Elizabeth Cairncross

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robert totterdell
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Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by robert totterdell »

Dear All

I have now spent some three years looking at sexual abuse at CH in Horsham.

Whilst I was a sexual abuse victim of Peter Burr, I have tried to look at abuse across a much wider period.

It will probably be impossible for anyone to be able to explain the abuse that occurred to me in my period 1969 - 1972.

However I have looked further and I am concerned that the Governance of CH in a later period was actually more inadequate than in mine.

In looking at this later time period the name of Cairncross comes up again and again - she was the deputy head of CH from 1986 to 2000 and during this period some of the very worst abuse occurred.

Cairncross was, also, the first CPO (Child Protection Officer) at CH and I and another were informed by the current Business Manager that she was the only Safeguarding Officer that CH had had issues with.

Under her guidance as Deputy Head various policies were developed to allow a 'keep it in house' cover up of abuse at the school which lead to the very worst extremes of abuse during the period that she was employed.

Some of you may think she was a fantastic teacher and deputy head and others may have very different view points.

I ask any of you from her time to contact me with your information or thoughts either through a private message or via my own email address spicetraders2009@live.co.uk

What you should think about is under her regime some 14 + victims were sexually abused at CH with no action taken by her despite her role which was the origin of Safe Guarding. Imagine if it had been one of your children.

E Cairncross is now Chair of Governors at Salisbury Cathedral School, a governor of Robert Jeffery's School (Primary) in Cornwall and a school in Switzerland courtesy of a former teacher at CH.

Given her connections to the Balls (Peter & Michael) and her cover up behavior at CH should she be allowed to be a Governor or any school?

Your thoughts please.

Rob
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by LHA »

thanks robert have emailed you excellent post
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Bullying and anti social behaviour seems to have got worse during the 70s, 80s and 90s on an upward chronological trajectory.

We are talking about the modern era by the way, not Oliver Twist.

How was sexual abuse allowed to happen?

Was it because in some houses social norms had completely broken down to the extent that life felt akin to Lord of the Flies?

Monitors ran the houses with housemasters either turning a blind eye or just not having a clue what was going on.

There was no such thing as stealing. Your rugby boots, sports kit, housey buckle, anything, was just taken. You would find your muddy changing room towel lying somewhere on the floor after a match.

Nothing was sacred.

No respect for anybody or anything.

And let's not forget the house cleaners who had to clean up the kitchens where the counters were caked in butter, jam, marmalade, baked beans, with toast crumbs and left over bread everywhere.

If somebody was down they were kicked.

Cynicism and loutish behaviour was considered normal.

Is it not surprising therefore that in such an environment sexual abusers were able to thrive?

The school needs to look at itself and ask some hard questions, not least why child protection and welfare were virtually non existent in some quarters.

Some very well meaning and well intentioned people are currently working on Reconciliation.

But first, they need to answer the How and Why?
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

AMP wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm Bullying and anti social behaviour seems to have got worse during the 70s, 80s and 90s on an upward chronological trajectory.

We are talking about the modern era by the way, not Oliver Twist.
Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Pe.A wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:05 am
AMP wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm Bullying and anti social behaviour seems to have got worse during the 70s, 80s and 90s on an upward chronological trajectory.

We are talking about the modern era by the way, not Oliver Twist.
Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

AMP wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
Pe.A wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:05 am
AMP wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm Bullying and anti social behaviour seems to have got worse during the 70s, 80s and 90s on an upward chronological trajectory.

We are talking about the modern era by the way, not Oliver Twist.
Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
So when were you at CH?
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Pe.A wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:13 pm
AMP wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
Pe.A wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:05 am

Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
So when were you at CH?
During the merger
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by loringa »

AMP wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
You may well be right that things got worse before they got better. I wouldn't say it was perfect when I was there (1973 to 1980); indeed, from what we now know, Burr and Webb were regularly abusing during that time. Having said that, the bullying seems to have been more localised than your post seems to indicate was the case a decade later. In fact, when I was there, I was thankful that I was in what seemed to be the relatively enlightened 1970s and not the earlier years which appeared to have been much, much worse.

On the whole, the teachers seemed fair-minded and genuinely interested in their charges. Students were encouraged in whatever field they showed potential, particularly those who were self-starters, but there was lots going on. Obviously there was academic work, games, music and several choirs, but the theatre was becoming increasingly important and a haven for many (though not me). Scouts / Venture Scouts / DofE got me out of school pretty much every other weekend (and taught me to cook as mentioned previously). Minor sports, in my case shooting, enabled me to miss pretty much all organised games except the Senior House rugby leagues, and lots of cross-country when wet. I was allowed to use the manual School pretty much as my own workshop, not just for O Level, and there were lots of places to go when out cycling or into Horsham.

House monitors, in both Junior and Senior houses, has relatively little authority and seemed well regulated, at least in LHA (Dickie Dawe) and Coleridge A (Peter Brotherton and Neil Simms). They certainly wouldn't have got away with not giving food to anyone even though they did get first dibs on any seconds.

One thing that seems to have been exceptional during that period was the lack of emphasis on organised religion. Compulsory Sunday chapel except for the beginning and end of term was only for Juniors; in the Senior Houses we only had to attend compline on a Wednesday in chapel. This was long before Dobbie et al arrived, the chaplaincy during all my time was John Robson, Godfrey Hall and Ian Atkinson. Communion services were pretty well attended if I recall and were entirely voluntary.

It would be a tragedy for anyone if schooldays were the best days of their life, but they were fine for me overall and pretty much exactly what I had been led to expect from my father (who had been a 13-year old cadet at Dartmouth in the 1940s) except there was no boxing! Life since has been (n the whole) a great adventure but CH provided the grounding and I, for one, am grateful.

(PS I agree with you completely about the spartan conditions, not a problem at all, and the food, which was quite spectacularly awful, even for 1970s' institutional food).
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by loringa »

I'd thank AMP for his post but that button seems to have disappeared!
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by J.R. »

It DOES seem to have disappeared, Andrew.

One for Julian to sort out, I fancy.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by rockfreak »

Quite a lot of what AMP is claiming doesn't sound madly different from some of the stuff that I remember in the 1950s. Sounds like the school was actually going backwards.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by bakunin »

AMP wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm And let's not forget the house cleaners who had to clean up the kitchens where the counters were caked in butter, jam, marmalade, baked beans, with toast crumbs and left over bread everywhere.
That brings back a memory of the Maine A brew room ceiling. Instead of dropping rubbish on the ground it was thrown forcefully upwards where it stuck. You could see dozens of tea bags and butter wrappers stuck up there.
Cynicism and loutish behaviour was considered normal.
CH is where I learned to be very cynical about authority, religion, tradition, hierarchy, bureaucracy, etc.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by bakunin »

AMP wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.
I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

bakunin wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:02 pm
AMP wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.
I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
I am very sorry to hear that you and others were treated so cruelly.

The school owes you an apology.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by J.R. »

loringa wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:40 pm I'd thank AMP for his post but that button seems to have disappeared!
The thanks button has returned thanks to Julian who has updated the site !
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