Letter to the Head Master

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

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J.R.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by J.R. »

Scazza wrote: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:06 pm When a headmaster is writing lies to parents or writing references for people instead of calling the police, that is about personal responsibility and accountability.

The day to day running of the school is the heads role too. The clerk is involved but i imagine the Almoners only do high level audits and meet perhaps once or twice a year. It would be interesting to know their role in the latest, audited safeguarding structure.

FWIW, the Council of Almoners in the 1985 blue book are mainly nominated by the governors but there are reps nominated by the inner London education authority, the Admiralty, Oxford, Cambridge, London uni, Royal Society, plus Berkshire, Newbury and Richmond councils.

I agree Scazza, but that was 1985 and a lot of water has flowed through Doctors Lake since then.

I don't EVER remember receiving anything from The School advising OB's on the 'Constitution' of The School or with a breakdown of how the line of seniority is devised, or to put it another way, who can tell whom what to do in respect of running The School.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Katharine »

I think but won't swear to it, the posts of Headmaster and Clerk have been combined in the last few years, which means there's one person less who could advise Simon Reid of the correct action to take now.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by J.R. »

What is starting to worry me slightly, and I'm not having a go at Plum Senior or one or two others with strong staff connections to The School, is that I'm getting the impression some are starting to get the attitude regarding OB's, "Well, we gave you a fantastic education, and we read you 'The Charge', now run off into the big wide world and just let the The School get on with running itself."

Sorry, but IMHO, it doesn't work quite like that. It seems to me that The School is quite happy to take endowments, donations or whatever, but does NOT want OB's to have any imput whatsover vocally from the moment they leave the hallowed halls of CH.

(There goes my next invitation to the next Coleridge B re-union).
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor »

I think some (but not all) teachers can have a tough time getting used to their ex-students being adults, and becoming their equals, or even their superiors in terms of life experience, education, authority or position.

We are all still the kids they knew when we were under their authority, and it’s a shock to the system if we push back, and challenge - we’re essentially being disobedient and rebellious in their mindset of who we are in their eyes??
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Foureyes »

A couple of comments, if I may.

"The post of Head Master and Clerk have been combined." This is not correct, although there have been so many changes in the past decade at that level that confusion is understandable. I shall not bore you all with the history, but the posts of Head Master and Clerk are separate and both continue today.


"... the Council of Almoners in the 1985 blue book are mainly nominated by the governors but there are reps nominated by the inner London education authority, the Admiralty, Oxford, Cambridge, London uni, Royal Society, plus Berkshire, Newbury and Richmond councils." This has most definitely changed and the council is now a much smaller body - although whether that has made it more effective is another matter!

You would need to consult the Clerk at the Counting House for the current situation, personnel and responsibilities.

David :shock:
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by DeletedAccount »

J.R. (and others) - I am less worried about the school's response thus far and the range of seemingly very different opinions that have been shared in the last 36 hours (although perhaps some could have been toned down a bit and some of the more far-fetched accusations reconsidered!). One of the many values of this forum is that it allows for different opinions and views to be shared in an almost-always respectful, mature and balanced way. This value has been particularly important in recent weeks, and like everyone, I thank you and the other moderators for making this possible: thank you!

I am perhaps going to stick my neck out a little to explain why I am less worried than you perhaps are. And I apologise for what will likely be a very long message. (And to be clear, in writing that I am less worried, I do not mean to imply for a moment that I think you are wrong!)

Firstly, everyone agrees that the absolute priority is for the innocent victims of these appalling crimes. They were subjected to criminal and in many cases, life-changing abuse. This was so wrong. They command nothing but enormous respect and sympathy. Very deep admiration goes to those Old Blues who have found the enormous strength and courage to come forward. And the question of compensation remains a burning one.

Secondly, everyone wants to see the perpetrators of these crimes punished to the greatest extent possible, and any other abusers who have not yet been held accountable for their crimes. Many many have helped this happen, none more so than those brave victims who stepped forwarded.
The actions of those who helped ensure that some of the initial sentences were reviewed and extended are to be applauded too, including some of those who contribute to this forum.

Thirdly, the School is responding to these revelations. And in this regard, I have seen nothing wrong in what Simon Reid, the Headmaster, has said or done. He has been clear about the shock and disgust at what happened, it is clear that the School has engaged fully with the investigations, he has reaffirmed that fundamentally new systems and procedures are in place, many of them the product of statutory change, but also built on the school's absolute focus on child welfare and protection, and he has communicated these changes and commitment clearly and unequivocally. Moreover, we hear that he has engaged personally with some of the victims (and one hopes, will soon reach out to all).

Certainly, there are additional things that many people would like to have been said - and done - already, but the initial focus and prioritisation is fairly understandable in my view. (The one gap may be the lack of communication with all known victims. However, information on this issue is very partial. But it does appear to be a gap based on the information that has been shared thus far).

