Comings And Goings At St Bede’s College In Manchester

Well it certainly looks as though some of the i’s have been dotted and some of the t’s crossed at St Bede’s College in Manchester, where skullduggery has been the order of the day for the last five months at this once famous school.  Ever since the Independent Schools Inspectorate descended at the end of last year and stated that the governance of the school was a right load of crap.

In the aftermath of the report and during its post mortem, Danny Kearney, the supposed Headmaster, who was unable to adequately defend his directorship of the downward slide, threw his dummy out of the pram, picked up the ball and went home leaving poor old and well put upon but still stunningly beautiful Sandra Pike to hold the fort.

To remind yourselves of the seismic upheavals at the beginning of the year I suggest you read a series of blog postings I wrote in a three week period at the end of January and beginning of February and also the comments they attracted.  Not only are they singularly well written but they are precise and the forecasts have nearly all come true, pronouncing to the world what a bag of shite the school had become.

My first posting in this saga was on 17th January 2014 entitled Even More On St Bede’s College In Manchester which reminded the reader of the deadly hush that descended on the school at that time after the Inspectorate had visited the school before Christmas.  My remarks were well justified and described the scene well.  Having read it again this morning, I congratulated myself on a fine piece of writing, obviously helped in a large way by Danny Boy’s behaviour and the actions of Cretin Quinlan who had helped to hoist Danny’s petard.

My next posting regarding the school was five days later on 22nd January 2014 entitled St Bede’s Opened Up when in the last line I opined that “the debate (regarding the school) will continue over these next few days but please let us hear of some dismissals”.  And sure enough with Kearney still sulking, Pike did her best to explain away the ISI report which seriously questioned the School’s Safeguarding abilities, in a note to all parents published in my posting of 1st February 2014 entitled BBC On St Bede’s Last Night where I also reported the mawkish BBC entering the fray.

The 6th February 2014 brought on another posting entitled Danny Kearney’s Attempt To Right A Wrong which allowed Danny his last tilt at the windmill when in a very poor piece of writing in an article in the Tablet, he blames the world and not himself for Bede’s ills.  As I wrote that piece, news came through, devastating news as it happens of how Old Florid finally saw sense.  Monsignor Michael Quinlan resigned as chair of governors of the College. with effect from 3rd February 2014.  Now whether he jumped or was pushed does not really matter, I prefer to think he was pushed, but it removed one more hurdle in trying to right the school.  Quinlan’s reign was dire.

Old Flash Moynihan stuck his finger in the hole in the dyke but said his role would be shortlived classing himself as only a caretaker.  The first bit of truth out of the school in a long time.  I followed up this news with a posting on 7th February entitled Egos Obliterated At St Bede’s College In Manchester when I questioned the crisis management at Bede’s over the previous few years.  In a supposed academic environment calmness had gone out the window.  Bede’s in its stricken state had brought Byrne and Moynihan back to run the ship, the two men who had been witness to the Green era and other possible blemishes and had never held their hands up.  A bloody poor and ill considered show by the Bishop.

All this flapping about at Bede’s deserved a rapier-like thrust and I did this on 9th February 2014 with a piece entitled The Reality Of St Bede’s In The 1950s and 1960sIt shocked some people with its candour, it was meant to.  Sexual abuse of children passes over a lot of people’s heads.  After reading this posting hopefully they understand it better.  In fact one dimwit, a school governor by the name of Helen West, was so infuriated with my real prose she threatened to have me closed down and was supposed to have instructed Greater Manchester Police and the Garda Siocana to have me arrested.  Can you all not see why the school is buggered with such a witless woman on the board of governors.

Well that is where I left the school to either right itself or rot in its own juices.  I had more important matters to think about.  Up north of England is a country called Scotland and it also has big problems with its governance.  It locks up the innocent and lets the guilty go free and because of that it has become totally corrupt with the likes of Alex Salmond desperately trying to protect his protector Elish Angiolini, the former Lord Advocate of Scotland who is up to her nostrils in the protection of paedophile rings in Bonnie Scotland.  Two of my mates Robert Green and Timothy Rustige have been locked up, Robert without even a trial since February 12th 2014.  Timothy with only a farce of a trial with the said Angiolini perjuring herself at will from the witness box.  Timothy has now been given a release date of 11th August.  Their crime if that is what it is in this warped state was to protect innocent children from kilted sexual abuse.

I returned to the Bedian fiasco yesterday having been given a nudge by a solicitor friend in New Zealand.  I now notice that Shiek Mansour’s stooge at Bede’s, Mr Des Coffey, has been made Vice-chair of Governors, the arab grip on the school is tightening and also that the Board have shed four governors since February.  What can be wrong with the atmosphere at Bede’s when for the last two years governors have been coming and going like customers at a brothel.

One thing the solicitor told me was that he was in conversation with a well respected ex-teacher at Bede’s who told him that Danny Boy had eventually thrown in the towel or at least been paid off with adequate monies instead of going to an Industrial Tribunal with a case of constructive dismissal.  I doubt if we will ever know, secrecy being the key to progress at Bede’s.  You parents however who pay these people’s wages should demand to know how he departed because certainly his slate has been well cleaned.  The monies paid to him came out of your pockets, you deserve better.  Kearney’s name no longer stands with the staff of the school, the brave and beautiful Sandra Pike rides tall as Acting Head, leaving her way clear for her escalation to Headmaster.  God help us all but at least she will be cheap.

69 thoughts on “Comings And Goings At St Bede’s College In Manchester

  1. Paul,

    Ah well, James J and his anonymous friends, the one-time supporters of the Danny Kearney-organised putsch of 2011, can now all go and eat humble pie. Yes, you idiots, everything certainly was not tickety-boo at the Alma Mater, this has now been confirmed categorically. Considering Paul M was accused of knowing absolutely nothing about the current problems of Bede’s, his predictions to date have been uncannily accurate.

    Under the junta of DK and his co-conspirators, over the last three years the College has travelled unremittingly on a downward path, the ISI School Inspectors’ report of last year would seem to have shattered any complacency as regards to its academic standing compared to other independent schools in the area.

    Also, in view of its previous well-documented problems of sexual abuse of pupils, I stated at the time of the ISI report that I found it completely incomprehensible and a cause for grave concern that the report highlighted poor safeguarding of the students. Senior figures at the College should have considered their positions then, not now, six months down the line.

    Sandra Pike was listed as one of the co-conspirators in the effective removal of Michael Barber three years ago. For that reason alone, I for one have little, if any, confidence in her ability and that of the other co-conspirators (most of whom seem to have been awarded with promotion since the putsch)to save the College.

    The falling number of students currently at the College, the lack of recruitment of new students and the approaching iceberg of the High Court case in London next year would indicate that Danny Kearney has made a wise choice jumping ship now.

    However, let us have no sympathy for him whatsoever. The mess he has left after his dreadful three year reign can only have any chance of being cleaned up by the removal of the remaining conspirators. A new head needs to be brought in from outside, more new staff brought in, the Court Case settled, together with a full public apology and suitable compensation for the victims.

    In short the broom needs to sweep clean and, as importantly, be seen to sweep clean. Anyone involved with the Kearney clan needs to be removed as soon as possible and replaced by new staff who are concerned solely with raising teaching standards at the College. Never again should staff be more concerned with trying to remove the Head Teacher than doing what they’re supposedly paid to do – teach the students, and teach them well.

    On that note, I can honestly say I fear this will not be the end of the troubles at Bede’s…..

  2. To all:

    As a footnote, it can be confirmed (check Bede’s own web-site if you don’t believe me) that the College is in the market for a new Head Teacher. The King is dead, long live the King (or Queen, as the case may be).

    If it is someone from outside the College, I wish them the best of luck. If someone from within is recruited, in particular one of the Danny Kearney junta, I wish them no luck whatever.

    1. Again due notice has not been applied. As in the case of Michael Barber, the insider putsch and the overnight creation of Kearney and Pike as boss men, this new transferal of power seems ill-judged and in fact rotten to the core. The selection of a head at a large school of this nature normally takes some time. This process I have known to take a year at some schools. Presumably they want somebody in place for September. Unfortunately to bring in an outsider in this short space of time will only mean they will pick the wrong person because anybody with the necessary skills to pull this particular pig from the fire will have to give more than one terms notice. My money is on Pike, she is available, she will be cheap and if they are going to close the place down, she will be ideal for its demise. Best of all is that she undoubtedly retains the ethereal beauty of her youth.

