Friends Of St Bede’s College In Manchester (FOBCIM)

Let me introduce you to a new group, a pressure group if you like, who have resolved not to pressure anybody as long as things are going along the right road.  We are Friends of St Bede’s College in Manchester (FOBCIM) or FOBs for short

I set out in 2011 when Daniel Kearney was made headmaster of St Bede’s College in Manchester to right a wrong.  Having received the trite note and a note was all it was, from Monsignor Michael Quinlan, once head of Governors at the school, to all parents to say that Michael Barber  had gone and Daniel Kearney was in place, I smelt a rat.  I smelt it straight away because of the speed of transition.  Why?  Because in the best run places that is not how things are done.  The end of one headship and the start of another is a careful and predetermined programme of events destined for it to be seamless to the observer.  It can last for a year or even longer whilst discovery of new and adieus of old take place.  But this soft shoe shuffle by Quinlan and Kearney warranted careful inspection, in fact it seemed highly suspect.

More or less immediately my suspicions turned into definite evidence as I started to learn of what was happening at the school under the Kearney/Pike foremanship.  All sorts of people were contacting me telling me of their disquiet with the way things were panning out.  Time honoured methods were being changed for no apparent reason, experienced staff were leaving in droves, parents were no longer treating the place as a “must go to” for their children and those parents with children at the school found themselves caught in a trap.  It not being the place they had signed up to years previously.  They felt they had no say in their children’s destiny, in short they felt their fears were being disregarded, in fact ignored.

Over the years since that Kearney/Pike putsch in 2011 disaffected people have been contacting me, disaffected people very close to the school who could see the wood from the trees and were alerted by this blog.  Concerned old boys, trapped parents and those not so trapped who had the ability to pull their children out of Bede’s and send them elsewhere and dare I say it, abused whistle blowers.  Not of course sexually abused people but those who felt the quality of their professional lives had been downgraded since the new regime emerged.  People within the aegis of the school who thought Kearney’s methods was an abuse of their personal and professional standards.  People who thought they had a right to have their thoughts recognised.

These people did not become a group, they were individuals who saw the value of this blog and the power it gave them to fight back anonymously by reporting verbatim what was going on.  None of them knew another but all had a common cause.  Between us we achieved a fair amount and although we cannot take the whole of the credit for Kearney’s and Quinlan’s demise, our programme of disparagement of the duo’s behaviour must have helped.  I know for a fact that Kearney was rendered dyspeptic by some of our revelations on occasions when if he possessed a cooler head he would have been better displaying it.  No, I have to say they brought most of their bad fortune to the table themselves.

In the last six months since Kearney’s eventual protracted departure we have remained calm, we have discussed where we need to go and we have all decided to give the new head, Mr Richard Robson, a fair crack of the whip.  At least his advent was not the result of a nefarious back-stabbing operation as was Kearney’s, albeit a risky and shabbily managed process that saw the school produce a new head out of a hat within the space of about six weeks instead of the normal lengthy process of discovery to ensure that the new choice is really fit for purpose with no attached baggage.

We, the disaffected individuals of yore are now bound up in a loose Association.  We remain a cellular structure, nobody knows who the next man is, except for myself, they all remain anonymous but there is communication between ourselves using me as the channel.  A little like that scary organisation at the turn of the 20th century in Ireland, the Irish Republican Brotherhood or the IRB as they were known.  The difference is that we are not a bunch of murderers and rebels but just decent people seeking the truth and trying to help the disquieted.

We will over the rest of this school year observe, listen and say nowt, unless of course there is something that absolutely needs saying.  Mr Robson looks a decent enough chap with no particular religious ideology like Kearney brought back from southern Spain with him.  Our only worry is his lack of experience at senior management level at a seven or eight hundred pupil school which has or had a high level of success in public examination.  At this level the head has to keep so many balls in the air, one moment of distraction can mean empty hands and no balls at all.  Certainly however  his early experience at stage school as taught him how to look the part, is early snaps at the College show him to be neatly turned out and fresh looking and in his opening address on the school website he did not appear to have the rabid dog mentality about discipline that Kearney portrayed in his preface in 2011.