Fourthly, the Old Blue question is complicated. Beyond the victims - who remain the priority - there is a very broad spectrum of Old Blues with understandable questions and views. Many Old Blues will have had mainly positive views of their time at CH and the benefits that resulted. And similarly, many will have been proud to carry the name of the School forward with them throughout their lives. (And of course, there are many too who will have less positive experiences, memories and views). But there can be not a single Old Blue who has not been shocked to the core by the revelations that have emerged, horrified and sickened by the abuse that fellow Old Blues suffered. We will all be asking questions and hoping for answers. Some of those questions have been aired very clearly and strongly in this forum. Many Old Blues will have suggestions for the School too. Likewise, several of these have been shared in this forum.

I do not think that most of these Old Blue questions and suggestions are not important to the School. I am sure that they are. I just don't think that there are at the top of the list of burning priorities for the time being. And some of the answers will, I imagine, only become "available" once all the ongoing/future legal and civil processes have been completed. So for now, I am less concerned about the School's response and in particular the Headmaster's approach, I am happy to be a little more patient and I remain confident that many of the answers that are sought will be provided.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb »

yamaha wrote: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:38 pm Your consistent bias against the current CH administration borders on the snide, but pleases some.

Reid has become the focus of a baying pack on here.
They could consider the complexity of his job and that he has more important work than futilely attempting to satisfy a very small number disaffected OBs.
For instance:
There may be more investigations that he is working on with the police.
He will be preparing for IICSA hearings.
We have been told by a victim that he is meeting the victims.
He will certainly be intensely occupied with the future course of CH and the very survival of CH’s charitable ethic since the school’s finances are likely to have been negatively impacted by these events.
The result of a large funding deficit would be even more full fee payers and CH inevitably becoming another Charterhouse.

Perhaps those on here who seek the demise of CH would be happy that kids from poorer backgrounds would lose access to CH’s opportunities.
Rather than incessant carping Reid should be receiving comments of support and encouragement - outside of this forum he probably is.
Your constant snide remarks do nothing to improve the quality of your posts, nor does you habit of inventing what you don't know.

If you read my posts carefully, you would understand that I have no bias against the school. I am sure that the school is now being run properly. It has to be for the simple reason that regulatory requirements that have been imposed on it by the government require it to be.

The advent of the CRB (now DBS) search meant that the school's policy of moving sex offenders on should not happen. That of course was a government initiative, not the school's.

Far from being biased, I have repeatedly acknowledged that I had an education far beyond anything that I would otherwise have received. For many, however, that education came at a terrible price.

Sexual abuse quite literally destroys lives. Read what Rob Totterdell posted. Remind yourself of what the victim of both Husband and Dobbie said.

The sentences meted out so far (more than 40 years in total) act as a deterrent to others in the future. So soft option of being allowed to resign and being sent on their way with the reason for their departure being lied about (Webb) or glowing references (Karim). And Burr must have been give a reference to help get him the job at The Oratory School.

What I want is twofold. First, I would like proper recognition and acknowledgement from the school of what happened in the past, such as an acceptance that the practice of moving sex offenders on was wrong, that it was wrong to lie about the reasons for their departure and that it was wrong to give any of them positive references. I would like the school to acknowledge the shortcomings of Poulton, Cairncross and Sillett and to recognise that the poor girl who was a victim of Karim should never have been told that her name may find its way into the paper. So far no one has addressed the real faults.

I appreciate that Reid is in a difficult position as it was not his watch when all this happened. But I am not so naive as to think that he is sitting down day after day spending hours on this. The letters he sends out will have be come from above and vetted by the school's solicitors. The job of raking through historical records is likely to have been done by the Child Protection Officer who shoukd actually know what the police want: in almost every sexual abuse case involving a young person educational records are looked at and I don't ever remember seeing this being done by a Head Master.

On the subject of the Child Protection Officer, the person performing the role a few years ago did nothing when the exploits of Husband and Dobbie were disclosed by their joint victim. Yet another failing by the school. If you don't believe me then read again the statement by her that Julian posted about a month ago.

Secondly I want to see all the victims of the dreadful sexual abuse properly compensated. No amount of money can put right the terrible damage that they have suffered but some will help make life easier for them and help pay for the earnings they have lost, the medical treatment and counselling they need.

Unlike you, I don't take the view that the Foundation is paramount and the victims have to put up with the appalling treatment inflicted upon them so that others can receive a good education. If we are about to witness the demise of the school, it is the fault of no one but the school.

It reflects poorly on the school that the letters to the individual victims which were promised more than five weeks ago to the police still have not been received, despite the police being chased for them.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Scazza »

What letters were promised to the victims, Richard?

On governance, the charity commission link posted previously has lots of info. Download the PDF report with colourful pie charts and click on the 31aug2017 document linked within.

http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/ch ... 90&subid=0

I can't copy and paste but welfare of students is stated as a risk and there is a safeguarding monitoring group (p13) that reports to the council, so any concerns now have a regular forum and would be formally minuted.

