Comment From A Bedian Parent.

Today I received a comment from a concerned parent, Marsha Jones.  I thought it and my answer were too important to leave in an addendum to a posting I wrote nearly two months ago entitled St. Bede’s: Situation Desperate, The Natives Are Fighting Back, which has garnered 50 odd comments and which subjected myself to a torrent of uneducated abuse from pupils which I considered was probably orchestrated by somebody in the school.  I was not of course distracted by this torrent, if you stand up these days and go against the grain, you have to expect it.  However Marsha Says:-

Paul, we do follow your blog, we have two children at St Bede’s and whilst we are not happy with certain aspects of the College, cards on the table, where are you coming from, why are you so insistent on running the College down?  A number of parents are leaving the College and going elsewhere but is it not the case we should be unified and address the failings and shortcomings of the College and as parents move it forward?

Marsha, you seem like the voice of reason and possibly the voice of strength.  You say you are not happy with certain aspects of the College.  If I knew what they were I could probably address your problem better but it is only by people like you willing to engage in discussion will St Bede’s survive.

I will therefore put my cards on the table.  I went to Bede’s 1957-1963 but was unceremoniously dumped out at the end of my first year in 6th Form by the infamous Duggan.  I did reasonably well in this world and sent four of my children there, the first in 1986, with the last leaving in 2006 when we came to Ireland.  They all had a good education, going on to Oxford, London, Liverpool and Dublin universities but in all that time I was a little unhappy about the emphases Byrne placed on certain aspects of a Bedian education, it was too narrow, too confined, not enough of the personal, not enough of the pastoral care often spouted but rarely given.  But it worked for him, he got the results that the school can only dream about these days by having decent ambitious staff who offered him hard work and longevity of service.  I kept my mouth shut, I did not react to certain rumours but I certainly would do now.  My present educated self is certainly a lot different to the hard working parent with both feet on the treadmill that I was 20 years ago.

In 2009 given the time only people of my age have got, I started writing naively about the sexual, physical and mental abuse we Bedians of the 1950s and 60s suffered under the aegis of Monsignor Thomas Duggan.  I thought my friend Michael, who was later, in his 50s, found dead in a crack house in Gorton, was the only person who had been sexually abused by Duggan at Bede’s.  Before I knew it I had a full blown campaign on my hands with ex-pupils writing in from all corners of the world explaining in a lot of cases their heartrending experiences at the school and it was not only Duggan, there were a good number of clerical staff complained about, too many to be ignored and not just in Duggan’s time but eventually I had complaints stretching from 1950 through to the present century and only one man ever brought to book, William Green, who had spent nearly 20 years at the College with rumours abounding.  He would have got away with it as well if it was not for a chance occurrence in Glasgow which eventually led to conviction because Scottish Police had become involved.

This abuse campaign has been rolling along now for four years and some of it will eventually come to court but certainly not because of the good offices of the Salford Diocese who are wriggling and squirming to every initiative put forward, using all the delaying tactics they and their lawyers can possibly think of but knowing full well that their priests or some of them were as guilty as hell of making men, Old Bedians in this case, live a lifetime of horror.  Even then I was not happy with the way the present school had handled this abuse issue, it had not been confronted but it had a new head in Michael Barber who I thought was a decent man and given time with some years under his belt I judged him the type of man able to address the problem and clear out the stables of this Augean accumulation.

However when I saw the damage the ousting of Michael Barber would do to this process, I reacted but not realising at that time in June 2011 how bad that decision was likely to be.  So I started writing about the new situation Bede’s found itself in, just like in the abuse scenario, people started writing in complaining about the new regime.  The blog is a useful and powerful tool in that regard but it is not my work that is making parents leave the school or not go near it in the first place, it is the erratic thought and deeds of the senior management, Quinlan, Kearney and Pike.  All elected on a wink and a nod and not with due diligence and correct procedure.

This crassness of management has led eventually to the Board of Governors being reduced to a coven of clerics with no idea at all of how to run a multi-million pound business and this has now led to where we are now.  In two years and because of total ineptitude the College is reduced to its present state.

