Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

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Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by robert totterdell » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:25 am

Do any of you know why Baker as HM resigned out of the blue (no pun intended) and exactly what Hansford changed in his four terms of employment?

Thanks

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Golfer » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:56 pm

What did he change?
Well the school became a mixed school under his headship! Probably the biggest change in the history of CH.

We were all shocked to come back to find that Baker had been dismissed. To paraprhase Oscar Wilde, "‘To lose one head (Newsome) may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both (Newsome and Baker) looks like carelessness.’ The HMC regarded it as worse than carelessness and suspended CH's membership of the Head Master's Conference. An ignominious moment in the history of the school. Possibly the worst until recent times.

What can you change in 4 terms?
Probably nothing.

All you can do is to steady the ship given the circumstances of his appointment. I think he did this. He had a presence and a memorable turn of phrase. Even if there were (silent) groans when he told the school in his first Chapel sermon that "this was CHRIST'S Hospital" you at least knew where he was coming from.

In terms of steadying the ship you have issues of how the school would behave on St Matthew's Day for example. [There was a student BBB - Bring Back Baker - campaign.]He came up with an absolute classic which was both mocked but also bought into, "It's all part of the pageant." In retrospect this was a touch of genious. Everyone repeated it and it characterised the school's approach to ceremony under his leadership. I used to use the phrase when I taught conservatism.

But IMHO the biggest impact he had was the appointment of Elizabeth Cairncross, a fellow Christian, as deputy head.

I thought he was a good thing. There were many people who could have cocked up that impossible situation and he didn't. HIs moral integrity, experience and gravitas carried him and school through.
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by cstegerlewis » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:02 pm

Interesting phrase Tim, it is the first time I have ever heard anyone say Baker was ‘dismissed’. Obviously as pupils we were told he had left and I don’t remember any other info, or at least none that my Mum shared with me. Any more you can share as to why?
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by J.R. » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:39 pm

Golfer wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:56 pm
What did he change?
Well the school became a mixed school under his headship! Probably the biggest change in the history of CH.

We were all shocked to come back to find that Baker had been dismissed. To paraprhase Oscar Wilde, "‘To lose one head (Newsome) may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both (Newsome and Baker) looks like carelessness.’ The HMC regarded it as worse than carelessness and suspended CH's membership of the Head Master's Conference. An ignominious moment in the history of the school. Possibly the worst until recent times.

What can you change in 4 terms?
Probably nothing.

All you can do is to steady the ship given the circumstances of his appointment. I think he did this. He had a presence and a memorable turn of phrase. Even if there were (silent) groans when he told the school in his first Chapel sermon that "this was CHRIST'S Hospital" you at least knew where he was coming from.

In terms of steadying the ship you have issues of how the school would behave on St Matthew's Day for example. [There was a student BBB - Bring Back Baker - campaign.]He came up with an absolute classic which was both mocked but also bought into, "It's all part of the pageant." In retrospect this was a touch of genious. Everyone repeated it and it characterised the school's approach to ceremony under his leadership. I used to use the phrase when I taught conservatism.

But IMHO the biggest impact he had was the appointment of Elizabeth Cairncross, a fellow Christian, as deputy head.

I thought he was a good thing. There were many people who could have cocked up that impossible situation and he didn't. HIs moral integrity, experience and gravitas carried him and school through.
Sorry Tim, but by mentioning Cairncross and Baker together in one paragraph, you might just be opening another small can of worms.

As someone who has followed CH pretty closely for over the last decade, mainly on this site, I can remember Bakers rapid demise well and I'll leave it that for the present time.
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:50 am

Well the school became a mixed school under his headship! Probably the biggest change in the history of CH.

Yes, but that was not part of the plan. The change had been planned for some time, and the notion that it would have to go ahead under a stopgap HM would have given the planners shivers. Even so, I think the consensus is that he managed it well.