      When looking at the College website under vacancies the headship is only third on the list, no mention at all under background information of recent troubled times. It looks to me, although it seems the advertisement is all inclusive, that it was cobbled together in haste, its type face is amateur and if they are going to appoint by late June, Pike’s my man. She ticks all the right boxes.

  3. Paul,

    How depressing. Rather like a pop star, I’m afraid being good-looking is no indication the person can sing, likewise the same applies to being a teacher, especially a head one.

    The job on offer at Bede’s is one that most candidates ‘in the trade’ as they say, will be one to steered well clear of. The College’s reputation has taken such a hammering from many varied sources that I would argue only a person of supreme confidence and exceptional ability or, more likely, an idiot from within with an overblown opinion of his/her abilities, would wish to take on the task.

    I know which one my money is on. The recent cost-cutting and temporary contract nature of the more recently recruited inexperienced members of staff point to only one outcome – the cheap option.

    To undergo a decent selection process requires time and with the new school year looming ever nearer in September, that’s the one thing Bede’s don’t have. The College has most recently promoted from within, with disastrous results. In my opinion, the last person that should be considered for the post is anyone who was involved in the unseating of the previous head, Mr Barber. If such a person were appointed, how could they stand in front of the staff and demand, with a straight face, any loyalty from them?

    They make touch lucky this time, I somehow doubt it. I think Fred Done, The Bonus King, will be giving very short odds on Mrs Pike. If this is the case, it will confirm that a clique within the College is running the place for the benefit of the few, not the many. When faced with hard decisions, Bede’s invariably prevaricate or make the wrong one. I’d be pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. History would dictate otherwise.

    Finally – no doubt you will be personally cited by others as at least one of the reasons for the defenestration of Mr Kearney. I don’t think, however, I could stomach another one of those self-serving missives from him, along the lines of the one he penned for The Tablet earlier this year. As Clint Eastwood once famously said ‘A good man knows his limitations’. Mr Kearney can now confirm that statement holds true.

  4. You are self-aggrandising and you cruelly put others down: that is an awful combination.

    So, Mr Kearney left ingloriously. Does that mean that you are right in all that you say about St Bede’s? Absolutely not. Still, even a stopped clock…

    To mock somebody’s appearance in an apparently serious blog post is insulting, unnecessarily personal and pathetically schoolboy.

    I knew that you were a poisonous individual because of your campaign against St Bede’s. However, it turns out that you are just as spiteful and malevolent towards people too.

    How very disappointing.

  5. To James J

    You are now beyond a joke.

    Still anonymous, still full of crap. Still no mention of the fact that Paul M was right, you were wrong, not on just one point, but on so many it would fill the page. Go back to your naive world where everything is swimmingly wonderful at the dysfunctional establishment of learning that is St Bede’s, where Safeguarding of students was a concern as recently as late last year, according to the ISI report.

    Admit you were 100% wrong. You’ll feel all the better for it, the current disaster facing Bede’s is clearly beyond your comprehension. Don’t bother scoring points, your game is irretrievably lost. The day anyone will take you seriously is when you stop being anonymous and, as importantly, admit your appalling errors of judgement regarding the Alma Mater.

    Care to bet on the traitorous Mrs Pike not becoming the new head? Thought not. She may be being set up for a fall here, but then I’ve not much sympathy for her. She certainly won’t be able to play the loyalty card if she gets the job, being an ace backstabber herself. More importantly let’s see, if unlike the previous appointment of a new head, an honest and open selection process is undertaken.

    Also any sympathy for Kearney? You’re havin’ a laff!

    P. S. I’ve personally no idea what Mrs Pike looks like, whether she resembles Sharon Stone or ‘Doris’ Karloff (aka Anne Widdecombe), quite frankly I don’t care. If Paul M was being a bit sarcastic here, don’t let it worry you. However, be worried if her meteoric rise to fame was based solely on the fact she was one of Kearney’s co-conspirators in the removal of the previous headmaster. If it were, then the School Governors should be the ones doing the worrying.

  6. James Jerky

    As a very old Bedian, 1950 in fact, and reading the shit you have been writing for far too long without revealing to PM who you are, I presume you’ve never been inside the gates of the frigging hell hole.

    Time to front up or get on your bike and Fxxx Off once and for all.

    How on earth to you manage to type your drivel with one hand whilst the other hand plays constantly with yourself?

  7. To Ken Horne

    I fancy a visit to the trick cyclist may be in order for James J, he certainly is suffering from severe delusions as regards Bede’s.

    Anonymous he needs to remain, at least us fellow axe-grinders do not hide behind a Cloak of Invisibility. I rather fancy if his true identity were known, his motives would then be made rather obvious. when people defend the indefensible, it’s more often than not because they are in some way linked to the item under discussion. Perhaps he’s a relative of the treacherous back-stabber Sandra Pike. Clearly he knows her, as Paul M’s mention of her appearance, maybe an attempt at both irony and sarcasm, clearly hit a raw nerve?

    P.S. Next time you feel like having a go at James J, tell us what you really think. On second thoughts, no, you covered all the bases, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  8. Oh shut up you dull, dull keyboard warriors. You clearly know little about St Bede’s in the present-day. I do. Doubt me if you like, but I do.

    Back to the anonymity again. Just read what Paul M writes about people who disagree with him and with whom he disagrees. He criticises what they do, how they act, their views, their integrity, their appearance, their family and their honour.

    And I sincerely believe that that’s bad enough. However, it is done in such a callous, uncaring and deliberately cruel and hurtful manner, that it leaves an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. Am I honestly alone in thinking this? Is it really called for to mock and ridicule the appearance of a teacher in a blog which likes to think it addresses serious issues? Does it not strike people as, at best insulting, and at worst extremely defamatory, to imply that John Byrne and John Moynihan were somehow complicit in, or at least knowledgeable of, Green’s actions?

    Perhaps I genuinely am on my own on this one – and I say that sincerely. I am slightly baffled that my issue with this blog has caused so much consternation. Paul Taylor: if you have never met Mrs Pike, how can you so confidently call her traitorous. In what way is she traitorous? I have heard no evidence whatsoever to suggest that she is traitorous. Being made Deputy Head by Dan Kearney is no evidence whatsoever.

    When you write about the abuse of the 1950s and 60s, you seem to have a genuine spirit of positivity and purpose. However, when reflecting on matters more modern, less grave and, frankly, more alien to you, you lapse into these poisonous, acerbic and unsavory personal attacks.

    That is my issue and I am right about it. When one loses objectivity and “slags” those off with whom they disagree, they lose credibility. It is just petty and immature.

    Addressing the ever-Partisan and reliably long-winded Paul Taylor, and the other acolytes: Yes, I’m sure that Mr Malpas is right about many things. I agree with him on his primary cause: the abuse of pupils in the 1950s and 60s was an evil for which the victims deserve sympathy and the perpetrators vilification. It is disgusting.

    He’s wrong on so many counts though. He thoroughly misunderstands the modern school. He does a great disservice to it as an academic establishment. He attacks people whose intentions are good and right.

    No, I don’t feel that he has proved me wrong etc. The headmaster left. That is all. Yes, it’s far from ideal and Dan Kearney was obviously far from ideal. However, facts gentlemen are what I deal in. When you read his propaganda carefully, there are few facts, there is no balance and there are errors and mistakes.

    Unfortunately, Mr Malpas does nothing about this. He is as one-sided and unfair as ever.

    I genuinely have considered contacting you personally to give you my full name and opinion. But why would I? You’d only reveal private information and attack me personally. Why would I want that? I have been given no assurances, at all, that Paul Malpas or his readers are trustworthy enough to address in a spirit of openness.

    Are there worthy aspects to this blog? Yes. However, it is too subjective and openly man-spirited in its approach to be really worthy.

    Apologies for the very long-winded reply.

    1. Facts are what you deal in but I see so very, very few facts in your writings, just general contempt for what I say. You dismiss Kearney’s exeunt as “that is all” after supporting him for the last year and you do not mention Quinlan’s dismissal which I think is an even bigger event or the turn around in staff over the last few years which surely tells a story.
      You sir are the wind bag.

