly on the blog if you wish.

And before I go, I would just like to comment on Sean Carr’s other point in his comment this morning about Mr Berry’s and Mr Loader’s leaving mass last Friday evening in the College and the obvious absence of DK and Florid from same.  Excuses will not do for their non-appearance.  It was a flagrant lack of respect to two men who had given the greater part of their lives to the College and who had carried out their duties and care with aplomb.  No matter how much the florid cleric and the miserable headmaster might have thought of their two underlings, last Friday evening was building bridges time.  They failed in this simple task, just as they have failed in every task put tothem in the last few years.

One reader of this blog has recently commented why on earth would a headmaster be put in charge of a school to run it into the ground, it does not make sense.  Well here is your answer dear reader, DK and Quinlan are slowly edging the College along the road to perdition.  Beware Mr Kearney you are at the gates of hell there is no going back for you I’m afraid.

36 thoughts on “He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune.

  1. Paul,

    I’m afraid the course of action most dissatisfied parents will take will be to avoid confrontation and do one of two things in the next month or two –

    (1) Grin and bear it, especially if their child has been there for 2 years or more, which would cause disruption to their education, and decide to leave once ‘O’ levels have been taken.

    (2) Leave and go somewhere else more suitable to their needs. If they withdraw the child from the College, I would imagine they do not have to give a reason.

    I personally don’t see the third option of complaining will do anything to improve matters, option (2) will result in the eventual demise of the place, as this seems to being accelerated because fewer and fewer new students are coming to the College, in addition to those leaving earlier than expected.

    From all of Bede’s previous actions, it would seem the motto ‘Shoot the Messenger’ applies every time to the way they react. They don’t take criticism in any shape or form, as you well know from your limited dealings with them. The fact that a parent would dare to criticise them in any way will no doubt go down like the proverbial lead balloon, we can only hazard a guess as to what the College’s response would be.

    History dictates it will be negative, I’m a realist, sad to say. I hope I’m proved wrong, experience says otherwise. Best of luck with this, I’d be delighted if these dissatisfied parents manage to get somewhere where nearly all others have failed.

    Sorry to be so negative, ‘Cynical’ should have been my middle name.

  2. Paul,

    Your blog has been brought to my attention.

    I was the Head Boy of St. Bede’s College during the academic year 1994-1995, having been educated at St. Bede’s Prep from 1984 – 1988 and in the College from 1988 – 1995. After St. Bede’s, I read law at Jesus College, Oxford. I am now a barrister in Manchester. As it happens, I followed your daughter, Katie, from St. Bede’s to Jesus College.

    In respect of your trenchant criticisms of the current management of the College, it needs to be pointed out that the generally gloomy economic outlook of the past few years has inevitably had a detrimental effect upon the number of parents with the disposable income to pay for a private education for their children. It would be odd if St. Bede’s was immune from this effect. In addition, St. Bede’s has, over the past 20 years, lost the benefit of the assisted places scheme and of the funding of places by Trafford Council.

    Against that backdrop, it is quite frankly invidious and grotesquely unfair of you to criticise the current management of the College in the vehement way that you do. Whilst I do not know the current headmaster, it seems to me that he and his staff are doing their level best to maintain the high standards that have always been upheld in the College. Any reduction in pupil numbers is more likely to reflect the general factors set out above and no headmaster would be immune from their effect.

    I note that on the current staff remain Barry Peden and Joe Bowden. They both taught me when I was at St. Bede’s and I am enormously indebted to them for their supreme dedication as teachers and role models in life. I simply cannot accept that they would permit the standards in the College to fall below those that were in evidence when I was a pupil.

    You also criticise Monsignor Quinlan in trenchant terms. I do not know Monsignor Quinlan. I have never met him. It should be noted, however, that his role as the Chairman of the Governors at St. Bede’s is unremunerated. He gains nothing from his relentless efforts to support the College. It is unfair to suggest that a man who has given tirelessly of his time as a Governor for c.20 years has anything other than the best interests of the College at heart. It is also a cheap shot to suggest that, as a priest, he is in some way commercially naive.

    St. Bede’s is a good school because it has a caring, Catholic ethos. It produces well-rounded adults who are able to live life to the full. In addition, St. Bede’s has always had – and continues to have – high academic standards. I understand that c.7 offers (conditional upon ‘A’-legel results) have been secured for Oxbridge entrance in October 2013. That is not the mark of a school that is anything other than academically successful.