We wish him luck because he will surely need it, the fabric of the school is rent with uncertainty and past experiences, with senior management jockeying for position in the new era and with a Board of Governors massively endowed with sacerdotal ineptitude, disgruntled former senior management and a sprinkling of trite nonsense with the likes of Helen West, who supposedly reported me to the English police, the Garda Siochana and Uncle Tom Cobley and threatened to close my blog down.

As an opening introduction we thought we, the loose association known as FOBCIM or FOBs for short would send him an open letter to tell him that we are on his side.

Dear Mr Robson,

Welcome on board the good ship Bede and we mean that sincerely because we know you have your work cut out to make a success of this daunting mission that you have set up for yourself.  In a way your introduction to the school has been helped by the sterling work of Sandra Pike, who without the interference of the dummy chucker Kearney has managed to plug the hole in the keel of the school and steadied the sinking ship and brought it back from its almost terminal list.  It is now limping along at slow ahead from a desultory stand by and its your job to get it full ahead by the end of the year.  Excuse the nautical language but for three years that is what the school reminded me of, a large ship in a wallowing sea without rudder or power.  The power has been returned and is awaiting your dynamic input.  Every thing is in place for you to make a magnificent success of this voyage or fail miserably if your dysfunctional engine room lets you down.

Staff morale is low after a year of uncertainty and three years of inefficient tinkering and that probably is your first objective.  It does not need saying that the College’s Safeguarding issues need to be met head on and the onus is more on good practice than lip-service as Kearney discovered.  One real way of achieving this is by admitting to the historic sexual abuse of pupils of the College, holding up your hands and apologising wholeheartedly to the many hundreds of abused kids that have gone through the maelstrom of past College life.  Reconciliation is the key.  Admittance, acknowledgement and acceptance of the dark deeds allowed in St Bede’s College  to my knowledge, from the late 1940s and up to and probably beyond the turn of the 21st century.  In fact I doubt whether the problem has really left the school but Byrne and Moynihan will fill you in on the nitty gritty, if you do not already know.  If that approach fails you can always come to this blog where we should be able to chat in confidence.

Be careful with your dealings with the Board, having 33% of the board as priests of the Catholic Church is about 24% too much in this day and age and the looming presence of those two erstwhile stalwarts of the College’s glory days, the said B & M, does not help.  They were put there in 2011 by Quinlan to help Kearney in his nursery hour of need.  Little help they gave him for all they did when the pressure mounted was to resign and were then brought back again to give Kearney his coup de grace.  The shadowy and undeserving figure of Coffey as Vice Chair of the Board seems to give him more importance than he intellectually deserves but he is obviously there as an Arabic plant to ensure the Sheikh keeps his foot in the door of College life.

You will have been made aware of the disastrous path that Daniel Kearney trod helped in no small way by the behind scenes tinkering of the Diocese and its acolytes.  So we suggest an arms length relationship with Salford and this new and not so nice and grim successor to the Brainless one, Bishop John Arnold, whose recent history suggests he does not take prisoners.

So the best of luck and we will support you wholeheartedly providing you do the right things and we will certainly give you time to ensure your blueprint becomes reality.  But one final thing before we leave you in peace, or three as it turns out,

1. Why does Fr “Gus” Dearman still give his address as the school when the previous regime told everybody that he no longer resides there.

2. For heaven’s sake get somebody working on the College website, it is a disgrace and needs bringing into the 21st century.

3. Why is that erstwhile guardian and bully boy of the College, Fr Timothy Hopkins, the one time eyes and ears of Quinlan in College propriety, still skulking away in a private house in Crumpsall.  With his past troubles behind him supposedly and his young age for him, would he not be better off performing parochial duties, providing he is allowed and giving the likes of those two honest to goodness servants of the College, Jack Rigby and Kevin O’Connor some respite from their duties, as they are well into their 80s now and deserve a little respect.

We hope you have a fair wind and a following sea.