  9. Jerking Jimmy

    I realise that without the Mr Malpas Blog for you to rabbit on, you wouldn’t have a life worth living.

    Obviously getting a ‘Day Release’ is easier then I thought possible.

  10. To James J

    When you’ve something constructive to say and also admit when you’re wrong, we’ll think better of you for it. Verbosity is also a problem with many of your own postings, glass houses and stones dear boy. The big difference between mine and yours is I address the problems as the evidence presents itself, you waffle on about sweet F. A. when the evidence staring you in the face is something you completely ignore.

    The college is in deep shit, any realist can see this, it would be trsing at a loss were it not for the part-time City boys and Sheik Mansour’s handouts (fact). A college with a previous student population of 1000 plus not long ago has now, according to ISI, not me, less than 700 on the books. Fact. Maybe your definition of success, certainly not mine.

    Kearney defenestrated Barber three years ago with the help of a number of staff, most of whom were duly promoted as a reward. Fact. The post of headmaster was never advertised in 2011 – fact. Kearney was the Chosen one, chosen by none other than himself and his backstabbing co-conspirators. Fact. Now he has been hoisted by his own petard, or was he pushed? This being the secretive Bede’s, we’ll probably never know. So that one isn’t a fact.

    That alone leaves a nasty smell. What leaves a complete stench is that after many years of pederasts operating freely at the College, on and off for 50 years, the ISI (not me, note) reports the College still has issues regarding the Safeguarding of students. Fact.

    Let’s not bother about the revolving door of governors, the departure of Quinlan, the re-emergence of two senior ex-staff on the scene, who were (or rather weren’t) on watch when Billy Green was doing his abusing (again fact), or the High Court Case, when everything is just rosy in the garden.

    St Bede’s College should collectively hang its head in shame, together with yourself for defending such a dreadful state of affairs.

    That’s enough facts from me, clearly you’re the one with the problem here, not me, none of those things stated above is guesswork.

    Unless you have something constructive to say, a period of silence would be deemed mandatory in your case.

    To Paul M

    Marked down on your Latin, sir. Since DK is a single entity, his departure should be exeat, not exeunt (this is plural). Remember thy verb conjugations. I’m surprised the anonymous JJ didn’t pick you on it. However, I can find no fault with the rest of your comments.

    To Brian Lefley

    At least Dad’s Army was funny. Jinky Jimmy is already way beyond a joke

    1. I am terribly sorry, it is 50 years since I conjugated a Latin verb and even then I was not that good at it. Apologies also to the dour Ron Smith and the horrible Dodgeon, I did more talking those days than listening.

  11. To all:-

    Apologies for two errors:-

    1st line, 2nd para should be trading.

    Also it should be, to be grammatically correct, fewer than, not less than, 700 students.

  12. To Paul M

    Under Tom Heslop for Latin for two years, I was always in the top 5, and even got a prize (my only one in 7 years) for Latin in the 3rd year (1966/67, U4SC).

    However, a combination of utter boredom by myself and perceived hostility towards me by Ron Smith, in around the start of year 4 (remember elision? – I try to forget it, with much success) led to my downfall in the subject.

    For some reason beyond me, Robot Ron (his nickname, everything learned by rote) took an instant dislike to me when he took us for Latin in the 4th & 5th years. I can honestly say he was the only teacher to do so in 7 years at the Alma Mater. I lost all interest in the subject and limped across the finishing line with a Grade 5 ‘O’ level, a borderline pass. Mind you, I wasn’t training to be a priest, so I wasn’t too worried.

    In the 6th form, this hostility led to Ron trying to get me in serious trouble when some idiot took offence to me handing out lines (yes, believe it or not, I actually was a Prefect). Said ruckus had me in front of Ego, where I explained my actions to his satisfaction. No further action was taken against me.

    Also my old 6th Form master, Mike McDermott, questioned Ron about this when the man himself mentioned the incident in the staffroom. Mike told me he just laughed at Ron, saying he knew me far better than Ron and clearly he’d gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick, which he had.

    Later I thanked Ron profusely in person for trying to get me in the shit, pointed out it hadn’t worked, also saying there was a time and place for retribution, but not till after A levels.

    Needless to say, I thought the better of this, I now thank Ron for teaching me the Latin he did. However, he was, and always be to me and many others, forever – Robot Ron.

    A boring man, teaching a boring subject. Clearly his subject matter got to him in the end.

  13. Were they promoted as a reward? Evidence?

    Trying to paint the Manchester City link as a weakness is farcical. Any other independent school would give anything to have them.

    Yes, numbers are down. That’s fairly predictable. Go and have a look at the numbers for other independent schools in the area. Or, go and have a look at the examination results for the much lauded Cheadle Hulme, which chases bums on seats. These are troubled times at other places too.

    I have issues with the ignorance on this blog. However, I have more issues with the rudeness.

    Simply calling it a fact doesn’t make it a fact. Just because Paul Malpas says it’s true doesn’t make it true.

    There are very few original thoughts on this blog.

    You are old men, years and Mike’s removed from the school who have let your, understandable, agenda obscure your objectivity.

  14. I do feel that there is a genuine moral vacuum among the posters on this board.

    I think the name-calling, above all, exemplifies it.

  15. At last, Jinky Jimmy admits to a mistake. Rather like the Pope, people had begun to have the impression he was infallible.

    At least I’m consistent in admitting to my mistakes. The singular of exeunt in Latin is exit, not exeat. Fail. No wonder I only got a Grade 5.

    I certainly hope he’s never allowed to sit on a jury, his total inability to draw conclusions from the evidence and actions of people is naive in the extreme.

    Let’s look at the evidence of what has happened at Bede’s.

    Let’s cut to the chase here. Bede’s is an institution which for nigh on 50 years housed at least two, and after the High Court case next year will reveal, at least another two, pederasts who operated with complete and total impunity.

    The ISI, in their report of last year, cited serious misgivings re Safeguarding of the pupils. In view of the above statement, I find this unforgivable. Any right minded person would too. I repeat, Bede’s should hang its head in shame and urgently do something about it.

    Taking on part-time students is no way to enhance the academic reputation of the College, it merely lowers the already relatively low academic standing which the College already has, when compared to its contemporaries. Students go to college to be educated, not spend half their time playing sport. Any parent looking for school with a good academic reputation is going to cross Bede’s off their list. These part-timers are there for one reason only – the money they generate, which the College so desperately needs to keep afloat. When even teachers at the College don’t send their own children there, that tells you all you need to know.

    The removal by putsch of Mr Barber by Kearney et al, only for the leader to become Head and the co-conspirators to be rewarded with promotions (for the list, see Mr Malpas) should surely indicate something at the College is sadly amiss.

    The demise of Mr Kearney, more than likely to be replaced by another co-conspirator in the summer, again should be ringing alarm bells. Let’s hope, unlike the last time (nobody can find any evidence that position was ever advertised), there is some semblance of an open and above board selection process. By hanging on until now, Kearney has made it extremely difficult for Bede’s to locate and appoint a Head from outside the College by September of this year. This may, or may not, have been done with an ulterior motive.

    Bede’s has managed, with the help of Pannone (under the guise of Slater & Walker), been able to pay enough hush money i.e. settle out-of-court, with two of the 1955 intake victims of abuse. It would appear the terms of the settlement are to be kept secret, just the way Bede’s likes things to be. Sadly for them, many more ex-Bedians will shortly appear on the horizon with a much tougher bunch of lawyers to represent them in London. These ones will not be bought off as cheaply. The stalling by Bede’s lawyers regarding this case is evidence of their worry as to the outcome.

    To summarise, Bede’s is in deep shit, being kept financially afloat with Sheik Mansour’s money. The abuse case has hung over the College like a bad smell for nigh on four years now, the options are to go to court and endure ruinous publicity, or more likely, dig out the cheque book, write some large cheques and hope it will all go away. The College also has a severe problem recruiting new students, this is obvious by the fall in roll call from 1000 plus to under 700 currently.

    Yes, James, you may certainly detect a moral vacuum here. However, I rather fancy you’re pointing in the wrong direction – you should be looking in the right place – I hereby direct you to Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range. You’ll find plenty of examples of complete lack of morality and honesty there. But then again, with your total inability to acknowledge the obvious, maybe not.