    It is troubling that you appear to have an axe to grind with St. Bede’s. As far as I can gather, you yourself received a good education at the College, and have led a successful life. It seems that you children also received a good education at the College. It follows that you have no direct interest in the current running of the College and that, given your family’s good education there, it is unfair of you to seek to do nothing more than to stir up trouble.

    I should add that it does nothing at all for your cause that you descend to the level of launching puerile insults on the present management of the College (your reference to “Florid” and “Fishface” springs to mind).

    It seems to me that you have, unfortunately, conflated two entirely separate issues. One issue concerns the current management of the College. That issue is not your concern and it is wrong of you to meddle. The other issue concerns the allegations of historic abuse at the College. When I was at St. Bede’s I was wholly unaware of its alleged past. Obviously, I am saddened that any pupil who attended the College at any time could have been subjected to abuse. If true (and I am not in a position to deny it), then it is unacceptable. However, to seek to run down the current management of the College for that reason is to make a link that isn’t there because the current management can in no way have been aware of – or be expected to act in respect of – historic events. It is to conflate two unrelated issues.

    It follows that in so far as you seek to criticise the current management of the College – and seek to run the College down – you deserve to be excoriated.

    Andrew Ward

    1. Well Wardy, there is no hiding behind anonymity with you. You have offered us your credentials hook, line and sinker and I hope you are proud of your achievements so far and a person of your calibre has certainly put the fear of God in me. But I will try and answer your points as gracefully as I can, on the understanding that I am only a lowly Longsight lad.
      A good education, I think, is a necessity not a luxury as you seem to suggest. How is it that the other private schools around Manchester can, if not thrive, at least get along comfortably in the present economic climate without diluting their educational performance. Your argument about St. Bede’s woes does not stack up, I’m afraid. The reasons parents are removing themselves and their children from the Bedian sphere, is because they sense deterioration. I have plenty of correspondence to suggest that is a fact.
      Both Mr Pedan and Mr Bowden have been at the school a long time, they might have no say in their inherited working environment. I would imagine it is difficult to move on to another establishment at their age and at their salary levels. After a number of years one becomes a slave to one’s own position, it is only a brave person who can cast themselves free.
      Old Florid, as you call him somewhere in your comment, or Monsignor Quinlan, as he is known to us more sincere folk, should expect an ”unremunerated” life, he is after all a Catholic priest under orders from his bishop. What he gains from his position is kudos and power, which is enough for anybody whose position is “all found”. He had 15 years of an easy life before he met this present self-induced uphill struggle. And why pray do you think it a “cheap shot” for me to suggest a priest is commercially naïve. What commercial training would he have had in his 70 odd years of life. Surely commercialism flies in the face of all that is priestly.
      Your mention of a “Catholic ethos” at Bede’s is a little out of date and might be a reason why parents are shying away from the College. The words Catholic Church nowadays is anathema to most people, who prefer a non-religious sway to their children’s education and your mention of seven offers at Oxbridge means sweet FA to me and others. These kids started in 2006 when things were all hunky-dory under the flawed Byrne.
      Your seventh paragraph, dealing with our education leaves me shaking my head at your thought processes, you presume too much. I have no axe to grind, I did not receive a good education and I do not consider that I have had a successful life. And as you seem to know my children, I would ask you to ask them yourself on what they thought of a Bedian education. I think they would disagree with your surmise. I think they would say they had a flawed education under a very flawed Byrne aegis, with lots of unfairness and a massive sexist bias thrown in. There were certainly one or two super star teachers but you will get that anywhere. In fact next month some of us from the 1957 intake will be attending a dinner for the finest teacher to have graced Bede’s marble halls, Mr Tony Martin, “Spike” to us ingrates. We are gathering an elite bunch from all over the world to celebrate Tony’s 83rd year of life.
      To say I have no direct interest in the running of the College is absolutely unfair. I for nearly 20 years contributed massively to its financial well-being and I am an ex-pupil. I, more than most, have an interest in its careful management and when I see poor control and inadequacy, I should be allowed to say what I think.
      Your remark that I have conflated two entirely separate issues is totally wrong. As explained in my previous paragraph, I have every right to “meddle” as you put it, especially when I witness gross behaviour from management. As regards “historic abuse”, it was all around you whilst you were at the school. You must be totally naïve to suggest it was not there in your day. Let me remind you of what Archbishop Dermot Martin of the Dublin archdiocese said the other day on the publication of chapter 20, the last chapter of the Murphy Report, “I repeat that the Murphy Report represents and remains a true milestone which marks our history. What happened to children in the Church of Jesus Christ in the Archdiocese of Dublin is something that must never be forgotten. It is part of the history of the Archdiocese and can never be white-washed away”
      And so as long as the Church, the Diocese of Salford and St. Bede’s College fail to confront this abuse issue, they are failing past, present and future pupils. They are trying to white-wash the obvious and inevitable.
      To sum up I think your whole argument is priggish and puerile and unfortunately mirrors your curriculum vitae so adequately described in your first paragraph.

