Bede’s Board Of Governors In The Spotlight

Well it came to pass that the brand spanking new board of governors of St Bede’s College in Manchester enthused by their obvious massive success stories itemised in my last blog had their update meeting with all parents of both Prep and Senior school at the College last evening, the 2nd July 2014.

It was a well managed affair with hardly any news of it on the website, it would take an intrepid website warrior to find any detail of the show but that is probably how they wanted it.  The fewer parents the better to update, less chance in a small group of rebellion.  While we are on the subject of the website I think a little subterfuge has been used.  Plastered all over Bede’s site is markers pointing to the ISI Report.  When you click on one of these the 2007 ISI report flashes up, all hale and hearty, with Byrne on the bridge, ably assisted by Hales in the Prep but as we know a lot of water has flowed by in seven years, then there was 1152 pupils, now only 772 with 215 of these in the prep.  Try as I could I was not able to find the damning and most recent ISI report of late 2013 where amongst other things the enthusiastic and self-called successful governing body were slammed for their lack of good governance.

Some might think that this recent report cover-up was a little piece of legerdemain on the part of the powers that be at Bede’s but I prefer to think it was my clumsiness in matters computorial that was not able to detect said recent report.

Anyway to get back to the update meeting to show the parents all the successes by the Board in the last year.  My roving reporter was there and in fact acted as car park attendant in the playground.  He counted about 70 cars in attendence mostly single driver occupancy, deduct say 10 cars for the Governors and we had about 60 cars or about 70 parents turning up. As I said before there are approximately 770 pupils at the school and taking into account one parent families and brothers and sisters, because many a Catholic boy and girl has only one parent in this day and age, and there are bound to be a few sibling combos, you would expect about 1200 parents to be available for this very important meeting especially with the old head gone and a play actor about to take his place. But for only about just over 5% of eligibles to be present smacks of something or other.

We know the timing was wrong, 6.00pm being rather early for anybody who works, but they turn up in scores for parent/teacher nights.  No, I think the fault lies not with the successful and enthusiastic Board of Governors but with the lightheaded parents.  They are all punch drunk with all the hits they have received in the last three years from the same successful governors or they are totally apathetic to the antics of governance.  They have paid their money and they have taken their chance, if it ain’t worked out, just too bad, but at least it got the kids out of their hair for a quarter of the year while they relaxed drank wine and earned a few sponduliks.

I wonder what the update on the Board’s successes were I would love somebody to tell me and perhaps they will in the fulness of time.  No new head has been officially announced but we all know the situation there.  You cannot pluck a person out of thin air in the space of a few weeks without a little bit of jiggery pokery and that is why that situation is a little tenuous.  It might have been announced but surely that is not a success but on second thoughts probably persuading somebody to accept the poisoned chalice that is St Bede’s is a success.  There has been no others.

We await with patience for the news to break.

21 thoughts on “Bede’s Board Of Governors In The Spotlight

  1. Paul,

    I sincerely hope the meeting was held on Wednesday 2 July, not as you state – senior moment here, I fear.

    No doubt as you are persona non grata at Bede’s and I’ve certainly no wish to visit the Alma Mater myself, the only thing that might tempt me is a curiosity to be able to marvel at the number of pederasts featured in old school photos, if they’re still hung up in the Lady Corridor, like they were years ago.

    A dashed poor show as regards turnout. We await news of the Bedian gathering in anticipation……

    1. Thanks Paul for pointing out my error, I spotted another one as I altered the one you spotted There should have been their. We could all do with a proof reader at times.

  2. To Paul Malpas:

    I didn’t spot the second mistake, I was so busy congratulating myself on spotting the first one.

    I really must try harder.

  3. I would like to know where it was announced because on the Bede’s website , where you would think things of this nature would be aired there is no mention, Sandra is still Acting Head. I of course announced it, albeit unofficial on 29th June.
    By the way what does W stand for in Bedianese, is it by any chance wanker.

  4. To W:-

    You’re well behind the game here, mate. The blog mentions that on 19 June that Ricky Robson is now the Main Man. So exactly what’s your point here, as you seem to be nearly 3 weeks out of date with your observation?

    What’s your point exactly? It hadn’t been officially announced on Bede’s web-site as late as last Friday, 4 July (they update the web-site every Friday), so the many parents who didn’t attend the meeting last week or read this blog may still be unaware of who the new man is, unless Bede’s have sent out a letter to every parent in the meantime. So where and when exactly was it announced?

    I think Mr Malpas’s sources seem to be more up to speed than your your version of ‘snail mail’ reporting

    Oh, by the way, did you know Rolf Harris just got sent down for 5 years 9 months? Just keeping you up to speed, that news is only 5 days old.

    Do you work for the MEN, by any chance? Or for Bede’s, where it would seem having selective memory lapses is somewhat of an advantage?

  5. Bede’s web-site, today July 8

    Still no mention of Mr Robson on Bede’s own web-site, merely a letter from acting head Mrs Pike wishing everyone a good summer holiday.

    Obviously his appointment can’t be all that important…..

  6. To Katy:

    You beat me to the draw, and yes the W almost certainly does. The actual date Paul M gave is a bit irrelevant, but it was certainly weeks ago, what’s more to the point if Bede’s have officially announced it, where exactly?

    Like you, I’d agree the College web-site might be a good idea to publicise the event….but then again, I don’t work at Bede’s.

    1. So why is it not on the College website, nearly three weeks after the appointment. Is somebody a little shy? Or does Pikey want to retain her past glories for as long as possible.

