When the new head at St Bede’s College, Mr Richard Robson, took over in January 1915 I vowed to give him time. Time to sort things out, time to make the school recover from its lowest ebb. But I fear he took on more than he or any other aspiring head could ever chew. In the last week three items of news have come to life which seem to render this man’s efforts as falling short of the standards we were hoping to expect.
First came the news last week from the Daily Telegraph’s league tables for Independent School A Level results which placed St Bede’s College at 255th out of 291 Independent Schools. Improvement after nearly two years does seem to be a negative factor in St Bede’s rush for glory.
And then in last night Manchester Evening News came the story of Mr Niall O’Hagan, a teacher at St Bede’s going on a drinking spree whilst in Lourdes supervising a party of about 20 children, leaving them to fend for themselves in a foreign environment and then turning up for religious events totally out of his head with alcohol. It is all described here in this link to the article in the said paper.
He was tried by his peers found to be guilty and banned from teaching indefinitely. The incident if nothing else shows the lack of discipline by staff that still exists at the school. Mr Robson has made no affect in this very important aspect of school values.
Then to top all this off in the post this morning I received an anonymous letter posted in Manmchester Mail Centre at 6.26pm on 12th September. The letter was addressed to Mr Paul Malpas, (Campaigner and Blogger), Boyle, County Roscommon, Eire. It shows how far my fame has come, for the local postman delivered it to King House in Boyle, the place from which I do most of my work.
The anonymous letter , well written, which cannot be said of all in this genre says:-
“As a friend and guardian of the interests of St Bede’s, I hope this might be of some interest to you.
St Bede’s is on the cusp of closure. I have seen the plans for its demise which have been conceived and drawn up by Des Coffey. Next academic year it will reopen as the Manchester City Academy 11-16 (St Bede’s Campus) and Coffey has a list of the staff he rates and intends to keep and those who, like Joe Hart, are now under his regime, surplus to requirements.
The area known as Holly Bank has been sold off to pay off loans from the Salford Diocese and the Educational Trust Fund which has kept the College afloat amid a drastically falling role in the spend, spend, spend soon-to-end reign of Mr Robson. The Regis building and grounds is going to market soon and the funds from its sale will go into the redundancy pot.
The plan is to keep the Prep department open as an independent entity primarily because its current head is the daughter of Brian Kidd and Pep’s children, along with the other MCFC offspring are enrolled. The new head of the Manchester City Academy from 2017 is Mrs Alex Vyce – the daughter of Des Coffey. She has been instumental in advising her father on those members of staff who are on board and on those who need to be jettisoned. Mr Robson has been given 12 months to find a new job. He has already had two unsuccessful interviews. His biggest mistakes were to tell his paymasters at the Etihad that he could go it alone and to fall foul of Mrs Hunt, Head of Prep, when she refused to appoint his wife as a teacher. Robbo withdrew his children in protest.
Coffey’s rationale is pathetically simple and all to do with his standing and status at MCFC. He had been marginalised and shown the door under the new Spanish regime just as the good times started to roll and, in a desperate attempt to keep his club suit and season ticket he embarked on his “educational project” to take control and gain greater influence at St Bede’s. He installed the corpulent and dim-witted Fr Daly as a puppet Chair of Governors and bullied, marginalised, and dismissed governors and staff who had rumbled his ruse.
He must be stopped. His abuse of staff, parents and children at st Bede’s is the scandal of our times.”
To anybody not in the know the weasel known as Des Coffey was supposedly Manchester City’s Education Officer having arrived in that position after many years struggling in junior education in Manchester’s inner city schools. After a few years integrating MCFC Junior footballers into a failing St Bede’s College, he was co-opted onto the Board of Governors of the College to give some say to the football club that was throwing thousands at the College. This fawning approach by the Diocese and the school had plenty of critics, myself included, who could only see the end result and if this letter is correct our prophesised end result has arrived.
As one former pupil said this morning after being shown the letter “To be honest none of it surprises me. Absolutely appalling. Private interest, toadying, nepotism, corruption, treachery, mismanagement. And where are the children in all of this? And the parents who are scraping the money together each week to pay the enormous fees? Left hung out to dry. Eughhh, what a cess pit”
I can certainly associate myself with the latter thought. There was I 20 to 30 years ago, with four children at the school, busting my gut every week to afford the fees and it has come to this. But for the Diocese and the Catholic Church it is just one more step on the downward slope. The two interlinked institutions are bolloxed, never ever to be anything more than the stuff you accidentally step on on the footpath. The way they dealt with the historic abuse of children at the school has now come home to roost for the hierarchy of the Diocese and the antiquated clerics who told lies during the legal proceedings. If we lost that battle on a technicality we, the forgotten, the abused, are definitely winning the war against this sham that is known as the catholic Church.
I would welcome anybody to comment on these ongoing events because if we left it all to the College, the Diocese and the Church we would learn nothing
29 thoughts on “St Bede’s College, Manchester. Crash, Bang, Wallop.”
First of all a typo error Paul. Mr Robson hasn’t been there since January 1915, it just seems that way! He’s been there just under two years?