I have been suggesting for weeks that to save the College, the parents and the disaffected staff which is probably 90% of them, need to rise up, bite the bullet and try to save this lamentable situation.  Unfortunately there does not seem to be any parent group to my knowledge strong enough and I think the teachers are incapable of becoming rebels, they are just leaving or at least those of them that can.  Perhaps you , Marsha, might have it in you to take up the cudgel with some friends and fight for what is right.  You are paying the fees.  A concerted effort by parents could certainly make a difference.  Start off by paying your fees into a new account which the school can access if the Diocese remove the present management and with proper process employ creditable people.  Unless somebody acts quickly the school will reach a point of no return, which will mean the end of the school in its present state.

With my involvement in the abuse process at Bede’s, I have studied the situation in America with some thoroughness.  Schools in America were going through this problem 20 years ago.  Faced with a failing Church and thus failing institutions all the American episcopacy did was close down their structures.  They had no emotion about it, Boston is a good example.  The Church is there to make money so that the hierarchy can live in total luxury.  Failing businesses do not achieve this so let them go.

St. Bede’s College although a charitable status company in its own right is totally owned by the Salford Diocese and in particular by the Bishop of Salford.  He and the Trustees of the Diocese have no care for the college’s marvellous academic past, they can only see the slur that it has had and is making on the Diocese’s present good name and coupled with the fact that the school footprint on Alexander Road and its playing fields on Brantingham Road must be the finest piece of real estate in Manchester, makes the decision easy for them.  This lack of emotion from the Diocese and its Trustees tells me that it would be in their interests for them to take the money and run.

So to answer your question Marsha, I am not insistent on running the College down, in a lot of respects I hold the College dear.  what I am insistent on his changing the management before it’s too late.  Quinlan, Kearney and Pike must go and possibly that Judas Andy Dandy whose head was turned by a bag of coins.

22 thoughts on “Comment From A Bedian Parent.

  1. I think we are at an impasse. Both sides are dug in and we now have intermittent shelling.I can understand why parents and present students want to defend “their” Bedes. I don’t really think they understand what “our” Bedes was. Duggan was a sort of Stalin. Inscrutable,capricious- and ultimately vicious. He enjoyed his power. He played mind-games with people and enjoyed making them feel worthless and frightened. He hurt the vulnerable and psychologically weak. It beggars belief that such a man was in charge of the education of children and young adults to the age of 18. Lets hope the legal case brings about catharsis in the real sense of the word.

  2. To: Brian Lefley

    I couldn’t agree more. It needs someone with real courage who is impartial, with no axe to grind one particular way or another. This person would need to be truly informed of past, present and likely future misdemeanours and problems in order to judge the situation correctly and make a well-judged attempt at a solution. Does such a person exist?

    Since Bede’s has been operating behind one smokescreen or another for the last 60 years, whilst shelling and sniping at the opposition i.e. anyone who doesn’t agree with them 100%, it’s extremely unlikely to happen. I’m afraid until then,the rebels i.e. people who disagree with Bede’s in any away, will now accept nothing less than 100% unconditional surrender, which is very sad.

    A satisfactory outcome for them may not merely be the winning of the abuse case, it needs to go further with the clearing out of the perpetrators of the code of Omerta, who hid the abuse for half a century and more.

    I’m not holding my breath, so let’s bring on the lawyers, then let’s see what happens after the dust has settled after that. I can currently see no way forward until this court case is resolved one way another.

    I agree with Brian 100% that Bede’s is not what it was. In more recent times, any pretence of academic achievement seems to have been abandoned. The crème de la crème? It hasn’t been that for years, Brian, mind you I’m not so sure it was even in our time there. It most certainly isn’t now, that’s why people are voting with their feet.

  3. People are indeed voting with their feet, in significant numbers. My spies tell me that parents and staff parents are even paying considerably more money to other private schools to get their children out.

    And what is the response? Well in my email inbox last week came a scanned letter to parents from the Monsignor himself. The theme? Unity. And introducing a significant of new teachers. In most cases NEW teachers. One on even yet qualified.

    So is the school expanding? Well it must be because not once did the good cleric mention the number of experienced and talented teachers that have either gone at Easter or are about to go. No they are ignored.