Members of FOBs

29 thoughts on “Friends Of St Bede’s College In Manchester (FOBCIM)

  1. Paul,

    I certainly hope so. I’d suggest Mr Robson will at least be better informed by reading this blog than he ever would be by placing his trust in the Diocese of Salford and its acolytes. I wish him all the best, honestly and sincerely, folks.

    You state that the clerical content of the College’s Board of Directors at 33% is too high and should be reduced. I’d suggest by an exact figure. 33% further of the total Board members would come to mind i.e. a total clear-out.

    Then perhaps this College should be back to being what it effectively has been since 1976, an Independent Fee-Paying school, competing with the likes of MGS,Bolton School, Bury GS and many others.

    It must be hoped that the College should be able to wean itself off the reliance on Sheik Mansour’s generosity. I still argue that these football students really do not have a place in what is supposed to be a centre of academic excellence unless they are of a suitable academic competence. Ability to kick and head a ball should be of secondary importance.

    People, in general, do not send their children to Bede’s to give them a good, all round Catholic (or even Christian) education. They can probably get that at any State-run Faith School. What they cough up the £10K or so per annum for is for something better.

    What causes problems for Bede’s, the child abuse allegations notwithstanding, are a number of shortcomings. Briefly summarised as follows:-

    Poor exam results, in comparison to local fee-paying schools.

    Instability regarding senior manangement and Board of Directors.

    Overbearing influence of the Diocese of Salford on the way the College is run.

    Less than acceptable displayed level of competence by the lay members of the Board.

    Problems with ISI College Inspection, especially Safeguarding (their observations, not mine).

    Cutbacks in experienced staff and staff numbers level.

    The result of the above problems has been a severe drop in numbers at the College (down from around 1200 in 2007, to, at the last ISI inspection, 800 or so)

    Also the drastic fall in numbers at the Preparatory School (sources say the number has halved in 5 years) do not bode well for the future level of new students intending to come to Bede’s.

    Then there is the actual fall in overall yearly student numbers, causing financial constraints.

    On the one positive note, there is a new Headmaster, who is not tainted with the previous autocratic regime. It may be time to realise this College is a place of education (albeit currently not an excellent one) and focus first, and foremost, on improving this aspect, together whilst addressing the College’s dreadful record on Safeguarding.

    On that positive note, I bid you adieu, adios and sayonara…

  2. To Brian Lefley:

    I note the obituaries in today’s press are not exactly what one would call glowing references. I can’t see the Fleet Street Boys making the same mistake of hagiography here as they did regarding a certain Jimmy Savile.

    With rumours galore abounding regarding the late departed former Home Secretary, it will interesting to see if people previously frit (to coin an expression) of publishing allegations now feel free to do so, without any fear of being took to court for libel.

    Open season resulted once our ‘ Now Then’ DJ joined the Choir Invisible’, his one-time chauffeur ‘Ugly’ Ray Teret (has a nickname ever been more apt?) will almost certainly die in prison following his recent 25 year sentence.

    So another alleged child abuser may have cheated the hangman, along with several other well-known politicians.

    It’s all very well nicking celebrities, but I’d suggest it’s about time the scalps of politicians, the judiciary, senior police, senior civil servants and even senior armed force officers be added to the belt of our erstwhile not-very-impressive P C Plod.

    With the Establishment also doing its best to prevent the truth coming out, the omnishambles over the Child Abuse Chairman, 6 months on still no-one in situ, I’m not confident of a positive outcome.

    1. Paul Taylor, Although I like your comment I have to take you to task regarding paragraph 2. I and certainly a few more people were never afraid of taking Leon Brittan to task over his lust for young boy’s arses. See my blog postings of:-
      a) March 26th 2013 entitled Tim Rustige – Prisoner of Conscience or Martyr Against Paedophilia.
      b) April 20th 2013 – Tim Rustige and His Bid for Freedom from the Scottish Gestapo.
      c) 9th July 2014 – Rusty, Legless and Slosh – A Positive and Two Negatives.
      Sadly we learn today that Brittan who was MP for Whitby in the late 1970s and early 80s enjoyed the pleasures of young boys in both Scarborough and Whitby with his two bum chums Jimmy Savile and his ice cream seller mate, Lord Mayor of Scarborough, Peter Jaconelli.
      Undoubtedly it will all come out, especially the news that he was going to take everybody down with him so that MI5 conveniently cancered him.