Secondly, your version of the Edward Snowden spy (Wikileak specialist) within or close to Bede’s has done the fee paying parents (the people helping to keep the Alma Mater afloat) a great service. This gives them almost a year to make alternative arrangements for their children.
Not ideal, but better than being told in June 2017 that the place is to close.
I always said Bede’s tie up to the College was never a good idea. I can understand the rationale for Sports colleges in the State sector, but not at a fee paying one, it was always going to dumb down the academic level within the College. Suddenly all these budding footballers, attending only part-time classes, were going to improve the academic standing of the college? Really?
The money from City’s apprentices attending Bede’s was actually keeping the College afloat, without it they would have been posting thumping great losses for the last few years. That is the naked truth of the matter.
Now it looks like the piper who pays seems to be wanting to dictate all the tunes which are played. I always had a worry that Bede’s was unable to appoint a candidate who had had previous experience as a headmaster at another similar school; Robson had not.
No doubt many suitable applicants for the post were deterred by the possibility of the Historic Abuse Case, but sadly that now seems to be over.
Let’s see what spin the College can put on this, and how the usual Defenders of Bede’s can tell you you’ve got it all wrong. It looks like the edifice is riddled with nepotism and dodgy dealings, serving up a second rate education for around £10K a year,so that enough people voted with their feet to make the demise inevitable.
Expect the “For Sale” signs to go up at Brantigham Road, no doubt the rugby goal posts will be up for auction shortly on E Bay. Let’s face it, what on Earth would the City Academy need with yet more playing fields?
As for Mr O’Hagan, the man is a disgrace and should never be allowed to teach again. I bet he came cheap though, didn’t he?
One old boy reader has just informed me that in the early sixties on geology field trips the staff used to invite the pupils out for drinks but never go on a bender on their own. Probably the 16/17 year old 50 or 60 years ago was a far more rounded and mature individual than those of the same age today. Just a thought. I was there done that and nothing fazed me. If I was in the South of France and no teacher and knowing what I now know of the farce of Lourdes, I would have gone home. No money and distance had little fear for us boomers. At that age I was fully reared.
Apologies for my own typo here.
The third paragraph should begin “I always said Bede’s tie-up with Manchester City…..”
There is just so much punishment an institution can take without falling over. Bullfighting comes to mind. The Diocese has also had to shell out for costly lawyers these many years and the school isn’t performing in a cruelly competitive environment. I imagine its days are indeed numbered. I just wonder what will happen to those special buildings, especially the Chapel
They will be turned into a bijou “Holiday Village” with luxury flats for tourists- ideal for top Antipodean lawyers and their consorts visiting our beautiful city.
Sic transit gloria mundi
So Superbia in Proelia replaces N. O. T. as the College motto?
I noticed City’s latest attempt at a club badge is back to the round one of the 70s, with no room for said Latin motto?
To Mr Lefley
I’ve noticed the current injury lawyers S & G are heavy on the advertising on television in the North West.
Business a bit slow at the moment?
St Bede’s is nothing but a monument to institutionalised raping of children. I will only be happy when it has been burnt to the ground. Man city, who are owned by a crypto jewish paedophile ring, have bought well.
To Danny Malpas. You really are beyond belief. I hope G.M.P. don’t take a peek at this site. (Think “burned” is better English).
I feel like what’s in the letter may be true on some level, as in Bede’s may eventually become a Man City campus; however, it seems ridiculous that the school would become that in the space of a year, with the backing of one governor. What you described is far too detailed and specific not to have some possible basis in truth but the school simply isn’t well-run enough to suddenly change so drastically in a year.
To Brian Lefley
G.M.P. are another criminal corporation that i look forward to burning to the ground.
I hope that they are peaking at these comments because then they will know that we are investigating their crimes and their days of assumed authority are over. Never show your fear to the enemy for they will feed off it. Your generation has sat back, ravaged with alcohol, for too long and now it is down to my generation to sort out your mess that your inaction has kindly bequeathed to my generation.
If you disagree with any of my statements, kindly detail your objections or request further information. Structure your views and argue logically. Blind dismissals will only infuriate my generation further.
Something afoot? In my mail yesterday I received a glossy brochure extolling the virtues of the school.Is it targeted at better off areas? (Not that Prestwich is anything special). It would appear a new uniform is being introduced. (Old type ties being flogged off cheap- will be collector’s item in years to come?). And so S.S. “Baeda”settles lower in the water…..
To Danny Malpas. Perhaps your G.P can recommend a good Anger Management Course?
That is two comments from either side enough to make your point. I will not publish any further comments on this theme.
Speak for yourself, Mr Lefley.
I abode in leafy Whitefield, I’ll have you know.
Somehow I don’t think mail-shotting the area of my birth and residence until 1984 (the northern areas of the City of Manchester) would pay much of a dividend? They include some of the most derived areas in the UK.
I’ve seen a few locals catching a bus near Church Lane (a Finglands’ one) early in the morning. Some of the pupils getting on said bus were wearing the unmistakable garb of the old Alma Mater.
Derived? No, deprived.
Apologies for the typo
Let us hope the place closes.
As an ex pupil and one of Father Bill Green’s inner circle I can absolutely state there were more than 6 victims of Bill Green, many more.
