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