    My suspicions and information turns out to be correct, confirmed by non less than the erstwhile Chairman of Govenors.

    Oh and I also hear that after invading the prep and decimating it Kearney and Pike have retreated back up to their oak lined offices on the first floor and left the acting head of the prep to clean up the mess that they have now washed their hands of. I’m told they will not be at a scheduled parents meeting this week as they had planned to be. I understand too many questions were tabled in advance, questions that had no answers.

    So in the old style just shrug the shoulders and hide in the office.

    1. Well Sean, it does seem that the ship is listing badly. my news this morning is that two of the leaving staff this summer are Mr Loader and that inspirational teacher of English, Mr Berry. Two men who have served the school for years. It is a shame to see such value go and not be replaced. They are having their leaving do at St Kentigern’s Club in Fallowfield on 5th July so it would be nice if some of you Old Bedians could get along and support these two men in this sad time. I do hope Mr Kearney stays away but you know what he is like for parties and a glass of beer.

  4. I’m afraid St Kentigern’s School was in the MEN last night for all the wrong reasons, as an investigation into the misuse of school funds is being investigated. Unlike the Alma Mater, there’s been no sweeping of any alleged misdemeanours under the carpet, a full investigation is being undertaken. If only that happened at Bede’s. Dream on…

    Back to the main point. Can anyone factually and truthfully contradict what Sean is saying regarding Bede’s, also what’s the balance of entrance and exit teachers? Everybody knows new teachers are cheaper, almost certainly not as good as experienced ones. I repeat the maxim ‘Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width’. £9K in fees looks like buying you a standard of teaching you thought you were getting, but more and more seem to be questioning the value of the product, deciding it’s not worth it and going elsewhere.

    As regards the missive from the Head Honcho, unity my arse, as Ricky Tomlinson would say. The SS Bede is fast approaching the iceberg, it’s every man or woman for themselves (and that includes the staff), self-preservation will be the order of the day. If the ship does go down, no one will be winning any prizes for going down with it. I for one would be looking to commandeer a lifeboat for myself if I were a staff member. However, it looks as if a number have already done so and the number of boats is not limitless…..

    Also let’s see how many nanoseconds it takes for someone to rubbish the teachers who have left or about to leave the Hallowed Halls. I’d be amazed if mud (or worse) wasn’t slung in their direction. Dissension from the Party Line will not be tolerated!

  5. Hi Paul,
    As an Old Bedian of fairly recent vintage and one whose friends still have siblings at the College, I feel that some assertions you, or Messrs Carr and Taylor, have made on here in recent days and weeks need to be addressed. I am in no way an apologist for abuses that have taken place at St Bede’s and find them, and subsequent attempts to deny or conceal them, utterly reprehensible and beneath contempt. However, I cannot find a link between those historic abuses and the current management of the school. Salford Diocese and its Safeguarding Commission should surely be the focus of your ire, and not Mr Kearney, Mrs Pike, Dr Dando et al., however successfully or otherwise these individuals are running the school. Your comments about the latter of these in particular seem to be merely vindictive and unwarranted: in what sense is he a Judas? When he coached my football team several years ago, I always found him to be a thoroughly decent and approachable man. Having encountered him on several occasions since, nothing has changed in that respect.
    Anyway, the reason for my posting is to share a few other concerns:
    i) Your approach to the anonymity of contributors is not even-handed. Comments which include very valid points are disregarded because the person posting them doesn’t “have the courage” to announce their identity. People could have all manner of reasons for not wishing to identify themselves- perhaps they are posting at work when they shouldn’t be, maybe they are friends of one of your children, it could be that they simply think it’s none of your business- whatever the case, their points should be judged on their own merits because, after all, you ask your readers to do the same when you quote your anonymous sources and ‘spies’. Does the fact that these contact you directly give them a monopoly on the truth? Surely the fact they have done so suggests they are disgruntled, have something of an axe to grind with the current management, and may therefore not be the most objective of observers? Could it perhaps be the case that the silent majority of teachers at St Bede’s are not any more dissatisfied than their colleagues in other schools and colleges? I don’t know for sure, but nor, I think, do you.
    ii) Mr Loader and Mr Berry are excellent teachers and must have spent close to a century at the College between them as pupils and teachers. I was taught by one and went on several trips with the latter, and agree that they will be hard to replace. Some continuity is provided by the fact that both their daughters teach at St Bede’s; Claire Berry as a teacher of English, in fact. Both of these men have come to the end of their illustrious careers- both are over sixty years old- and are leaving school for a hopefully happy retirement rather than on a point of principle. I am also reliably well-informed that Mr Loader has spent a year training his replacement, a talented geologist whose name sadly escapes me at the moment!
    iii) Sean Carr seems exceptionally well-informed and privy to matters, such as the recruitment of new teachers, that nobody outside of the College could be expected to know. Who exactly are you, Sean? If I were a cynical man, I would say that you were one of the disgruntled staff I mentioned in point i) above.
    iv) Paul Taylor contends that any pretence at academic achievement has been abandoned and that the school no longer educates the ‘crème de la crème’ . The website tells me that nine students have won places to study at Oxbridge, better than local rivals such as Cheadle Hulme from what I can discover, which would seem to refute Paul’s claim.
    I have written at greater length than I had intended, but felt that some of these points needed to be addressed. I hope you have the inclination (and the space!) to include my whole comment.