It was common knowledge amongst large numbers of 5th and 6th formers in the 80s that this was taking place and was known by teachers such as Moynihan, Terrence Dodgeon, Dearman, etc etc etc.
Teachers gossip in the master’s library and I fully expect most knew or suspected or were aware of the rumour and yet the school did nothing to protect children or keep Bill Green away from having children in his rooms where cigarettes were happily given out in return for gropes of the butt cheeks or strokes of the legs. Sit in his mini bus on trips in the passenger seat while he was driving would guarantee his hand holding your leg openly.
This wasn’t that hidden or secret.
All staff who did nothing to investigate, question, research the situation in the interest of child safety and care are also perpetrators to this atrocity and they should all be ashamed and realise that they were poor teachers and that they could have stopped the lifelong pain and confusion imposed by the abuser, the school, the staff, and the church.
Whilst speaking about this recently with a friend from the school at the time whom I came across and to my surprise found him serving as a priest with a highly responsible position in the Salford diocese we both agreed this was very common knowledge at the time. His perspective is more of a “mistakes were made” whereas mine is a somewhat stronger viewpoint.
While dioceses legally fight with deceipt and lies the attempts by victims to gain compensation and justice, while the Catholic Church still hides perpetrators within its ranks and does not hand over all of its archives of reported historic cases the school, staff and church as a hole is nothing more than an institutionalised paedophile ring, an institution that is far removed from pastoral care and faith but rather interested in protecting its reputation from the reality of the scale of hideous abuse and abusers within its ranks.
Please can somebody let us parents know what’s going on!!! Busting a gut to pay fees . Don’t wanted to be sold a pup
I am afraid that you might have been sold this pup. Start to look elsewhere over the next few years. The Salford Diocese are not the crowd you might think they are. They are in business to not lose money. St Bede’s at this moment is a drain, they have no respect for parents like you who are hoping for better.
My children are at a crucial exam stage . Do I walk away now and unsettle them ? They are happy after all. How sure are you that this is not all a flash in the pan, rumour or conjecture ? What is the time scale ? When will the fees stop having to be paid ?
Can your source or any staff enlighten us and put us out of our misery.Considering a remortgage for school fees and university costs so expedient answers appreciated.
The main thing is that your kids are happy. If they are intelligent they will do well anyway without the need of educational help. I cannot help with your questions in terms of a time-scale but having studied the decline of the school since 2011, it will need massive support from the Salford Diocese which I fear they do not have the propensity for.
Keep calm, do not over-extend yourself. Third level education is not the holy grail. I have put six children through this system, financial opportunities arrive unexpectedly, we got through it. The kids also have an input to this, there is plenty of part-time work out there that is character building. Do not let them treat their senior education as a three or four year holiday. Best of luck and keep calm.
Can your messenger, give answers to my concerns and questions?
Through out our lives we are all faced with hurdles. I cannot answer your problems because each person has different pressures. Suffice it to say think positive, keep your kids happy, do not over-extend yourself financially and do not believe anything the Salford Diocese say or do. All things will work out, these years of teen age kids are only an episode in life’s rich tapestry. In ten years time Bede’s will be merely a blip.
If Regis building is to be sold that will mean Bede’s will not be able to accommodate or teach as many pupils. Would appear to be following St Ambrose model of an independent prep and state secondary. Any teachers at Bede’s out there that can cast any light on events?
Paul is doing his best here, unfortunately the Alma Mater was, is and always will be forever shrouded in mystery. See below.
Paedophiles reigned at Bede’s for a decade and a half, with impunity, between 1950 and 1966. Now all long since dead.
Then in the mid 1970s, the cudgel was taken up by one Rev Billy Green, who proceeded to repeat the misdemeanours, before leaving Bede’s a decade or so later, never having been caught out and reported once.
Eventually, around 2006, he was brought to justice, having continued his abuse of youngsters at other institutions, and jailed for 6 years. He served 3, last heard of holed up somewhere in a Catholic Church lodging house in Greater Manchester.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “To have one set of paedophiles roaming the corridors would be a misfortunate, to have had two was downright carelessness”.
My words for it here wouldn’t be careless – it would be incompetence, verging on the criminal. The College still hasn’t come clean, it fought a lengthy legal battle to suppress the cover up of wrongdoings and has shown no remorse or regret for what happened, apart from a few mealy-mouthed, insincere platitudes.
To expect any of Bede’s teachers to come forward and enlighten you as to the real goings on is to expect too much. Even now, the College gives the impression of being under severe financial pressure, it’s only Sheik Mansour’s money which is keeping it afloat.
For exactly how long, it remains to be seen. Sorry, but as Paul says, you’ve been given the limited information you have, unfortunately you have some very hard decisions to make here, I hope you make the right ones.
Only a fraction of that came to fruition. Only Holly Bank has been sold for housing development. I understand this is to fund the Quadrentum project. The school is planning ahead and is oversubscribed in Year 7.
Hi I appreciate this is an old thread maybe but wondered if there was any news or whispering on the next step for this school. Mine son is there as part of the CFA set up and I’m not impressed at all