  3. Paul

    I find the posting by Mr Ward incredible.

    Mr Ward as a exceptionally well educated barrister (interesting that I move in legal circles but your name escapes me) I’m surprised that you have decided to post on a blog demonstrably without doing any research into the current problems at St Bede’s. I am sure that in your professional life you could not afford to forge argument and opinion based on memory and personal perception.

    A question. Have you bothered to canvass a selection of opinion from current St Bede’s staff or parents as someone of your profession would be expected to do before forming an opinion

    Whilst I have better things to do than pull apart your post, as I’m sure you would do in court but a few things need to be brought to the attention of Paul’s followers.

    You state

    “Whilst I do not know the current headmaster, it seems to me that he and his staff are doing their level best to maintain the high standards that have always been upheld in the College”

    So you don’t know Mr Kearney so have no basis to form an opinion. Also why does it “seem to you” that they are trying their “level best to…..”?

    You further state:

    “I note that on the current staff remain Barry Peden and Joe Bowden. They both taught me when I was at St. Bede’s and I am enormously indebted to them for their supreme dedication as teachers and role models in life. I simply cannot accept that they would permit the standards in the College to fall below those that were in evidence when I was a pupil.”

    Does the fact you simply “cannot accept” a fact make it incorrect? Have you asked Joe Bowden or Barry Peden personally? If you call Mr Bowden perhaps you could ask for his opinion on the History department debacle? You will of course be familiar with the topic if you gave given due diligence to posts and replies on this forum before deciding to post yourself. Maybe you could return and post his response. I’m sure you can find his number.

    And more:

    “I do not know Monsignor Quinlan. I have never met him”

    Again therefore you cannot comment on him or his management.


    “It should be noted, however, that his role as the Chairman of the Governors at St. Bede’s is unremunerated. He gains nothing from his relentless efforts to support the College. ”

    Like Paul I find it utterly inedible that someone of your education can make such a naive comment, unless you didn’t realise Monsignor was a title of a Catholic priest?

    You are, I’m sure, a talented lawyer Mr Ward. If you care so much about St Bede’s why not use your skills to help those trying to save it.

    I recommend some detailed and diverse research before you post further.

    Sean Carr.

  4. To: Paul Malpas and other realists

    Oh dear, a barrister speaks, a man paid to put a gloss on clients’ cases, irrespective of the truth or not. A paragon of upstanding rectitude? – I fear not, he’d have been better keeping it quiet. Not exactly the noblest of professions. Look how many politicians are ex-barristers – my bête noire Maggie, for a start. That tells you all you need to know.

    Are we to be impressed? Again, I think not, the Law has been described by far more qualified and eminent persons than anyone currently posting as ‘The Last Closed Shop’, the ultimate in restrictive practices. I think I’d sooner admit to being an estate agent. Ever heard anyone say ‘Trust me, I’m a lawyer?’ The prosecution hereby rests its case. Guilty as charged, no need for the jury to deliberate.

    No, the sound of the broom sweeping any unfortunate unpleasantness out of sight at Bede’s is echoing again throughout its marble halls. They’re going to need some better excuses than the ones dreamed up by our Bedian lawyer as to the current state of the school, its falling numbers and its utter failure to address its past misdemeanours.

    A nice use of the English language in the posting though, even though the reasoning and justification is somewhat suspect. Also when you see some of the current Bullingdon Club idiots running the country, I’m afraid a mention of attending Oxford sadly does not have the kudos it once had. Take idiot George Osborne, Mr No Plan B. A double First in something at Oxford, possibly smugness, sadly not in Economics, I’d doubt he’d pass ‘O’ level. Educated idiots seems an excellent description for them.