  7. To all:

    I wonder if a letter was sent to every parent informing them of the meeting with the Board of Governors on July 2? This could have been put in the same envelope, nay even printed on the same page to save postage, at the same time as the letter informing them of the new Head?

    Does anybody know the answer to this fairly relevant question? As an example of lack of joined-up thinking, bearing in mind the time-lines involved, it seems a fair request to ask.

    Or maybe the Board of Governors, whilst organising a meeting at 6 pm at short notice, with minimum publicity, achieved their goal of keeping the numbers attending to as small a number as possible. It seems to have worked quite well, that one.

    We await a belated announcement on Bede’s web-site this Friday (July 11).

  8. To Joseph:

    To correct your grammar slightly, we know the questions, at Bede’s it’s the answers that cause the problems.

    Bede’s has previous for being “economical with the actualite”, as once was famously said of a certain Cabinet Minister. Very rarely do people get a straight answer to a straight question.

    For example – the ISI’s problems with Safeguarding, what precisely were they, and more to the point, what has actually been done to improve matters?

    Why did Danny Kearney jump ship?

    What’s being done to arrest the alarming fall in roll numbers over the past five years?

    Why the revolving door of Governors, coming and going at such an alarming rate it makes it difficult to keep track?

    Why the return of Byrne, when barely a year ago he left, allegedly for legal reasons? Why are all the dog collars still on the Board of Governors?

    And several other pertinent questions too numerous to mention.

    Following his recent demonstration of being unable to answer several simple questions truthfully, surely Bede’s should be co-opting Leon Brittan – he’ll be in his element there, with several people, like himself, who incapable of giving a straight answer to a simple question.

    At least they’re consistent in their attempts to suppress any unpleasantness, so is any wonder people question their honesty and integrity when on so many occasions the unfortunate truth finds its way out and they’re found to have been telling Melton Mowbray size porkies….

  9. To all:

    No update on Friday 11 July for ‘Bede’s News’.

    Thus still no mention on the web-site of the appointment of the new Head.

    A very strange way to conduct business indeed, yet another example of Bedian un-joined up thinking, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised….

  10. To Joseph:

    What has that got to do with the fact there is no mention of the New Head on the web-site, as, by your own admission, this was announced weeks before? I can recommend a book written by an old teacher at Bede’s, named Gordon Frost. It’s entitled ‘Logic’, I advise you to read a copy asap. A la Jinky Jimmy, you completely miss the point.

    Please explain the discrepancy without resorting to being infected with current Bedian lack of reasoning. Perhaps then, eventually it will be confirmed in early September when the ever-reducing numbers return to the Alma Mater. Unless Robbo jumps ship, a la Butler Sloss, in the meantime.

    Were all the parents also notified by letter of the meeting to be held on July 2? Why notify one thing by letter, but not on the News Board in the case of the new Head, and do what would appear to be exactly the opposite in the case of the meeting?

    The above question is quite simple, only three answers are the options. They are Yes, No and I don’t know. So far, no-one has answered the question. If the answer is No, it would merely confirm yet another example of piss up and brewery theory, of which Bede’s has become a leading practitioner.

    Bede’s certainly must have had its work cut out with you if this is an example of your reasoning…..

  11. Paul you said ‘no update on Friday 11th July for Bedes News’. Then mentioned still no mention on the website of the new head. I asked if you realise Bedes finished on the 4th July – do you by the way? Logic would tell you there would therefore be no update.
    I already told you I don’t know the answer regarding parents being told by letter about the meeting on July 2nd though I hear the meeting was quite positive. I do realise only a small percentage of parents were there right enough. Again, I don’t the answer to your other question. It does seem odd tho.
    As for next year as far as I am aware first year numbers are up for next year.
    Your last point about Bedes having its work cut out with me. If you’re insinuating I was educated there you are wrong. Unlike you and Mr Malpas Bedes was not my place of education.

  12. To all:

    At last a recent non-Bedian, one who gives a straight answer to a question, even if his answer is ‘I don’t know’.

    The numbers of new students for last year, in common with the last 3 – 4 years, were decidedly historically low. Unlike most other businesses, Bede’s has a cohort of students coming and going between the ages of 5 and 18. The true state of the fall in the student roll could be best represented by comparing the number of students in each year, for a number of years, rather than total roll numbers, but this is no doubt commercially sensitive information.

    Simple comparison of roll numbers might be to some extent slightly misleading, as, for example, to maintain roll numbers in the Senior school, the number of new students this year only needs to match those leaving the last year of the 6th form. However, not everyone who does GCSEs at age 16 stays on to do ‘A’ levels at age 18, so the effective fall in numbers is disguised for a number of years as a result of this.

    Based on this, the current fall in the number of Prep school students (apparently this number has fallen to a greater extent than the 35% or so average fall (based on ISI’s 2007 and 2013 head count I stress, not mine) will impact in later years as fewer of them will go on to attend the Senior school.

    The decline in roll numbers has been steady since around 2008 (for whatever reason), so a slight increase in this year’s intake may not be enough to stop the total roll number actually falling. I credit Bede’s staff with enough intelligence to know this, the shrinking of staff and associated salary costs (no doubt helped to some extent by the retirement of more experienced teachers, to be replaced by less-experienced ones) illustrates this cutting the coat according to the cloth.

    But in the saying of the old comedy programme, “Never mind the quality, feel the width”, parents are still paying nearly £10K now for teachers earning substantially less than their predecessors, as numbers of classes are either reduced and/or class sizes shrink.

    It’s rather like paying a Ford Focus or Mondeo price for a Fiesta car, I’d argue that would be a fair analogy.

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