    1. I think you have more or less summed up the situation re Bede’s. We await the new appointment round the end of June to see in what direction the old school is heading. I would not like to be a governor.

  16. To all:

    Therein lies the problem with Bede’s. Anyone criticising the place, even when completely justified and factually correct to do so, is either lied to or subjected to obfuscation bordering on lying. Or greeted with silence. Or threatened with legal action.

    Clearly to survive the new Head needs to be a ‘Yes’ man or woman, who will not question the various machinations which have occurred in the last 3 to 4 years. Who would want to run such a dysfunctional outfit, with warring factions within the walls, backstabbers in abundance and an overweening influence of the Diocese of Salford casting a dark shadow over everything?

    Rather like Nero, it would be best to take up the fiddle and await the outcome of the next 1 – 2 years. As a business, if Bede’s were listed on the Stock Market, there would currently be no rush to buy shares.

    Let’s all remember this. Bede’s is first and foremost a business, currently being kept solvent by Sheik Mansour’s benevolence. It can’t currently attract enough new students from natural sources to replace those leaving. Any prospective head coming from outside will do his or her groundwork and conclude Bede’s is not an attractive prospect, indeed it may be a risky one, career-wise.

    This will severely limit the calibre of people wishing to apply, the time-frame of recruiting alone will further reduce the number of applicants. No, this position will only attract someone from within, with ideas above their level of competence, or someone who is completely ignorant of what has been going on at the Alma Mater over the last few years. Or a foolhardy idiot, with delusions of grandeur regarding their abilities.

    Yes, just Google and type in St Bede’s Manchester, and see what comes up. I don’t think you’d be too surprised to see an ex-Bedian featuring prominently in the list, followed by accusations of abuse, icluding one from the BBC. On second thoughts, try Wikipedia, oh dear, again the abuse is mentioned again there. This is almost certainly what parents of prospective students do, the results of this are there for all to see. Steer well clear, MGS, Altrincham Grammar, Bolton School anyone?

    As an attractive position and career move, becoming head of a seriously flawed institution, which clearly fails to recognise its faults – the ISI’s highlighting of Safeguarding problems should surely send alarms bells ringing to even those almost completely deaf – I think the logical conclusion to be drawn is one word – pass.

    All will be revealed soon. Be prepared to be underwhelmed. Come back Byrne, all is forgiven. Hold on a minute, wasn’t he in charge when Rev Billy Green was kiddie-fiddling? Not such a good idea, then.

    P. S. To be a Governor at the Alma Mater, you need to be totally unquestioning as to the College’s ethos. No wonder then, we’re back where we started, we’ve come full circle…..

  17. To all, especially Jinky Jimmy

    A bit of realism injected here – remember, first and foremost, St Bede’s College is a business. Ignore this at your peril.

    As regards falling student numbers, it would be interesting to see how many other fee paying schools in the area have suffered a 30% plus fall in students. I’d suspect that if any others had, they’d have gone under. This might possibly explain why a number of schools in the area (at least two to my knowledge, William Hulme Grammar, near Bede’s and another, North Cestrian) have formerly gone back into the public sector and latterly about to do so.

    Without Sheik Mansour’s funding, unless massive savings were made to Bede’s costs I repeat, as a business, it would be unsustainable. Since I, like Paul M, have run a business myself for more years than I care to remember, at least I’m qualified to know what I’m talking about. I’ve not gone the way of 75% of businesses who set up and fail within 5 years.

    I’d suggest at least in this sphere, Jinky Jimmy, unless you’re prepared to reveal your particular expertise in running a business, keep quiet as regards business acumen. From your postings at least, it would appear you have none, instead you try to justify yourself by mentioning other schools who are failing in the Bedian way or, in your opinion, buying students. Rather like Bede’s who also offer massive discounts to certain students, eh?

    A little trip off to Companies House as regards Bede’s might be in order here to confirm the actual rate of decline of the Alma Mater. My business has suffered under the recession, I had to lay off several people, now after 3 – 4 tricky years, I’m back in profit, albeit with a reduced turnover. I was able to reduce staff numbers, some were made redundant and some left of their own accord and weren’t replaced.

    This wholesale reduction in staff I personally oversaw isn’t an option for Bede’s. It has massive fixed overheads (I’d suspect the staff wages would be considerably over 50% of total costs), so it has a fairly limited scope as to what it can do.

    It’s a very competitive field out there, someone who is a web designer previously commented on the rather amateurish web-site that Bede’s post, especially when it’s compared to its rivals. That and several other negative issues regarding the school cannot have helped, also the ISI sticking the boot in with last November’s report regarding certain issues was about as welcome as a fart in a lift.

    Bede’s is in the race and is falling behind, no amount of waffle or self-justifying piffle will disguise this. Over the past few years especially, something has gone seriously wrong there, it will need nothing short of a miracle to turn it round.

    I suggest the people currently there are incapable of rectifying the problems, they’ve had 4 years plus to sort it out and have singularly failed. For how much longer Sheik Mansour’s generosity will continue, we do not know.

    Perhaps his representative on the Board of Governors might be the one to get things moving – the rest of the bunch of dog collar wearers and Old Bedian re-treads haven’t exactly been successful, have they? That’s if you can keep up to date with exactly who they are, following recent mass resignations…..

    P. S. I don’t apologise for being old. I do object to being told I don’t know what I’m talking about because I happen to be older than someone. The person who thinks that is a bigger idiot than I could ever wish to aspire to.

  18. It is usually constructive to invite onto any Board (whether a Board of Directors of a company, or any other kind of Board) at least one person doesn’t go in for groupthink and who will rock the boat. It rarely happens, as such people are usually perceived as (and sometimes are) a pain in the arse, but getting people out of their comfort zone is generally a good thing.

    St. Bede’s could do worse than invite Paul M onto the Board. (It would also, as a side effect, mute his criticisms of the school, as he would become jointly responsible for any future screw ups.)

  19. To Linda:

    A thoughtful idea, reasoned logic, I can’t fault it. However, we’re talking Bede’s here, so logic holds no sway, I’m afraid. Perhaps Sheik Mansour’s man might bring some sensible thinking to the table here. Here’s my thoughts on the matter.

    I would reason he’s in this position on the Board of Governors almost certainly because he’s good at his job, but he may have been parachuted into this position in order solely to help safeguard the Sheik’s interests. Let’s face it, by some long distance the Sheik is the biggest single contributor to the Alma Mater’s coffers and it’s only right that some measure of accountability towards him should be offered. If this were a listed company, he’d effectively be a major shareholder.

    The one problem might be a conflict of interest between what’s best for the College academically and what’s best for the apprentices. It will be interesting to see what happens in the long term to those apprentices who fail to make the grade in football, which is a large percentage, also whether or not they’re fired out at 16, or even 18, or encouraged to take on some sort of further academic study.

    Since I’m led to believe the scheme has only been going for about 3 years or so (I may stand corrected on the actual date it started), it’s probably too soon to tell. Knowing Bede’s, if it’s the case and they are fired out without further recourse, we won’t hear about it, that’s the way Bede’s invariably operates. If, on the other hand, they go on to further academic high level study, I can hear the clarion call of the trumpets practising for the announcement of the fact in the MEN.

    No Linda, I don’t think Paul would be interested, there are too many people at Bede’s who lack any sort of sense of realism, he’d be fighting a losing battle. Also the ISI report highlighted a failure of both Safeguarding and Governance, the recent rapid turnover of Governors of the Board can be interpreted several ways, the main two being getting rid of the incompetents, the second being the competents jumping ship before the collision.

    I’ve no opinion one way or the other than that, I know very little about the replacements, but see below, I’ve a problem from whence they come. The one definite conclusion that can be drawn from it must be all is not well at the Board of Governors.

    No, a candidate for the Board should be someone of a similar mindset to yourself, I daresay, someone who is logical, thoughtful, assembles all, not part, of the evidence and makes a reasoned decision based on that evidence is what is needed at Bede’s. In that case, I’d argue dog-collar wearers with little or no experience of either Educational Establishments or business and, as importantly, ex-members of staff tainted with not being on watch when repeated historic abuse took place should be excluded.