    Mr Ward must try harder, much harder, to stand a remote chance of convincing anyone that Bede’s is currently in anything other than deep doo-doo and that its imminent court case will improve matters. Also his mention of the Catholic ethos leaves me puzzled, since large numbers of the students are not even Catholics, let alone practising ones. This College ceased to be a truly Catholic one some time ago. And this ethos? Where the Diocese of Salford do their level best to conceal and deny abuse took place, resulting in people having to resort to the law to effect redress? It’s an ethos I’d rather do without, thank you.

    Nice to see on my return from Paris this weekend (are we impressed? I thought not) the MEN is keeping its foot on the accelerator regarding abuse at Chetham’s School of Music. One must not complain regarding abuse cases, be it Stuart Hall, Fred Talbot, St Ambrose’s, Bede’s, they all get a dishonourable mention, being treated to the metaphorical double-barrel shotgun blast of unwanted publicity. One cannot accuse the MEN of being anything other than even-handed, despite its hand at times being rather heavy.

    No, Mr Ward, nice try, do some homework on the true situation and come back with something a little more substantial than your latest apology of a case.

  5. Maybe Andrew Ward is unaware of the long history of abuse of pupils at his beloved school. I am just one of many of the boys abused by Mgr Tommy Duggan. For me it began within a couple of months after starting at Bede’s in 1950 and lasted nearly four years.
    Yes, Mr Ward, it is a long time ago and beyond your realm of interest no doubt.
    The Hungarians are pursuing a 95 year man for alleged war crimes in 1944. No real evidence against him, but lets hang him anyway, to make up for the ones that got away.
    Paul Malpas has done a brilliant job of bringing forth the horrors of the Duggan years and beyond. Not one person was charged for all those years of abuse. The RCC are great at burying their appalling crimes, all over the world, not just little old Bede’s.
    I have related some of what happened to me in this blog over the past year or two though certainly not all of it.
    It’s a great pity the MEN can’t bring themselves to publish all the information they have received about Bede’s. But of course some of their staff are ex-Bede’s and choke on what they know. The famous ‘oh, it couldn’t have happened, I was there’ doesn’t wash.
    Only a percentage of boys were abused and in the climate of the 1950’s and 1960’s it went on without the majority of the school ever knowing.
    One thing completely forgotten, we, the abused had no one to go to. No support or anything in those days. I told my father after the first incident with Duggan. He refused to believe me and punished me severely. As a devout catholic it was beyond his comprehension that such things could happen. When he confronted Duggan and the then bishop four years all that happened was that I left the school and the next day the school assembly was told I had been expelled for bringing the school into disrepute.
    Bede’s dirty washing will aired very publicly before too long.

    1. Thank you Messrs Taylor, Horne and Carr for putting this prat of a barrister firmly in his place. For Mr Carr’s further researches Wardy works at Exchange Chambers in Manchester. I asked my daughter if she knew him and she vaguely remembered a little silly twerp who tried to get friendly. She likened him to a puppy dog jumping and prancing round your heels. Perhaps that is all he is doing now – prancing. Let us all “excoriate” him.

  6. If Mr Ward becomes a judge (highly likely-“buggins turn”) he can prance about wearing a sash,,buckled shoes……Now who does that remind me of………??

    1. Mr Lefley,
      Are you telling me that our learned friend Barrister Ward reminds you of a certain paedophile monsignor of the 50s and 60s? That’s of course if he ever becomes a judge which seems highly unlikely given his sense of reasoning.

  7. Paul,

    I think the phrase ‘expunge from the memory’ might be more apt, rather than excoriate. As an ill-informed a piece of mischief-making, Mr Ward’s posting has only one saving grace, in that it was well-written. Badly researched – yes. Factually correct – no. Now let us move on.

    I would argue his 15 years or so away from the place has resulted in a ‘rose-tinted spectacle opinion’ of the place. As repeated ad nauseam by myself, personally I have very little to quarrel about my education during my time at the place. Tommy D left after my second year, to be replaced by Geoff Burke, of whom I know very little and do not wish to comment (though other people accuse him of being T D’s bagman).

    My last 4 years at Bede’s (1967-71) were fortunately under Monsignor Eric Riley, and my personal opinion of him is that I rated him highly, most of the excesses under Duggan were apparently kept in check. However, by around 1973 or so, the arrival of Billy Boy Green, the recently released Nonce of the Alma Mater, ensured the recurrence of student abuse.