  3. To Paul Malpas:

    I should have said, in general, most people were afraid to post articles. Certainly no mainstream newspapers ever did, but no doubt if they’d tried to, like Don Hale and the Barbara Castle dossier, they would have D notices slapped on them preventing publication, citing ‘publication not in the Public Interest.’

    The fact that these people in positions of authority have got away way abuse for decades should not fill anyone with confidence that the truth will eventually come out.

    All that seems to happen is to happen is that we have to wait for someone to die before the press then print what can only be then allegations. Remember, Jimmy Savile was never convicted of any crime whilst alive. The fact that he wasn’t speak volumes, I’d suggest.

  4. To Paul Malpas;

    It didn’t take long for the ‘Heroic Seekers of Truth’ i.e. the National Press, to actually start publishing what Leon Brittan had been up to. The Sunday Mirror last weekend directly stated his involvement at the Young Boys Knocking Shop, otherwise known as the Elms Guest House, Barnes, South West London, from the late 70s up to 1982, by which time the place was raided and effectively closed down.

    All the usual suspects were named (the dead ones anyway i.e. Cyril Smith, Anthony Blunt and a few others) along with insinuations regarding ex-Government Ministers still alive, police chiefs, the senior judiciary and even an M I 5 senior operative.

    The owner of the bordello was charged with keeping a ‘Disorderly House’, no one was ever charged with having sex with under aged youths. The owner died in 1990 from an insulin overdose, but police have documents which list some of the aforementioned persons who paid regular visits to the guest house.

    Enquires are ‘ongoing’, but I’m not hold my breath on this one

  5. Former Ambassador Peter Hayman’s reputation re child abuse, thrown to the wolves on last night’s 10 o’clock news.

    That’s all right though. He’s been dead 20 years.

  6. I wonder how many of the bedes pupils are local to the school?Any chance of them doing a William Hulme and scrapping the fees?

  7. To all:

    A little snippet of information, one which confirms beyond any doubt the recent upheavals at Bede’s during the sinking of the ship S S Kearney.

    Just perusing the Bede’s web-site today, the magazine Baeda for 2014 lists all the staff who left last year, around eight (if memory serves me correctly), some of whom had 10, and in some cases, 20 years experience.

    That to me seems a rather high turnover in staff for one year, none of those listed was actually retiring, according to the articles. I seem to remember in the recent ISI report teaching staff numbers were given in the 50 -60 range.

    Whichever one looks at it, that’s one helluva turnover of staff. It reinforces my belief that a large percentage of the more able ones have jumped ship due to Kearney’s and the Board’s antics, to a one they’ve all gone to other teaching jobs.

    What is the calibre of those replacing them? In a considerable number of cases, we’re led to believe it’s recently, inexperienced newly qualified teachers, who come at a lower premium.

    ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ as they used to say.

    All the best of luck, Mr Robson. You’re going to need it. Especially when also you’re lumbered with a Board which comprises an overload of dog collars, past-retirement ex-staff and incompetent parent representatives.

  8. To Roy:

    You’re not the first one to make that suggestion, if things continue to be as dire as they are (numbers of pupils falling from 1200 to 800 between 2007 and 2013, according to the ISIS reports), this particular nuclear option may have to be considered. But, oh the shame that things should have come to this!

    From a Diocesan point of view, the financially best option would be to close the place down. Here’s why.

    Taking a strictly business point of view here, they need to dig out the long serving staff first, as they will cost the most in redundancy pay. It would seem possible (see my posting above) that this might already have been partly enacted, 8 staff with a fair number of years at the Alma Mater left last year. A fair number went on to other teaching jobs, no retirements here.