    There should be several parents’ representatives on the Board (after all, they pay most of the bills), at least one person with experience at senior level of Education Management and someone with some business acumen. I’d argue Sheik Mansour’s man fits the bill for the latter position. The current packing of the Board with dog collars and ex-members of staff merely ensures the likelihood of the same mistakes being repeated over and over again.

    As for the future, in view of my exclusion clause stated above, Bede’s needs to look for a whole new raft of Governors. As for a new Headmaster, well, let’s not go there for now….

  20. What if the Sheik buys the place – lock stock and barrel and turns it into an Islamic Foundation school or something? Any takers? 50 million or so – chickenfeed!

  21. I’m not 100% sure but isn’t the Sheik building a college in East Manchester for City’s youngsters and local youths.

  22. The problem I see Bede’s facing is that of its values and cultural history catching up with it. Much as I would hate to see such a beautiful collection of buildings revert to being a municipal aquarium I suspect that will happen if multiple fingers are not pulled forthwith.

    Losing the sort of self-protective inwardly focused Board that went with the panic over the AO Advocates court proceedings may well be a blessing in disguise.

    The new Board needs to be businesslike in the sense that it has in its midst people who have a track record of reclaiming businesses that looked to have been out on their feet. (They are the sort of people who can finish a Hollywood film after the main star has died during filming and they appear to have a dog on their hands but then turn it into a hit).

    These types are not what the former ‘seminary reporting only to the Bishop behind closed doors re Canon Law’ model would ever produce. The College now needs an enlightened balance of real world people that can repackage the place through their understanding of what this has all looked like from the outside -not the diseased inside.

    It’s not a question of placing a single gadfly on the Board but one of structuring a Board that has open-minded people on it e.g. commercial lawyers who have worked in high profile modern businesses, accountants who have been in the higher reaches of the civil/municipal service, previous military men and women who have become recognized community leaders. (Christians all, but Catholics not necessarily).

    If there needs to be one “off to the side” viewpoint let it be that of a highly educated religious who has lived in the real world and maybe earned his/her living there.

    The footballing link should be phased out ASAP (provided that does not cripple immediate cashflow). A wide diversity of outward-looking excellence is needed; not tawdry money-driven gimmicks.

    1. David,
      Two of the main jackers last year are now back on the board, two teachers who defy your sound argument. What we have now is 13 governors, from memory four clerics, five teachers, one Human Resources/Public Relations, one accountant, one lawyer and one very stupid woman, none of which inspire confidence and all of which seem to me to be “self-protective and inwardly focussed”. You would certainly raise the level of talent by getting shut of at least nine of them immediately.
      It strikes me that the bishop is playing a game that was alright 50 years ago but the rules have changed. You have to be smooth and slick and play the ball with either foot to succeed these days.

  23. To Mike Lomax:

    Yes, Mike, you’re 100% correct, according to Monday night’s MEN, the new City Academy, located near to the Etihad, is due to open shortly after over 18 months of construction work. The fact it took so long to build should indicate its substantial size. It boasts accommodation and classrooms, in addition to the usual sporting facilities.

    This then begs the question, with all these facilities, would it not be easier to bring teachers to the Academy, rather than send them miles away to Bede’s? Just a thought.

    To Dave Smith:

    Good posting, I agree with what you’re saying, my previous posting concurs with several of the points you’ve raised. However, As Paul M has pointed out, the current, much-changed Board of Governors has at least three clerics too many, also I’m not sure who the two ‘main jackers’ are to whom he refers, the one idiot woman I already know about. Of the rest (teachers and lawyers etc.), the only one I know about is Sheik Mansour’s representative.

    What about representatives from the parents of the students? Unfortunately, the only one I know about on the Board was last heard threatening legal action against Paul M, perhaps they could replace her with someone of more sound mind, that would be a good start.

    As for the rest, are the 5 teachers all current staff? Is it usual for a school Board of Governors to comprise such a high percentage of teachers? Business acumen, with the exception of Sheik Mansour’s representative, seems currently alarmingly thin on the ground in the Boardroom.

    There clearly needs to be yet another re-jigging and clear-out to give the Board more of a balanced look. I’d argue anyone who was on watch during either the days of Tommy Duggan or Bill Green should be automatically excluded from the Board. That would be a step in the right direction.

    Also, in order to inflict no more damage to the College’s already shredded reputation, their lawyers should at least attempt to sit down with AO Advocates and try to make a reasonable settlement, in order to avoid the High Court next year, and yet more bad publicity. It may not come cheap, but I suspect it may be worth it in the long run.

    These, and those of Dave and Paul M, are constructive suggestions. Sadly, we’re talking Bede’s, where it would appear they haven’t realised yet that we’re in the 21st Century. I can’t see people of sufficient calibre rushing to join the current Bede’s Baord of Governors to improve matters. More importanly, it’s extremely unlikely Bede’s would know where to find them.

    Still, you never know….

    1. There was some agenda sorted out last year where Bede’s teachers were to travel to a city establishment to teach. I have heard nothing more since.
      The two main jackers last year were Byrne and Moynihan, both re-installed. None of the teachers are present staff but the two mentioned above were there for years. Des Coffey the Man City man was a retired primary school head, the other two I don’t know, might be parents.

  24. To Paul

    Whatever happened to Byrne being worried about being sued re the abuse? Isn’t that why he resigned in the first place? Mind you, he and Flash would already be excluded by my criteria above, Flash came some time around 1966 if memory serves me correctly (just as Duggan left). I’ve no idea when Byrne came, but he was Top Jolly at least some of the Billy Boy was up to his antics, and the same goes for Flash.

    So here are two that need to go, besides that Flash must approaching 70, or may be older, does he need this sort of crap in his twilight years? I haven’t a clue what Byrne’s motives are, perhaps he’s trading on his alleged past glories. But tainted they are, they should go asap. The new broom needs to sweep clean, not get blocked-up with worn -out retreads who’ve clearly had their day.

  25. To Paul M

    Re Mr Byrne

    Perhaps he’s the one who thinks he can turn it around, but like I’ve said before, it’s almost never a good idea to go back to somewhere you once worked. Personal experience dictates it’s not a good idea, he could argue, with the exception of the abuse case problem (also possibly falling school roll numbers as well?) that he left it in better shape than when he arrived.

    I know how old Flash is, give or take a few years, I don’t know much about the history of Byrne, from whence he came, whether he was parachuted in as Head or worked up the ranks, his career history before and during his time at Bede’s, also I’ve no idea how old he is, whether or not he decided to leave at or near his retirement age.

    One thing I don’t understand is the change of mind in under 12 months, from being advised by a legal source to leave, then to jump right back from the frying pan (which was cooling down) back into the fire.

    Very strange.

    1. Certainly Byrne turned the school around but to my mind he was just a playactor, he brought in girls but from what my daughters told me, they still felt a sub-species. If you could play football well, you were great. He was not an all round guy. As far as I remember he came from a school down country and must have been 35-40 when appointed, which puts him in the 65-70 age bracket now, which makes him no good for nothing now, the same as myself. Flash is in his early 70s. They both retired together, I think just prior to Green coming to trial.
      Their change of minds is strange but it does show how nervous the governors were then. Weak men should never run anything, especially an institution failing as quick as Bede’s was.
      And you never know, these men struck me as being prima donnas, they might just have had a spat and chucked their dummys out of the pram only to be persuaded back with enticements.

  26. To Paul M

    Someone of the same mindset as that of Dave Smith would be ideal. Here is someone who sets out where Bede’s has gone wrong and, more importantly, pointed out where it continues to go wrong, making constructive suggestions at to how to improve matters.

    Evidence of competence shown by the Board of Directors has been sadly lacking, wholesale changes were supposed to have helped, then all of a sudden people who resigned for ‘legal reasons’ are back in the frame. Confusing to say the least, I’d argue it makes no logical sense. Headless chickens rule the roost.

    The make-up of the Board is all wrong, the over-arching influence of the Diocese of Salford is there for all to see, perfectly illustrated by four of thirteen Governors being of the dog-collar variety. I can’t see for the life of me what they bring to the table, they’re not business-savvy or even education experts, they seem to be there merely to assuage the Church. That’s not a good enough reason for them to be sitting on the Board.

    Until Bede’s starts adopting a more reasoned and professional approach, settles the abuse cases out of court and starts acting in a more business-like manner, they’re doomed to failure.