    I wish you luck in your quest to gain justice for the victims of historic abuse and hope that this becomes the main focus of your blog once more rather than, as it seems to me, biased and unbalanced attacks on the current school.

    1. Liam,
      If you cannot see the link between what you call “historic abuse” and the present day school you obviously do not understand the iniquitous results of abuse. It sticks like shit to a blanket and is one of the main reasons today why there is no take up on places at the College. So unless the College and by that I mean the present day management of the College confront this situation and speak out against it and the abusers and explain what they have done to counteract any future outbreak then the matter will not go away and the past pupil parents and those with sense and wherewithal will stay away.
      There is no point at all in sticking your head in the sand, remember some of this abuse was only a few years away and not that “historic”
      In answer to your point i) above, to the best of my knowledge I have allowed every anonymous Tom, Dick and Harry space on this blog but I have certainly decried their anonymity. With the people who write privately to me and I do not know, they have all proven their identity to me and that may I say is for both for and agin the argument.

  6. Sounds to me like you could be a spy Sean. You certainly “know” a lot at any rate.

    I never tire of your elegant metaphors Mr Taylor.

    Surely Mr Berry and Mr Loader are at retirement age now? I never was a Geologist, so didn’t have any experience of Mr Loader – I seem to remember he was very genial and amusing. However, Mr Berry was an equally terrifying and inspirational man: a truly great teacher. You don’t simply replace that experience, As with any organisation, you try to find the right blend of experience and youth. A quick glance at the school’s website suggests that some of the staff have grown old together. Some young heads will probably do the place good.

    Honestly, Paul, do you never want to write something nice?

  7. What I do know is that Mr Loader’s retirement was well scheduled and is not in response to anything caused by the post-Barber regime. Mr Berry is also well into his 60s and could well be retiring under normal circumstances as people do at that age (and have no evidence either way on the latter case).

    If I can get up North on the 5th July, I will certainly try to attend their fair-well do as they we both great teachers for me during my time in the sixth form at St Bede’s.

  8. To Liam, Benedict and James,
    I mentioned Mr Loader and Mr Berry in my comment the other day because they were examples of the excellent teaching that Bede’s have had and will find difficult to replace with newly qualified staff. They were mentioned really to celebrate their illustrious careers and I am glad the three of you join with me in celebrating their time at Bede’s.

  9. To Liam, Benedict and James J

    Nice to know the college is doing so wonderfully well. The real situation may be somewhat different. It would appear that the ‘well-informed’ Sean is precisely that, I can’t see you contradicting much of what he says, which can mean only one thing – it’s true. You see, when a light is shone on a very dark place, you may then not like what you are able to see, in some cases things which have been hidden for 60 years, things you weren’t supposed to know about. The above postings leave many issues raised by Sean and Paul Malpas either implausibly explained away or completely ignored, since they require truthful answers which may be politely deemed inconvenient.