    Thus the redundancy costs of closing the place down and laying off staff have been greatly reduced. The remaining staff, some of whom have only been there for less than 5 years, will get minimal redundancy payments.

    On the other hand, the location of the main college is in a reasonable area for private redevelopment, the playing fields even more so. Knock down a few pavilions and goalposts and what have you got – perfectly flat land to build on, Metrolink station just down the road. A developer’s and estate agent’s dream come true. Furthermore, land prices are currently at an all-time high.

    Sheik Mansour is single-handedly keeping Bede’s afloat, make no mistake here, witness last year’s accounts for confirmation of this. His apprentices, as £10k a pop, bring in considerably more money than Bede’s profits for the year.

    To stick, twist or burn, as they used to say when playing Brag. Sticking would seem to be the current option, but for how long?

  9. To Brian Lefley:

    I rather fancy that, along with the dossiers sent to Leon Brittan, these files will have been shredded a long time ago. Since he was rumoured to have been involved in child abuse, is anyone in the slightest surprised?

    When it comes to the High Court case for abuse, the first line of defence from the Alma Mater will be that they were not aware of it. After Tony Duggan was shunted off ignominiously in 1966,, then ex-jailbird Billy Boy Green picked up the baton in the mid-late 70s and was allowed to operate unnoticed for over a decade, only being found out many years later, well after he’d gone from Bede’s.

    Imagine having to explain to a judge how your Safeguarding of pupils was so lax, that once it happened in the 50s to 60s, you let almost exactly the same happen again in the 70s to 80s.

  10. Paul, is it really 5 years since the custard hit the fan over Duggan? What’s the latest news on the cases? Or is it embargoed still? I note that Ritual Murder attendee Leon Brittan has been buried in an unknown grave, in Bromley Cemetery? Where’s my Lolly Pink Spray can gone.

    1. Well Ken, I started blogging about it in February 2010 and was overwhelmed with mail from all over the world. You the bishop and lawyers arrived in 2011 and since then it has been one slow trudge whilst the legals battled for honour, justice and right on the one side and procrastination, subterfuge and obfuscation on the other. I will leave you to allot which side the diocesan lawyers take. I understand that there is a chance of it being set for mid 2016 when we will have all joined Mr Brittan in the long sleep. He is supposed to be buried in Golders Green Jew Boys Ossary but there are tales of him enjoying sequestered retirement under a new identity at a Tel Aviv beach bar where he dreams of young bums on seats to bolster his pension fund.
      And by the way G’day to you and all my friends in the Antipodes and may you have many more of them.

  11. 2016 ??? And pious money-grubbing lawyers invoke the old mantra “justice delayed is justice denied” when it suits them.Pity Bede’s didn’t have an H.B.S.C. account……

  12. As regards a HSBC account, I wish I’d known about the Swiss arm of the company, all the millions I’ve earned could have been safely tucked away.

    If only…

  13. Well, now Fred Talbot is in jug, awaiting sentencing next month, who should appear on our TV screens immediately on the evening after the announcement of his conviction, on BBC Northwest Tonight, Friday 13 February?

    Step forward Richard Scorer of Slater & Gordon (who swallowed up Pannone). This was ambulance-chasing at its worst, free advertising at peak viewing time on a major terrestrial channel. I can’t think what possessed the BBC to allow this, any chance anyone can tell us?

    Am I the only person alarmed at the ever-more frequent publicity this man seems to receive? Last year, he failed to be nominated as the Labour candidate for the by-election of the constituency of Heywood & Middleton, where Labour duly scraped home against UKIP by well under 1,000 votes. Plenty of publicity here.

    Slater & Walker, by all accounts, adopt the set out-of-court and settle fast approach, as previously honed by Pannone. Whilst being of benefit to the lawyers (no messy, long-winded drawn out cases going to a full trial, delaying of fees being paid), I would very much doubt it would be to the advantage of the abused victims, at least from a financial perspective. A number of Bedian victims have enlisted this firms, most seem to have settled out of court with the College, figures unknown, but not rumoured to be telephone numbers.