    If Byrne and Moynihan are the answers to the problem, someone’s been asking the wrong questions. They’re Bede’s history, a living example of people who were on watch when abuse took place under Billy Green. No, they should move aside for someone who is not inculcated with the old Bedian ethos of secrecy, ability to ignore unpleasantness and also to be more than economical with the actualite, as was once famously said, when someone was telling porkies.

    The omens currently do not look good….

  27. Thanks you for the kind comments Paul x 2.

    The genesis of my previous comments was the advanced management research done in the US and UK that demonstrated that the best way to ruin a business was to have a board made up of only the professional specialists in that industry. Boards stacked with top (“I am right so you must be wrong) nuclear physicists, the best and the brightest, have bankrupted several nuclear power plants!

    Teams are built on diverse but interlocking groups that can see the wood for the trees. They are happy to see things work in practice even though they may not ‘work’ in theory.

    I am based in New Zealand but have great love for my old school and grieve for what it is going through – or more accurately putting itself through. In the 1980s NZ went through an amazing experiment (ongoing) wherein all school boards from primary through to secondary are a mixture of annually elected parents and teachers form the school plus the odd student. Only the principal is on his/her Board ex officio.

    The Catholic schools were integrated into the state system in the 1970s and are allowed to practice their “special character” but still be state-funded. They must run proper elections supervised by the local Courts. There are no state education admin folk on these boards.

    Bede’s is not only unelected but church-dominated a la the nuclear physicists. The legitimate interests of the Diocese cannot be denied but it will have a better functioning board if the religious influence were on tap rather than on top.

  28. I was wrong to say elections are annual they are triennial.

    I would add that

    (a) the Boards’ proceedings are subject to the freedom of information laws; and
    (b) while one might expect to struggle with finding good Board people on the open market a grammar school with 750 pupils should have some widely talented parents to call upon.

    I recall that in the 7 years I was at Bede’s my parents set foot in the College to talk to a teacher only once i.e. when I was about to leave the place in early 1964 to come to NZ.

  29. Yes Smiffy! I remember the only time my mum and dad came to the Coll was when they opened the Beck Building. Tea and Buns all round!! I couldn’t take the phoniness of it and nipped off home.Got quite a bollocking from Tony Lawton next day.Mum-a good Irish katlick-used to go to Speech Day at the Free Trade Hall.I suspect she was awed by Duggan and guest bishops in their Father Xmas gear.

  30. Ah, The Good Old Days, Speech Days at the Free Trade Hall. A long, almost forgotten memory, denied the Johnny-come-lately’s from September 1966 onwards.

    The last one of those was held in summer 1966, to ‘celebrate’ the retirement of none other than Tommy Duggan (I’d actually forgotten that bit, till someone quoted an article in the Baeda magazine of winter ’66 mentioning the fact) – this proves my memory isn’t quite as good as I thought.

    Myself being in the 2nd Year then, we have the somewhat dubious honour of singing one of Frosty’s compositions (is this true?), ‘Waken Lords and Ladies Gay’, which didn’t have the same connotations back then as it would now.

    The following year, 1967, TD had left, the ‘Speech Day’ equivalent was held in the Main Hall at the College, I remember going up on stage to collect my Latin prize for that year. There were no parents present, only students, which, with around 600 or so of the students, filled the school hall.

    Why these Speech Days at the FTH were dispensed with, I’ve no idea. This was the location where, only a few weeks previously, a certain Bob Dylan has appeared on stage in concert. When he picked up an electric guitar, getting ready to play it, someone in the audience shouted ‘Judas!’.

    Yes, things were much simpler in those days. As to the statement they were necessarily better, I couldn’t possibly comment….

  31. To Dave Smith:

    Yes, credit where it’s due, no sensible person (so let’s leave Jinky Jimmy out for a start, shall we) could argue with the logic of what you say. Once you clear out the re-tread old ex-Bedian teachers and at least three out of four of the dog collars, that would only leave a maximum of eight on the Board. Let’s not pretend that Sheik Mansour’s eyes and ears on this august body is doing anything other than reporting back to his Master on a regular and detailed basis.

    The current revolving-door type change of personnel will not have gone unnoticed at the Etihad HQ either, progress will only be made when people with professional ability and business acumen, together with a couple of outsiders with educational knowledge, are appointed to the Board to replace the ineffective dead-legs currently occupying the positions of influence.

    Bede’s may be many things. One thing it does not appear to be is professionally run. This isn’t only my opinion, the ISI thought the Governance of the College wasn’t up to much. And and for Safeguarding……

  32. To all:

    On checking the Bede’s web-site, the advert for Head Teacher stipulates the candidate for the post shall be a practising Catholic. I’d be surprised if that didn’t break the rules regarding Equal Opportunities on grounds of religious bias.

    Furthermore, it probably rules out a good 95% plus of possible applicants. I don’t see the Head has to be a Catholic – a Christian maybe, but since it’s not stipulated that a prospective student has to even be a Catholic, let alone a practising one, merely ‘of the Christian faith’, whatever that’s supposed to mean, the advert seems to be unnecessarily restrictive.

    Yes, the fingerprints of the Diocese of Salford are all over this one. We should think ourselves lucky the advert wasn’t in Latin. What next? Only left-handers need apply, as well as only left-footers?

    You can’t accuse the Board here of exactly throwing the net far and wide to get a top notch candidate. The stipulation of practising Catholics only will ensure there won’t be exactly a flood of suitable applicants.

    Any Employment lawyer got a view on this one? We certainly have a few barrack-room ones who may support Bede’s in this. Here we go again, putting Religion before the educational needs of the College, condemned to repeating the same and similar mistakes again.

    Even if the advert is legal, it shows a very strange way to determine if someone is suitable for the post – the first pre-requisite for the job is that you go to Church on Sundays. This proves once again that Bede’s management is not fit for purpose and is merely creating problems for itself by allowing Religion to trump educational requirements time and time again.

    1. I am not an employment lawyer but the school must be sailing fairly close to the wind on this. Under the Equal Status Acts of 2000-2004, which is allied to the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004, the legislation prohibits discrimination in employment including the employment of teachers.
      Religion is one of the nine grounds on which discrimination is prohibited.
      A school must not publish, display (or cause to be published or displayed) an advertisement which indicates an intention to discriminate, harrass os sexually harrass or which might reasonably be understood as indicating such intention.
      Certainly to have this discrimination in your first line can only mean one thing. “Come on in Mrs Pike, the job is yours”

  33. To Paul M:

    I checked up on the Internet, one of the articles that came up when I typed in ‘Appointment of Headteachers to Catholic Schools’ mentioned the Catholic Diocesan Guidelines, which stated the Head Teacher, and also the Religion Teacher, must be practising Roman Catholics to be even considered for the respective posts.

    This is a bit like when, for years, the manager of Glasgow Rangers had to be a Prod to be considered for the job, likewise the players. Pity, then, that probably the most successful manager ever in Scottish Football, Jock Stein, himself a Protestant, managed the Catholic equivalent in Glasgow, Celtic. The captain of the team for many years was Danny McGrain, also a Protestant.

    It would appear that a so-called ‘Catholic’ football club weren’t as strict at recruiting Catholics only, to the same extent as Rangers were with Protestants. Sadly, the same can’t be said for potential Headmasters at Bede’s.

    This doesn’t make any logical sense when currently it isn’t even a requirement to be a Catholic, merely ‘of the Christian Faith’ to be allowed to attend Bede’s. Yes, the fingerprints of the Diocese of Salford are definitely all over this one.

    This narrow definition of suitability for the post may be logical to the Board of Governors, it doesn’t seem logical to me or you when it results in the exclusion of a large number of potential candidates. Bede’s is a school for Heaven’s sake, not a seminary.

    No-one reading the job description can be in any doubt of this, it’s one of the first stipulations for a suitable candidate.

    All I can say is to Sandra Pike:-

    Congratulations, but the selection was rigged in your favour from the first moment.

  34. It’s illegal. I have just had a look at the Equality Act 2010.

    I can’t find anything there that makes an exception for this sort of situation (though it is conceivable that I might have overlooked some obscure clause somewhere – it’s a long piece of legislation).