I could not see anything in the accounts to reflect an increased liability for compensating victims which would surely be prudent?
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb »

At the point of conviction (it may have been sentence) the police said to the victims that they would each receive a letter from the school which I believe was to be sent via the police. They appear not to have been sent.

I assume that the letters were some sort of apology.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor »

What is it about organisation that they choose to hide abuse or controversy, in the hope it'll never come out? They fail to realise that, particularly in these days of social media, it WILL come out - so they'd be far better to immediately publicise the case, push hard for all information to come out, and to do everything they can proactively to ensure everything is revealed and dealt with properly. They need to show their personal and corporate HORROR at what happened, that they are moving mountains to find out the truth (whether it's ex-staff who abused, or ex-staff who made mistakes in dealing with it) and have the courage to say as much.

As Dale Carnegie's 3rd Principle in How To Win Friends and Influence People said,
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
He certainly didn't say,
Keep it quiet, say nothing, and nobody will ever notice your mistake.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by MrEd »

jtaylor wrote: Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:58 am What is it about organisation that they choose to hide abuse or controversy, in the hope it'll never come out? They fail to realise that, particularly in these days of social media, it WILL come out - so they'd be far better to immediately publicise the case, push hard for all information to come out, and to do everything they can proactively to ensure everything is revealed and dealt with properly. They need to show their personal and corporate HORROR at what happened, that they are moving mountains to find out the truth (whether it's ex-staff who abused, or ex-staff who made mistakes in dealing with it) and have the courage to say as much.

As Dale Carnegie's 3rd Principle in How To Win Friends and Influence People said,
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
He certainly didn't say,
Keep it quiet, say nothing, and nobody will ever notice your mistake.
Absolutely. Didn't Bill Clinton say 'Never tell on yourself'? That may be fine for politics, but not for this sort of situation. If the School had got Burr or Webb prosecuted, and on conviction, put the newspaper cuttings up in the staff room and every House notice board as a triumph for the determination to root out molesting perverts, it might have had a salutary deterrent effect on those who came later, and far better to have to say to pupils, parents, OBs etc. 'We missed this fiend, sorry, but we've got him and had made an example of him, and anyone else lurking knows we will not tolerate this'.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor »

Absolutely. Would they dismiss a member of staff today for failing to report abuse, and publicise why they’d been fired? If so, they should be happy to condemn what’s gone before. If not, there’s still a problem today?
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Scazza »

I think the school could also show it has investigated and understood the situations that abuse took place in and the improved governance for those occasions, eg: Karims massaging girls alone in his study. Could forseeably happen again if not for clear guidelines. I'm pretty sure that's in place but be good to see it.

It is very difficult in the boarding environment though. I said to my wife in your junior years you are in your PJs from 7pm to 7am. Someone posted before about the relative lack of abuse in the state system where abusers don't have such access. QED you need very strong controls.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by graham »

J.R. wrote: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:52 pm What is starting to worry me slightly, and I'm not having a go at Plum Senior or one or two others with strong staff connections to The School, is that I'm getting the impression some are starting to get the attitude regarding OB's, "Well, we gave you a fantastic education, and we read you 'The Charge', now run off into the big wide world and just let the The School get on with running itself."

Sorry, but IMHO, it doesn't work quite like that. It seems to me that The School is quite happy to take endowments, donations or whatever, but does NOT want OB's to have any imput whatsover vocally from the moment they leave the hallowed halls of CH.

(There goes my next invitation to the next Coleridge B re-union).
This is absolutely true. Those who were abused obviously have the greatest burden to bear here and I'm pleased that the school is apparently listening to at least some of them. But some of the statements I've read on this forum seem to neglect the fact that the school was acting as our parent during a point in our lives when we were extremely vulnerable. And just as anyone would want answers from a biological parent who was later discovered to have been abusing a sibling or friend, many of us want answers from the school as to why they let this continue to happen over a protracted period of time. I can't help but think that a parent who allowed such abuse to continue would have their children removed. Why should a school in loco parentis be treated any differently? And given the extent of what has emerged (and the rest that is likely to come), why should we trust the school to do this by itself?

The current headmaster seems like a genuine person who has found himself in the middle of a s*%$storm not of his making and is trying hard to manage the situation as best and as properly as he can. This does not, for a second, negate the need of former pupils - in particular those who were at the school during the Webb/Burr era or during the late 80's /early 90's - to obtain answers, or impinge upon their rights to demand such answers from the administration. The fact that the school is a different place now, compared to what it was 30 years ago, does little to wash away the realization that we were all living in an environment that provided predators free rein after multiple incidents had been reported.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by TMF »

Karim was allowed to resign in 1993. Husband was dismissed in 1994. Reid's stint at CH began in 1993. So, Reid is fully aware of boarding school teacher 'sudden departure syndrome' and its institutional implications.
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