    The fact that 9 students went to Oxbridge is to be lauded, however this does not off-set the rather average performance of the school overall (see below). Did 9 students get to Oxbridge on a regular basis, or was this a one-off? The need to be open-handed and truthful about the academic performance seems to be missing here. If the place was so academically brilliant, why the need to swell the numbers with sponsored students? I can’t see how the two statements of fact are mutually compatible. By your reckoning, people should be almost fighting to get into Bede’s, clearly they’re not, the reduced fees being offered (can anyone contradict this point?) clearly demonstrate that. I think a little bit of reality is called for here, let’s not get carried away with a statistically small number of successes, however merited they are to be. Let’s consider the other 85- 90% as well, who didn’t go to Oxbridge. Or don’t they matter?

    No mention of the teachers leaving at Easter I note, can we can confirm/deny the overall reduction of numbers please? No mention of seasoned teachers being replaced by cheaper (that’s the key word) new ones in order to trim expenses. Let’s have a bit of honesty for once, remember Bede’s is first and foremost a business, don’t kid yourselves. I note the airbrushing effect of ignoring what is actually going on often seems to bring forward some excuse, however illogical or implausible.

    No metaphors this time, I’m afraid, Just a pervading smell of decay from Bede’s, which no amount of air-freshener can mask. For a start, Google St Bede’s, Wikipedia appears regarding the school’s historic abuse. Someone tried to tamper with a factually correct posting, it’s now embedded and cannot be altered at will, however unpleasant and inconvenient it may be to the College. Throw in the MEN’s and other national paper recent reports regarding this, Paul Malpas’s blog and simply realise the matter can’t be hidden. Ignore it and us, gentlemen, it will all go away, in your dreams……..

    I’m sad to say what we have here is the impasse mentioned above by Brian Lefley, it’s there for all to see. Let’s see how the ‘Honourable’ St Bede’s College approaches the impending court case. There is still a slim chance they will do the right thing, but history in this case is not on their side. Time for you to think up some new excuses, or more likely, ignore any bad news resulting from it.

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

  10. I thnk you’ll find the information on the new teachers was sent out in a letter by Quinlan to all parents last week. It named them and their (lack of) experience. I have a scanned copy from a parent at the school who is a friend of mine. Unfortunately the stage of school their child is at makes it impossible for them to join the many others and vote with their feet.

    If the school is so great and the leadership so wonderful why, if my sources are correct, have a least 5 staff recently removed their children from the school or are about to, leaving barely a couple of staff children in situ? Im also reliably informed almost half the prep children are off too as a DIRECT result of the current management

    Also with regard to History. The head of the subject left at Easter. His position wasn’t filled. Fact. If you don’t believe me ask Kearney directly. Call him now and post the answer here.

    Anyway being a thoroughly decent bloke he gave his A level students permission to email him at his St Bedes email address. On learning of this after Easter and just before the exams his email address was deleted, with I’m told full knowledge that it had been shared to help his former students.

    I also hear that certain important people at City are raising eyebrows. Believe me if they don’t renew their contract, or when their academy school is completed Bedes in mortal danger of survival in its current form.

    Maybe that’s the master plan to pay off the lawsuit?

  11. To Sean

    Fair points in your posting, no flannel, facts well stated. I’ve no reason to suspect the veracity of what you’ve said, the fact that you’re clearly so well informed must surely be a source of worry to the authorities at Bede’s, in their less than successful attempts in trying to keep the lid on various recent inconvenient events. Let’s see if anyone actually contradicts what you’ve said, with irrefutable proof to back up their stance.

    I’d suspect the City academy was, from the College’s point of view, borne out of the sheer financial short-term necessity of filling so many empty places. However, in electing to go down this route, there was always the danger that other prospective genuine, independent fee-payers would look very hard at what was on offer (let’s face it, there’s plenty of choice, no shortage of available fee-paying places in the area) and decide there was better academic value elsewhere.