    It’s also been mentioned Slater & Walker are representing several of Cyril Smith’s victims in the Kmowl View abuse case in Rochdale.

    AO Advocates, on the other hand, are representing a number of Bede’s victims of abuse and are currently playing the long-game strategy against St Bede’s i.e. wishing to take the matter to a full High Court hearing on more serious charges.

    I personally don’t have much time for lawyers, so I might be somewhat biased here. Others may differ in their opinion, but the fact that someone was able to drum up business by free advertising on the BBC should certainly be a cause for concern to us all.

  14. To Brian Lefley:

    And a failed Nu-Labour at that, our Mr Scorer! He didn’t find the back of the net with that, he was as sick as a parrot, a game of two halves etc., etc.,…..

    Ah well, back to the proper day job, settling out-of-court. He’s probably done it so many times, I’ve a better idea of where the Crown Court is in Manchester than he has.

    I doubt the free publicity extended to he and his firm has done him any harm, what with some of the Bedian victims and Fat Man Cyril’s victims, they must be rather busy right now….

  15. “Non-Scorer” was interviewed on Radio 5 this morning-after release of latest Saville report. “Every little helps” wot?

  16. To Brian Lefley:

    Mr Scorer certainly tries to live up to his name, he seems to have a fair number of shots at goal, some are off-target though. Slater & Gordon aka Sue, Grabbit & Run (apologies to Private Eye here) are also getting publicity via none other than Liz Dux, another of their solicitors acting for the Jimmy Savile victims.

    I don’t know which office she is actually based at, but she was on the Today programme last week, spouting forth regarding compo for Savile’s victims, complaining about the wishy-washy report which had just been published.

    They (S & G, that is) seem to be the BBC’s go-to solicitor now, whenever child abuse is mentioned. AO Advocates have been elbowed out of the way, following Richard Easton’s item in January 2014, featuring Old Bedian Rick Merrin and AO Advocates Noo-York Lawyer, Ann Olivarius.

    All’s fair in love and litigation, as they should have said….

  17. Addendum to last posting:-

    Liz Dux, the Slater & Gordon lawyer, is based in London.

    Probably Scorer is doing the Northern stuff (Cyril Smith, St Ambrose, Bede’s), Dux the southern ones (Savile and others)

  18. Re recent developments about Cyril Smith et al-is the filth finally going to be extracted from “THE Filth”??

    1. You oiks in Manchester and its hinterland are only now talking about Smith whilst we in Ireland have been talking about him for longer than we have been talking about Duggan. If I was you I would get your media seen to, they are ten years behind the times. I will give you two blogs to read what your news will be saying come 2025. The Tap Blogspot and The Needle Blogspot and I will also throw in Aanirfan as well.

  19. Well, Paul, I missed this one. Sorry to be so late posting. I was years ahead of you on this one.

    Sad to say,in April 1979, RAP (Rochdale Aternative Press), the local paper, ran an article detailing all his sexual proclivities.

    At the time I was working in Rochdale and used to regularly buy the mag, so none of the recent “revelations” were anything of the kind to me.

    The Fat Man threatened to sue, but never did, also Private Eye ran the story, but the higher-ups, a la Leon Britan, made sure Cyril was better protected than most.

    Indeed, veritably, he could not have been more fireproof than if he’d been wearing asbestos underwear made at the TBA (Turner Brothers Asbestos) factory in Rochdale, where I worked at the time.

    Another one that got away with it…

  20. To Paul Taylor-Just been re-reading “the Trial of Jeremy Thorpe by Auberon Waugh.Talk about a farce!!Thorpe despised Smith-but still agreed to cover-up with Steele et al.

  21. To Brian Lefley:

    Thorpe was in no position to anything much about Smith, he had enough on his plate in 1979, with his own trial.

    From top to bottom, the local constabulary, the local judiciary and his own party conspired to render the Fat Man “Untouchable” when alive.

    Even when he retired as an MP, they still conspired to cover up for him.

    He couldn’t have been more untouchable if his name had been Eliot Ness.

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