    The chronology is that known paedophiles operated from 1950 to 1966, thence from 1973 to around 1990, when Billy Boy moved on. Some people are of the opinion that others operated during the period 1950 to 1990 (a total of 40 years), some of these people are dead, some not. Either way, this points to an institution riddled with child-abusers, about which absolutely nothing was done, and very little admitted by the College. For all his faults, at least some honesty was shown by Rev Green, which is more than can be said for the College or the Diocese of Salford, still in denial, awaiting the court case.

    Mr Horne, in particular, has a very sad story to tell, one that any doubter of abuse at Bede’s should listen to, before firing off ill-advised missives questioning the subject.

    Perhaps the court case might shine a welcome (or unwelcome as the case may be) light as to the actual goings-on during the Reign of Terror and beyond. I’m glad I’m not in the College’s or Diocese’s shoes, I’d really love to hear them explain away the actions, and, as importantly, non-actions, they took to halt the abuse.

    We live in hope

  8. Apologies for my last posting, depending on which account you read, Billy Green was at Bede’s from around 1973 to sometime in the late 90’s. Having paid enough attention in Maths lessons, I hereby declare a mea culpa.

    The abuse actually went on for almost 50 years, not 40, as I previously stated.

    I’m happy to admit my mistake on this issue. It certainly doesn’t make things any better for Bede’s though, having to explain away almost a half century of abuse…

    Anyone know a good lawyer? Where are Perry Mason and Rumpole when you need them?

    1. Paul,
      I do not think you are even talking about those who have yet to be talked about and cannot for legal reasons but as far as my research goes, certainly the abuse started in 1949, my first instance with Duggan, and all the way through until about 2006 when the main protagonists were getting too old for that caper. As far as I can see there was not a single year in-between where one of them was not available. Certainly in between times there were others who acted for a short time but these were weeded out quickly by management as being too blatant. Most I think will never see the light of day for various reasons. So certainly, in my mind, abuse reigned for 57 years at our great alma mater.

  9. To Paul Malpas

    So much for Bill Green being the last of the Dishonourables then. Your implication that abusers were still present between 1966 and 1971, my last five years at Bede’s, does not really surprise me. No doubt for legal reasons some cannot be named (they are still alive, maybe possibly awaiting the dreaded knock on the door) but some are now dead and have escaped punishment on Earth.

    What a rotten edifice Bede’s became, for over 50 years. Who is going to stand up and say it couldn’t possibly happen again? I for one wouldn’t. I truly hope that at least more of this is brought to light in the impending court case.

    Unlike the Nuremburg trials, mostly held over a short period, we could be in for year upon year cases being brought, as more evidence sees the light of day. I feel that the College’s intransigence in the matter will ensure they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into court to defend charge after charge, time after time. I’d like to see someone spin that away.

    Yet another reason to let the place go under? We’ll have to await the outcome of the initial case to see which the wind blows. Around Hurricane Force, I fear.

  10. Got it ! Rename the rotting hulk “Prince of Cambridge Academy’ – and watch the aspiring, sharp-elbowed, middle class fight to get their oiks in.

    1. Brian,
      I can see you are as heartily fed up as I am at the jamboree surrounding this kid’s birth in the media. If this couple were intent on being one of us, they would have cut this crap at the start. Google Chris Spivey because he will have put the right slant on the occasion.

  11. Brian,

    Changing names? I’m afraid not. Rather like the Hoover flights scandal of the early 90s, which relegated the brand from being No 1 to an also-ran (they didn’t change the name, so exacerbated the situation), even name-changing mostly doesn’t work – think Windscale and Sellafield, for instance.

    Seriously though, Bede’s as a brand is heavily tarnished, beyond redemption I’d suggest. The financial problems the College is now undergoing will need either a benevolent benefactor (Sheik Mansour?) and/or change of the Management team in order to have any chance of survival.

    No, change of name on its own will not be enough. Change of name and change of management might be the answer though. Where are the Superheads when you need them? I don’t think Mr Kearney would put himself in that category.

    The whole set-up now appears to be short-term, with long-term teachers leaving or retiring, to be replaced by teachers with much less experience on short-term contracts (easier to dispense with) and less salary. This does not bode well for the future, anyone coughing up £9K plus for an education is going to seriously explore various options before committing to a particular school. Sadly Bede’s comes along with a lot of baggage, the questioning of its current regime is giving rise to many questions, nearly all of which go unanswered.

    If Bede’s were a share, you’d have got out and sold a long time ago…….