    Once a brand or product (that’s after all what Bede’s is trying to sell) is tarnished, the repercussions can be disastrous. An extreme case in point was the Hoover Free Flights disaster of the early 1990s. The PR catastrophe resulting from this sent this company from being the market leader 20 years ago to be currently struggling to stay in the top 10, in sales terms way behind the market leaders. It could be argued that at the moment the Alma Mater is suffering a similar crisis in confidence.

    How to win back confidence? I can’t see that having an almost totally clergy-based Board of Governors will give anything other than the impression the College is retreating within itself. Let’s face it, when it comes to being open and above board in its dealings with others, the Salford Diocese has ‘previous’ for withholding information, obfuscation, denial and in some cases being so evasive as for people to wonder what they think they’re trying to achieve. The impression might be they are battening down the hatches for the forthcoming abuse case.

    No Sean, a complete outsider, with no axe to grind, would take one look at Bede’s and decide this wasn’t the place they wanted their children to go to, the falling numbers of new pupils give testimony to this. The fact that in addition children are leaving in such numbers points to the place going in one direction, and it isn’t up. I’m glad it’s not my problem. Where’s a Superhead when you need one?

    A new Board of Governors, mostly non-clergy, might be a good start. Just a thought.

  12. Paul

    Good points. Interestingly I have no axe to grind in general terms but the reported (to me and others) problems are endangering the school. When I hear of the supposed behaviours and ridiculous so called justification of those behavious it strikes right at the principles of fairness and accountability.

    Things are undoubtedly wrong. Are they terminal? Who knows. Maybe my friends that are close to it are over egging it out of sheer frustrationbut the level and type of accusations of mis-management are too great in my opinion.

    If the malaise continues the crisis of confidence that has already started may well reach critical levels as you point out.

    I would like to see the school return to academic excellence. I would like to see the school as nationally renowned establishment of such. I want the swathes of dedicated and consciencious teachers to have a safe future and prosper in a happy environment, so too the children and their parents.

    However I don’t believe this will be achieved the way things are going. If I am wrong I will be delighted. I genuinely have no personal skin in the game but as a general observer of this and other situations that greatly concern me I do watch (and challenge) with interest.

    Maybe if I was a school parent I would be the one to openly challenge Msr Quinlan and the school management. In fact I would for sure.

    Unless people do in influential numbers I don’t believe anything will change.

    I suppose now only time will tell.

  13. To Sean and other Bedian realists

    I’m delighted you, Sean, are able to shine a light at get to at least some of the truth of what is really happening. No amount of PR and flannel can hide the falling number of true new school entrants, currently being kept artificially high by sponsored part-time students and raiding the Prep School. I’m afraid the latter smacks of extreme short-termism, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ‘merging’ of this with the main school in order to further cut costs, maybe even a complete closing down of this part as its numbers rapidly dwindle.

    Make no mistake, this is a place in crisis, already the antics of the management have been nigh on impossible to explain away, the sheer incompetence there for nearly all all to see. Now, on top of this, is the upcoming court case which will inevitably drag the place yet further through the mud. The relish with which the MEN in particular, together with the national dailies, have reported sex abuse cases, devoting many pages (let alone column inches) to the matter does not bode well for the College.

    Locally, over the past six months the papers have had a field day, Stuart Hall, Jimmy Savile, Fred Talbot, St Ambrose Altrincham, then along comes Bede’s…..

    On a more parochial level, Bede’s got the big splash in the MEN in May regarding the resigning of many of the Governors prior to the court case. It may be some have resigned in order to tell the truth about what happened, thus distancing themselves from the College by leaving the Board. More likely, it’s a legal ploy to distance themselves from the place if the roof should cave in after the court case.

    No, as Paul Malpas states, the Diocese owns a business (remember that word, that what Bede’s really is) which is located on two large areas of real estate off Alexandra Road South and Withington Road/Brantingham Road. I looked up house prices in the area, average 3- bed semis in the area are £250K plus, considerably dearer than my side of town, the North, where the average is 25 -30% lower. Just think how many houses you could build on that land should the nuclear option of closing the place happen. To pretend that someone in the Diocese isn’t considering the possibility, when currently the school is barely breaking even. would be stretching credulity.