  35. (I am training to be a lawyer, but employment law is not an area have studied or wish to practice in).

    I looked through a few pieces of legislation and found this:

    If the school is a voluntary aided school—
    (a)preference may be given, in connection with the appointment, remuneration or promotion of teachers at the school, to persons—
    (i)whose religious opinions are in accordance with the tenets of the religion or religious denomination specified in relation to the school under section 69(4), or
    (ii)who attend religious worship in accordance with those tenets, or
    (iii)who give, or are willing to give, religious education at the school in accordance with those tenets;

    This is s60(5) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (s60 is entitled ‘Staff at foundation or voluntary school with religious character.’). While this is talking about voluntary aided schools, I’m sure there will be similar provisions for private establishments (as long as their (supposed) primary aim is not as a business).

    Faith schools are an established part of the education system so it would be surprising if there weren’t exceptions made to the various pieces of equal rights legislation (e.g. the Equalities Act 2010).

    So while it may not be the wisest course of action, there shouldn’t be any legal implications.

  36. As regards Bede’s and the legality of its job advert for head

    Since when is St Bede’s not a business? It has to publish accounts, it’s registered as one, I fear legal splitting of hairs here. I presume it claims back VAT where possible, sorry, it’s a business as far as HMRC is concerned at least. Whether or not it’s registered as a charity, does anyone know its actual legal status? Is it a voluntary aided school, whatever that means?

    Also the College doesn’t even insist its student be Catholics, merely Christians, so it seems strange to put in a codicil that the candidate for Head Teacher must be a Catholic, and, unlike 80% plus of Catholics, a practising one at that.

    I think we need a definitive legal opinion here, however, no doubt if you ask three lawyers, you’ll get three contrasting opinions. I’m none the wiser.

    Where’s an honest lawyer when you need one (joking, honestly!)

  37. There’s a pub called the “Honest Lawyer” not far from Scunthorpe Station, ……honestly!!

  38. Benedict,

    Thanks for the information. I’m no lawyer at all (not even one in training) , but wouldn’t the 1998 legislation you quote be superseded by the 2010 Act, unless something in that Act says otherwise? Section 39(1) in that Act seems to cover the case we are discussing, and it seems clear and straightforward to me. Section 10 makes it clear that discrimination includes discrimination on the grounds of religious belief (or lack thereof). Sections 84 – 89 discuss schools, and nothing there seems to give rise any exemption on religious grounds, so far as I can see.

    Do we have an expert on employment law among the many Old Bedians who read this blog? Surely someone must be able to clarify this.

  39. There is something called the ‘doctrine of implied repeal’, which means that a later piece of legislation that is incompatible with previous legislation takes precedence. However this is quite unusual because the incompatibility has to be pretty explicit. As I said before, I’m not an expert in this exact area, but I would assume (until shown otherwise) the lawyer on the school’s governing body is at least minimally competent.

  40. To Linda:

    A point well made, I agree with your conclusion, but would like legal confirmation. Just think about the current row re Islamic Schools and ‘Trojan Horses’ and its implications.

    Even if this selection process is deemed legal at Bede’s, surely the parameters outlined for the post should be first and foremost the competence and ability to do the job?

    This sounds like another example of Thatcher’s ‘Is he/she one of us?’ when appointing staff i.e. not giving the job on merit, but do they agree on a certain way of thinking.

    The Diocese of Salford would appear to have its iron grip on the appointment of staff into senior positions. However, due to Bede’s inability over the years to firstly attract enough fee-paying Catholic boys, then enough Catholic boys and girls, it finally had to open its doors to ‘those deemed to be of the Christian faith’ i.e the Catholic equivalent of the Muslim ‘Infidels.’

    I don’t see the logic of allowing admission of non-Catholic students whilst at the same time insisting the senior posts be filled by practising Catholics. The net result of this advert will be to greatly restrict the number of suitable applicants for such a senior post.

    Hardly the way to ensure the selection of the most competent candidate during the College’s most troubled times, would it not be fair to say?

    Mind you, this is Bede’s we’re talking about here, so we can forget any pretence of logic here….

  41. To Brian Lefley

    There’s a bar in Manchester called, appropriately, ‘Liars’. I hereby direct all of the legal profession and politicians to this watering hole, just off Deansgate.

  42. Competency of a Headteacher at a Catholic school surely includes the Catholicism of the applicant. Regardless of our beliefs, the school is Catholic. The religion of the headteacher is plainly very important as it is a faith school and, certainly when I was there, took the faith very seriously indeed.

  43. To James J:

    Oh really? The College now takes its religion so seriously it does something it didn’t do in my time there – admit non-Catholics. This is borne out by the simple fact there aren’t enough Catholics, let alone practising ones, who want to pay to send their kids to Bede’s.

    So it might have took religion seriously during your and my time, but clearly that’s not the case now. It’s also truly amazing that all of City’s apprentices must be of the Christian Faith, if you believe everything you are told.

    Let’s just look at the double standards at work here and see them for what they are. And, as usual, you totally miss the point that if the job advert isn’t actually illegal, it sure will severely reduce the number of suitable candidates on offer.

    What next? Left-handers only may apply? Put me down for the job. Practising left footers? Sorry, forget I said that, I don’t qualify. The whole thing is a ridiculous sham, virtually guaranteeing a co-conspirator in the downfall of Mr Barber will end up with the prize. Mind you, in my day, there were’t any women teachers, let alone a woman Head.

    Women Head Teachers? Whatever next? Woman Prime Minister? Oh dear, I forgot, we tried that one and look what happened.

    Yes, Jinky Jimmy, even you must admit here your justification of the College policy on recruitment of Senior Staff looks somewhat ridiculous, when a fair percentage of the students who go to Bede’s aren’t even Catholic.

    That’s the whole point, you silly man, the hypocrisy and double standards of the place laid bare, and you’re so naive and stupid you don’t get it. Everyone else does, it’s all about the money.


  44. You see, this is where you are completely and utterly wrong. You keep saying that it is a business and it is all about the money.

    It demonstrably is not. I think that is the best thing about the school. Yes, it – and all other schools – need enough pupils to survive. Yes, it and other schools have struggled during the past few years.

    But it is, above all, a Catholic school. That is its USP and always has been. People send their children to Catholic schools because of the values that they instill in them.

    In my time, its emphasis was on getting the best out of everybody, not simply culling those who make the league table performance look bad before GCSEs. In that respect, it is very different to most of the “top” schools in Manchester.

    It’s a Catholic school and I’d be very surprised if that ever changes. Having anything other than a Catholic head wouldn’t work.

    When was the last time you were in the school Paul? Care to give me some concrete evidence on the proportion of non-Catholic students? I was there just a few months ago and it seemed every bit as Catholic as when I was at the school.

    Simply calling somebody stupid doesn’t make your observations intelligent. You are mistaking my being in the minority for me talking nonsense. Go back through my posts and please enlighten me on my mistakes and stupid observations.

    You really are a wretched and rude man.

  45. To Jinky Jimmy

    It’s a fact, you do not have to be of the Catholic persuasion to attend Bede’s, if you don’t believe me, check the College’s web-site. Ever wondered why the change in admission policy?

    By anyone’s definition, such a lowering of the goalposts to admit non-Catholics leaves one interpretation only – there aren’t enough Catholics wishing to send their children to Bede’s. You can only speculate as to the figures, you and I don’t actually know for certain, what percentage are Catholics, let alone practising ones, reckoned to be only 10 -15% of those stating it as their religion.

    You also completely conveniently forget to mention our part-time City footballers – do you really think they’re all Catholics? They comprise around 10% of the College numbers, did you know that? Do you still think they’re all Catholic?

    It has lost its Unique Selling Point now, if it ever had one. It isn’t a school solely for Catholics, to pretend otherwise is a lie. What next, all the kids who go there have to go to Church once a week on Sundays and Holy Days, get a document signed by the Parish Priest to that effect?

    Why, oh why, would anyone spend their hard-earned money to send their child to a relatively poor-ranking private school, when there are several other far more attractive options. People have already voted with their feet. See below.