  12. Paul, you mention that you will be throwing a party for Spike Martin shortly. Do give him my regards. (Not that I expect him to remember me.) Although I don’t consider him to be “the finest teacher to have graced Bede’s marble halls”, perhaps because I was luckier overall in my teachers than you seem to have been, I do consider him to have been a very good teacher. He achieved the minor miracle of convincing me that history could be (a) interesting and (b) even useful. He did it by choosing as our O level topic “English economic and social history from 1750 to the present day”, a field that turned out to be extraordinarily interesting – far more interesting than the phrase itself might suggest. Living in Manchester, with the artifacts of the industrial revolution all around us, it was a really inspired choice. I have continued to study history a little, on and off, ever since, and thanks to Spike I am now much more sensitive to the economic drivers behind a lot of history. It affects how I look at the modern world too.

    A good teacher can have a very big influence!

  13. I forgot to add that, two years ago, following up on a remark that Spike had made and that had stuck in my mind, I actually got around to reading Weber’s “The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism”. So his classes were still having a direct influence on me 42 (I think) years later.

    1. Linda, I have made notes on what you have said and incorporated them into a piece that I will give to Spike on the night. So many people have e-mailed me with their thoughts on the man.

  14. Paul

    Any legal threats from Head Boy yet?

    I also see Quinlan is a Diocesan Trustee effectively the board of governors of Salford. Be in an interesting position to influence a failure and asset strip should funds be required in the future…..

    I also hear some parents are still pushing and starting to ask some very very awkward questions.

    1. No Sean I have not heard anything but he seems to have found a mate in Liam above, who puts one or two points worth considering even though they are off context. However he cannot rely on 2007 ISI remarks, the rot had not then set in.

  15. What A Webb you weave, Sean! Sorry- I couldn’t resist the awful pun. I have been working abroad for a couple of months, but have recently spoken to a few contacts of my own and they hinted, in fact they explicitly stated, that Sean isn’t who s/he claims to be. Once again I ask- who are you, Sean?
    Furthermore, however pretentious, pompous or poorly informed you clearly all felt Andrew Ward’s post to be, your own responses to it were entirely unworthy of the initially noble purpose of this blog- to win justice for the victims of Duggan, Green and co. I cannot see how useful making derogatory and adolescent remarks to somebody who would undoubtedly be sympathetic to that original cause is. You’re beginning to look awfully like bullies yourselves.

  16. And another thing. Paul T, you wrote the following a while ago, but have not yet received any replies on these pages.

    “P. S. I’m still waiting for anyone to contradict me regarding Bede’s OFSTED rating being middling, the mere fact no-one has would indicate there’s no dispute about it. Please remember that, for whatever reason, prospective parents use this as a guide. Also I cannot be accused of bias in this matter, any complaints should be addressed to OFSTED.”

    You who excoriate Andrew Ward for his lack of research did not think it worth your while to check the above for yourself, you instead decided to present it as fact and wait to see if anyone would contradict you. The fact no-one did does not indicate that there’s no dispute about it, but rather no-one could be bothered to (until now). St Bede’s is not inspected by OFSTED, but by the ISI (the Independent Schools Inspectorate). Its most recent inspection report (which took me all of thirty seconds to find online) concluded that St Bede’s College was a ‘first-rate school’; not quite middling then. Of course, that report was from 2007 and things may have changed since then, but since there has been no inspection your assertion remains entirely false. You’re not biased, Paul, just wrong.

    1. Liam,
      I think we all know how much Bede’s has changed in six years, it is wrong to even look at that report.

  17. To Liam Kelly,

    Mea culpa, I got the info from a report which named both state and Independent schools together, thanks for correcting me on the body which inspects. However I still stand by the opinion that Bede’s only ranked middling, in one or two cases was only on a level par with some state schools in the area.

    However, I did a little bit more research, as you suggested. Taking Independent Schools only, as collated by the Guardian in England (total on list 475), giving percentage GCSE pass rate, points per candidate, it lists the schools in a table as follows (data is for 2011):-

    Top of the list – St Paul’s, London (81.3%). Eton College – surprisingly only No. 41 (70.6%).

    In descending order of pass rate for local schools we have the following:-

    Withington Girls Schools (20th, 72.6%), Bolton School Girls (39th, 70.7%), Manchester GS (63rd, 69.2%), Manchester HS for girls (99th, 66.7%), Bury GS for girls (100th, 66.7%), Hulme GS Oldham girls (186th, 63.3%), Hulme GS Oldham boys (215th, 62.3%), Cheadle Hulme (257th, 60.6%), Stockport GS (258th, 60.5%).