    It would appear that should the demise of the school actually happen, the Diocese financially would still be quids in. What better reason for recruiting teachers on short-term contracts could you have than you can dismiss them at very short notice, with little or no redundancy pay. Everything going on currently points to a short-term outlook, leaving open the option of a closure. Teachers currently leaving in significant numbers, who have a far greater idea of what is actually going on, voting with their feet, confirms the situation. Either an amazing number of coincidences are unfortunately happening all at one time, or a concerted plan is being enacted. I for one don’t know, but like you say, time will tell.

    My late father’s maxim was ‘Don’t watch what they say, watch what they do’. In the case of Bede’s, I inevitably tend to ignore the PR, sadly having to rely on the MEN and the press for some of what is really going on. More fortunately, you seem to able to find out more than our local Ace Reporters, the really strange thing is very rarely does someone actually contradict what you are saying. There can only be one conclusion – what you’re saying is true.

    Finally, we would both wish the place could return to the academic excellence of yesteryear, but we both know with the current regime in place, that isn’t going to happen. The easier option is that people will send their children elsewhere. The parents won’t complain, one by one the numbers will fall, siblings have been and will be sent elsewhere, Prep school pupils will move on at age 11. This, from what you’re implying, is already happening. When some of the teachers themselves don’t send their own kids to Bede’s (no one is contradicting that statement so far), what sort of signal does that send to prospective fee-payers?

    This situation has all the elements of a car crash about to happen and it appears the brakes have failed…..

  14. It’s ok panic over. All the problems are sorted out ready for the summer. St Bede’s prep school has been renamed St Bede’s College Junior Division.

    Well done to you Msr Quinlan. We knew you would come good in the end and prove us all wrong.

    1. Well thank you Sean for sending us this marvelous piece of news, I am sure we will all sleep more comfortably in our beds tonight in knowing that the future of the school is secured and that the historic standards will be maintained. Quinlan has indeed surpassed himself – St Bede’s Junior Division eh, it does have a certain timbre to it. Am I thinking football here or possibly Parliament?

  15. Paul

    Before you leave Quinlan, Kearney,Spike, et al for the summer a last post from me on the topic as well.

    I’m told last Friday it was the retirement Mass for Mr Berry and Mr Loader, with an invite only bash at St Kents later.

    However despite probably 75 years service to St Bede’s between them neither the Headmaster or the Chairpriest of the Governors could be bothered to attend the Mass.

    One last thing before DK heads off to France ( I hope Mrs K has recovered in time) I hear that he has dismissed with the usual shrug of the shoulders the parent action that I hear is very much going on in the background. Dismissed as nothing more than misguided friends of wronged staff.

    Summer, often like half time for the city boys no doubt, has indeed come at a good time.

    However I hear people are not going for their bovil just yet.

    Happy summer to all.

    1. Thanks Sean for that last tit-bit, it does seem that DK and Florid are not men at all or perhaps they are agnostic and do not approve of religious flimflammery. When I said I was leaving the subject alone for the summer did not imply that I was not open to some important bits of news like your reference to parent agitation. Perhaps you or somebody could make us more aware of this new initiative by parents because it is in our own best interests to support and propagate worthwhile causes.

  16. To Paul and particularly Sean

    I’ve recently been working at Bolton School, a fee-paying institution (fees currently around £10k per annum) which seems to be going in the opposite direction to Bede’s, student numbers now around the 2,500 mark. Over the last 5 years several new buildings have been added to the already impressive existing ones, this illustrates that not all fee-paying schools are in a downward spiral, despite what several Bede’s apologists have been trying to tell us.

    Incidentally, have one guess what Bolton School call their Junior School? How about the Junior Division? Maybe that’s where Bede’s got the idea from. Unfortunately the similarity ends there, one school clearly on the up, the other scrabbling around for any sponsors it can find, seemingly going only one way – down.

  17. The more I hear of Bede’s nowadays the more it occurs to me that it would be a wonderful place to put an aquarium.

    1. You might be right Dave, there are certainly a lot of bulging eyes and open gobs amongst the management that could surely fill the tanks in the interim whilst money is scarce and customers few.

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