    I repeat, you’re a very silly man, it’s all about the money, if it weren’t Bede’s wouldn’t have part-time students within a mile of its premises for a start. Anyone who spends £9k per annum for upwards of five years so that their child can be educated in the Catholic ethos, irrespective of the academic education received, must either have truly altruistic religious motives or be an idiot. That’s why Bede’s sings the praises of the few alumni who get to Oxbridge, while totally neglecting to mention its poor ranking as regards exam results.

    I haven’t been a practising Catholic for over 40 years, I left Bede’s behind me a long time ago. I’m truly saddened that it’s in the intractible mess it has got itself in, but your risible attempts to defend the status quo beggar belief at times.

    Ever the eternal optimist, Jinky Jimmy, I fear you are in for yet more bad news in the next few years. If Sheik Mansour starts sending his apprentices directly to his almost-built Academy at the Etihad, Bede’s will be in serious financial trouble, as currently it’s his money keeping Bede’s solvent.

    No amount of obfuscation, lying or cheating will alter that, it’s a financial fact. You seem to know so much about Bede’s but absolutely sweet F A about its precarious financial position.

    I, on the other hand, have legally obtained and have seen the financial accounts for Bede’s over the last five years, during which time its income fell by over £1M, despite the help from the boys at the Etihad. Allowing for inflation, that’s effectively a 20% dip in income. Not exactly a roaring success?

    You should admit your ignorance in this matter, since you’re always accusing everyone else of not knowing what they’re talking about. Bede’s is a business, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, you’re deluding yourself spouting altruistic motives the College never had and never will have.

    Welcome to the real world!

  46. Stop Press

    Just checked Bede’s web-site today, the post of Head Teacher is now longer listed in the vacancies. No announcement of who has been appointed. Bets anyone?

    I swear when I went past the Alma Mater earlier this week I could see the white smoke coming out of the chimney at the Vaughan Building, but then again maybe not. Possibly someone burning old paperwork of the Duggan/Green era prior to the High Court case.

    You can’t be too careful you know. Just ask Andy Coulson and Rebecca Wade, they must wish they’d done a better job of cleaning up the loose ends at the News of the Screws…..

    1. Paul,
      To be fair to the creaking hierarchy of the College, they did say in their blurb put out with the advertisement of the new head that interviews will take place in late May, discussions as to candidates during early June and a decision on new head I think by 20 something of June. So really we have nearly two weeks to wait before Goliath speaks. My money in the wake of this undiligent haste is still on Pike, unless of course they have had a man willing to step into dead man’s shoes for a while. The answer to the riddle could be magnificent graded down to commercial suicide.

  47. The school has accepted non-Catholics for a long time. Indeed, I know a decent number of non-Catholics and non-practising/non-believing Catholics who sent their children to St Bede’s because of its Catholic values.

    By calling the school a business, you are the one who misunderstands.

    Surely, such a hard-headed businessman like yourself can see the reason behind accepting Manchester City’s academy players? That money will allow St Bede’s to move forward and grow. As I’ve said before, any school in the area would be delighted to have them.

    Your points become slightly devalued when you call people names. You left school when?

  48. To Jimmy Jinky

    Since we don’t know your proper name and you continue to do so, don’t get upset if we use another pseudonym for you.

    Well done, congratulations, you’re so naive you even contradict yourself by admitting, at long last, Bede’s is a business after all. I’ve never said it’s been anything but one, since around the day in 1976 when it became fee-paying and had to live in the real world. You’re the one who maintains otherwise, not I.

    Since then, out went nearly all the priests, the boarders training to be priests (incidentally, if you check your history, that was one of Vaughan’s reasons for founding the College, to aid a supply of suitable candidates for the priesthood.) In came girls, non-Catholics and now an academic lowering of the bar, part-time student footballers. So much for a centre of academic excellence, eh? Let’s not pretend that these part-timers are there for anything but the money. At least that’s one thing we can agree on.

    Again, you ignore the air-brushing away of the failure of the College to attract sufficient numbers of full-time, fee paying students (let alone Catholic ones), its ever-shrinking roll numbers and its recent mismanagement.

    Concentrate on why the College is suffering so badly. One reason to begin with. Just Google St Bede’s College – what comes up apart from their web-site? Duggan child abuse, Bill Green child abuse, resignation of Governors before abuse case comes to court, abuse of Rick Merrin TV item this year and many others, impending High Court case over abuse. Not what you’d call a glowing reference. Let’s not forget the ISI report and lack of Safeguarding…

    I can’t think of any fee-paying school in the UK which has such a ‘bad press’, most of it self-inflicted. I’d argue it’s an achievement in itself to have kept the place afloat, albeit travelling on a slowly downward path. No, if part-time footballing students are the answer to Bede’s problems, someone is clearly asking completely the wrong questions.

    I find it odd that under the current regime anyone would pay to send their kid to Bede’s. There must surely be better ways of spending £9K plus a year on a private education. Oh dear, might that be that there are alternatives to Bede’s? A Catholic school where a fair percentage of people who attend aren’t even Catholic, despite your protestations in trying to re-write the facts.

    No, this school is a business, unfortunately it lets religion get in the way of its prime objective, to educate people effectively. I gave up on religion years ago, along with most people. I try to behave in a Christian manner, I don’t suffer fools gladly, so now you know why I regard you complete amusement. If you’re an example of logical thinking as a result of an education at Bede’s, that starts to explain a lot.

    I’d argue Bede’s also has given up on huge sections of its Catholic ethos anyway and by allowing any non left-footers in the place any pretence was finally shredded. You’re either a Catholic or not. That’s not what Bishop Vaughan had in mind back in 1876…..

  49. To all:

    Apologies for missing out the word ‘with’ before complete amusement in the penultimate paragraph.

    I was so busy trying to keep a straight face when posting this reply to such a complete self-contradictory pile of apologia that the odd mistake was bound to creep in,

    Onwards and upwards, Bedians! I hear we’re pitching for footballers from the Ladies National team next term, just to even things up……

  50. To Paul Malpas:

    I hope I can keep myself in check for the next few weeks, you never know, the outcome might not be as predictable as you think.

    I suspect having had the wonderful ‘Catholic ethos’ of Bede’s being repeated ad nauseam in previous postings by JJ has left me feeling somewhat bilious. I endeavour to steer clear of all churches, Catholic or otherwise for the more than foreseeable future.

    In the meantime, on with the fiddle, Maestro, let us together watch Rome burn….

  51. “I can’t think of any fee-paying school in the UK which has such a ‘bad press’, most of it self-inflicted.”

    Chetham’s and St Paul’s spring to mind.

  52. To Benedict Sharrock:

    I’m afraid Bede’s got in well before both of them, with the conviction of Billy Green.

    Mind you, that’s only your and my opinion,we may differ, surely you can agree it’s not the sort of company you would wish to keep?

    Mind you, plenty of distractions to come, shortly St Ambrose’s, then Fred Talbot of Altrincham Grammar and Granada Weatherman fame is due at Manchester Magistrates shortly.

    Yes, by your positive spin on this, if a few more join the list of ‘The Shamed’ schools, Bede’s might disappear below the radar.

    St Paul’s is so far away, it’s not really made it locally, neither has Chetham’s nationally, until very recently.

    Perhaps you missed Mark Easton’s item on BBC 1, 10 o’clock news, Friday 31 January 2014, also a front-page article in the Sunday Times Sunday 14 January 2014. Exactly how bad do you really want the publicity to be, short of appearing as the main new item?

    You’re obviously a spin-doctor, unfortunately the story has spun way beyond your and Bede’s control. See Bede’s risible attempts to stave off the TV report by sending a self-justifying letter to parents of current students.

    Oh, the power of positive thinking, we’re no worse than Chethams and St Paul’s…..

  53. To Benedict Sharrock:

    Just to disappoint you, currently the trial is under way for one Alan Morris, accused of abusing kids at St Ambrose’s, Altrincham (I believe). See below why this is of no help in deflecting attention away from Bede’s. Approaching 50 witnesses, the trial has been split into two, dealing with less serious and more serious offences separately (whatever in legalese that means).

    Why this is sad from your point of view is that there will be no reporting whatever of the trials till both are finished, no constant drip of accusations in the MEN or anywhere else, until verdicts are reached in both cases, due to reporting restrictions being imposed. This has and will greatly reduce the publicity surrounding the case.

    Ah well, there’s always Chetham’s, St Paul’s and Fred Talbot to try to use as a smokescreen….

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