Certainly to lose two successive headmasters in irregular circumstances looks like carelessness. But the circumstances were very different. Newsome resigned after a flaming row with the council, and given his prestige in the educational world, this certainly in itself looked like carelessness on the part of the Council. He moved on to another plum headmastership. As for Baker, it seems he was simply not up to the job and his incompetence eventually became culpable. I knew him slightly before his appointment and was flabbergasted when he got the job.
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Golfer » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:10 pm

cstegerlewis wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:02 pm
Interesting phrase Tim, it is the first time I have ever heard anyone say Baker was ‘dismissed’. Obviously as pupils we were told he had left and I don’t remember any other info, or at least none that my Mum shared with me. Any more you can share as to why?
.
Craig, You are quite right to pull me up on this casual error. Of course Baker was not "officially" dismissed, He wrote a letter to parents and staff saying that for some time he had not thought himself the right Head to see through the merger. (I paraphrase as I no longer have the letter but I am confident that was the main gist.) Clearly the HMC saw things differently i.e. they believed that a second CH head had been forced out, and you can't imagine that they didn't consult Baker before making their decision to suspend Ch's membership of the HMC.

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by CodFlabAndMuck » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:20 pm

A nice tribute to Baker in the Old Leysian.

The last of the Headmaster Dons.

Ken Naylor who taught music, played the organ and was a talented arranger, also gets a mention.

https://issuu.com/leyscambridge/docs/on ... pring-2016
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:00 pm

That tribute, while praising him as a teacher, also hints at why he should not have been given a job with headmasterly responsibilities.
I also knew Alan Barker, the headmaster of The Leys mentioned here. While very reactionary, he was a man of integrity and good sense. The CH Council presumably didn't ask for, or didn't listen to, his opinion.
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Golfer » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:27 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:00 pm
While very reactionary, he was a man of integrity and good sense.
Michael, some people might find "reactionary" and "good sense" to be oxymoronic?

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Golfer » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:30 pm

How sure are you that he didn't write a reference for Baker? Your post doesn't explicitly say that he didn't.

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:32 am

Golfer wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:27 pm
michael scuffil wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:00 pm
While very reactionary, he was a man of integrity and good sense.
Michael, some people might find "reactionary" and "good sense" to be oxymoronic?
Some people might. That's their business.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:37 am

Golfer wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:30 pm
How sure are you that he didn't write a reference for Baker? Your post doesn't explicitly say that he didn't.
I've not the slightest idea whether he wrote one or not. The article in The Leysian suggests (more than suggests, actually) that Barker had strong reservations about Baker, in particular that he thought he was not 'a safe pair of hands'. From what I knew of Barker, I don't think he would have written a dishonest reference. My point was that if he was asked, he would probably have been critical.
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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Golfer » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:00 pm

Thanks for the explanation.

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by wurzel » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:11 pm

i remember the rumour at the time was he fell out with the council as he wanted to be his own man and then they hunted and forced him out due to accounting irregularities which were rumoured to include pushing monies meant for the Heads entertaining into helping subsidise student activities instead. At least that was one of the reason we were given during the BBB campaign.

Hansford was terrible - worse thing he did was get rid of Bakers progressive punishments for drinking/smoking and replace them with is proclaimed "random punishments" which meant a dep caught with some home brew could get a harsher punishment than an LE caught legless on Vodka for the 2nd or 3rd time (not sure if that actually happened but the concept struck me as very unfair at the time)

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Re: Resignation of Baker and emergency appointment of Hansford

Post by Avon » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 pm

Golfer wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:56 pm

In terms of steadying the ship you have issues of how the school would behave on St Matthew's Day for example. [There was a student BBB - Bring Back Baker - campaign.]He came up with an absolute classic which was both mocked but also bought into, "It's all part of the pageant." In retrospect this was a touch of genious. Everyone repeated it and it characterised the school's approach to ceremony under his leadership. I used to use the phrase when I taught conservatism.
It’s noteworthy that you saw IAPOTP as A Good Thing. I’d never really reflected on it that way until now, but I remember it well. As a young inmate, and after a brief spell of Baker (and being oblivious to his failings) Hansford felt like an icy blast from the 1950s; the punishments were indeed nonsensical, the rhetoric in chapel was Victorian, and it didn’t help that he was accompanied by a disconnected relic that came in from The Other Place (swiftly superseded by Cairncross).

In that regard, his reverence for pageantry felt - to me - like another misplaced priority. A paraphrasing of ‘it’s all part of the pageant’ could be ‘suck it up, kids because I’m not changing it’ and that’s how I saw it at the time. But then he was only ever a locum and so perhaps he saw himself as a stability incumbent and not a force for change.

It only took a few terms of the vacillating Poulton for there to be a degree of reverence for Hansford - at least you knew where you stood with him, and in retrospect I think that was a distinct virtue.

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