    At long last, in 262nd, place, St Bede’s College Manchester (score 60.5%).

    The only local schools to feature below this were Bury GS boys (283rd, 59.6%), William Hulme Grammar School Manchester – now no longer a fee-paying school, returned recently to state funded – (414th, 51.9%), Bridgewater School Manchester – I would have said myself it’s Worsley, Salford – (416th, 51.4%) and bringing up the rear for local school, Hulme Hall Cheadle Hulme (452nd out of 475, 45.0%)

    This comparatively poor rating for Bede’s when viewed against other local fee-paying schools may have been one of the reasons for the removal of Mr Barber in 2011, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    So much for the ISI’s ratings in 2007 and Bede’s being outstanding then. Since these tables are based on actual exam results of 2011, I suspect several prospective fee payers will be looking at this information and other similar data before spending around £10K plus per annum, choosing to go elsewhere, as many people regard the academic performance of the school as an important criterion in selecting a school. This may be one of the reasons for Bede’s troubles in filling their places each year.

    Check this for yourself, again I cannot be accused of being selective, I did not compile the data.

  18. We should all strive for total perfection, sadly on this occasion, I have to admit to an error. If I’ve missed any other local ones, feel free to correct me.

    I omitted to include one further local fee-paying school to the list, Bolton School, Boys – it ranked 112th, score 66.2%.

    Furthermore, Mr Kelly, do you actually have any faith in OFSTED or ISI ratings? I’d put them on a par with the Quality Care Commission, which rated Stafford General and Morecambe Bay Hospital as worthy of becoming Trust hospitals, due to their acceptable patient care. Certainly OFSTED’s track record is littered with contentious contradictions, to say the least.

    No, I’m afraid most prospective fee-payers will skip them and go to straight to the nitty-gritty
    – the school’s academic performance, compared with other local ones. I rather suspect people would have more faith in these tables. If they do, then Bede’s problems become all too apparent, I would suggest.

    1. Yes, I think Mr Taylor’s riposte makes it 1 -0 to the Taylor X1 with the teams in the dressing room for half time

  19. I now wish to make the point that if Bede’s tries to sell itself on mere academic achievement (as it once probably could), it’s currently got a major problem, since on the basis of rankings, unless things changed dramatically in 2012, it has a fair way to go to catch up on the market leaders in the area. The league table cannot just be explained away with any sensible conviction from an academic point of view.

    We were told in the 50s and 60s we and the College were academically the crème de la crème. Clearly the College is not in that position now. If this evidence put forward tells you one thing only, I’d argue it’s a major stumbling block to attracting sufficient fee-payers. I don’t think any fair-minded person could argue against that.

    Apologists, please do not reiterate the College’s web-site PR claptrap about an “all-inclusive education”, whatever that’s supposed to be. I daresay other fee-paying schools manage to produce well-balanced students, who happen to be more successful academically.

    The vast majority of fee-payers send their children to a school to be taught well and succeed academically. Once the College remembers that, it might be able to turn things around.

  20. Sorry Liam I don’t get your “pun” nor are your contacts accurate. Sean Carr’s the name.

    Also I didn’t consider my response to Head Boy as anything but fairly challenging his (what I consider) to be his ill informed and inaccurate views. He is however entitled to them, as am I to mine.

  21. In reply to Andrew Ward, barrister, Old Bedian and Jesus College, Oxford old boy who commented above, I attach an e-mail from an antipodean reader, fellow lawyer and Old Bedian. Pardon the Southern Hemisphere slant on words but they are renowned for straight speaking.


    I have been following with great glee your latest blogging that has
    brought forth the wrath of one Barrister Ward and, of course, more than
    the occasional mention of our pending Didsbury dinner.

    It occurs to me that whether one was steeped in law in the ethereal
    realms of Jesus College, Oxford or in the more proletarian alleyways of
    the Victoria University of Wellington the tendency to charge by the
    word, the page and the week conflates us into rather wordy and
    excruciatingly pompous chaps.

    What a fucking dork!


  22. Paul, please delete the previous post (and this one). I see he said Jesus College Oxford. I misread it as Jesus College Cambridge. It’s late and I have had a long day!

    1. I was just about to correct you when I found this later apology. Don’t worry we all have bad days. The main thing is even on the bad days you read my blog.

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