A final nail in the coffin? Malignancy has no place in Education

Following on from my last post detailing the planned closure of my children’s school and the need to home school them from this September onwards I had intended to write a post about the advantages of home schooling. However, that post will have to wait a few days after recent events surrounding the campaign to save St Bees School. Apologies to international readers for whom this has less interest – those that know me well, however, know that corruption gets my goat whether it be internationally or local and that has never changed.

You may recall my disgust at the duplicity of the governors who have spoken words dripping with honey about how they desperately ‘wish the school could be saved’ and how they are ready to ‘work with anyone’ who comes up with a plan which will work while simultaneously forcing through closure with disgraceful speed and force. Throughout all those attempts to persuade the governors that a plan had indeed been formed it was always assumed that the board was a body of gentlemen.

When the Rescue Team’s attempts to see reason with this board failed just a couple of weeks ago The Save St Bees School Campaign (SSBSC) kicked into action. After receiving a public mandate to remove the governors by use of legal force, the committee began work. Just as with the Rescue Team, much of the work has been ‘behind the scenes’ but unlike the Rescue Team no attempt was made to converse with the governors. They had to go; pure and simple. No discussion needed.

It is quite clear now that the efforts of this campaign has made the board extremely uncomfortable. We knew this from various sources but yesterday (Friday 1st May) their disquiet was made public along with ample evidence of how perverse this board has become.

Yesterday, Paul Davies – the chief spokesperson if not leader of the campaign (though we prefer to think of him as “bad cop” to the Rescue Team’s ‘good cop’ approach) – received notification from the solicitors for the school that he was to be sued for a considerable sum of money for use of a photograph on the SSBSC website. In effect, the governors (or their representatives presumably working on their behalf) decided to use school money to pursue a parent (who pays his fees to the school) for trying to save the school. School money the board claim they don’t have to spare because that’s the very reason why the school is closing.

 

Frankly, this behaviour is repugnant. There is no doubt this is an attempt to scare off the man who is behind a campaign whose sole aim is to see education continue at the school. Yes, it is continuing on the belief, now shared by almost everyone, that the governors have got to go (I’ve yet to meet a single parent, staff member, villager or even Parish Council member who has any kind or gracious word to say about the governors – not even a dissenting word of support on any of the Facebook forums) but only so that new governance can be sworn in as soon as possible to turn the school around.

Can there be any place for a governing body which thinks the answer to opposition is to silence it with fear and intimidation? Is that what we teach our children?

One of the definitions of ‘malignant’ is: feeling or showing intense ill-will (Oxford Reference dictionary). Another is: cancerous, tending to spread.

I contend the governors have shown they fulfill both these definitions. The lawsuit against Paul Davies is clearly of the first; but that they feel so above the people, above principles and even above their own rules and are prepared to attack from any direction shows them to be nothing but a cancerous tumour insidiously creeping through the school establishment until there is nothing left to save.

Initially, we all felt shocked and sick to our stomachs when Paul showed us the notification. But then, Paul, rather characteristically, rolled up his sleeves and said “right then. It’s like that is it?” and stepped up the work to make sure these people are kept as far away as possible from education. Rather than scare him off, the governors have ensured he’ll fight to the bitter end.

The SSBSC all now feel rather thankful to the governors for hammering in perhaps a final nail in their own coffin. After all, until now their condescendingly assuring words have sent mixed messages. Surely such illustrious and learned men really are honourable gentlemen  forced into a difficult and painful situation beyond their control? Well, there is no doubt now. These are men who will do anything to save face and force a closure before the school and community have had a chance to do anything about it. Indeed, I don’t believe they ever wanted anyone to do anything about it.

But then cancer doesn’t wait for permission to kill, does it?

 

Please sign our petition to remove the governors here.

The Save St Bees School Campaign Facebook page can be found here.

The SSBSC website is found here and is full of stories, inspiring and warning of what the future might hold, which need sharing.

Author’s Note: It is possible, I guess, as I don’t know all the members of the board personally that some of the governors are good people who are just as shocked as we that the decision to close was pushed through so forcefully and were powerless to stop it. The opinions I express here wouldn’t apply to such a person. But as I have not been made aware of any such person currently on the board, I can only surmise – until otherwise demonstrated – that such a benevolent governor is a fictional character.

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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13 Responses to A final nail in the coffin? Malignancy has no place in Education

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  5. archecotech says:

    It would be interesting to hear their side of the story, why do they feel that the school needs to be closed. I suspect it deals with money, like lack of funds, or the such. Anyway, they (the power that be) usually run in packs. My first recommendation is to separate them, the best way to win is divide and conquer. Second look for dirt (they all have skeletons) this can stop almost anything. Most of the time when I see this sort of thing happen a tactic of a single approach is used (easy to put up a front), look for multiple avenues and approaches. This is what they do to individuals when they want to accomplish something, use the same in return. More than anything give them hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D K Powell says:

      Oh you wouldn’t believe what they’ve been up to. We have A LOT of inside information which is what’s allowing us to begin legal action against them. One this is certain – they’re not the league of honourable gentlemen they pretend to be. They’ve lied, cheated, deceived and delayed through the whole thing and their approach has been consistently opaque. The legal advice we’ve got so far indicates that they are going to go down and go down hard. That said, I’ll believe it when I see them squirming on the floor!

      Like

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  7. This post can be read two ways. 1) the disgust in how the governors have and are behaving and 2) have exposed themselves and to parents who are going to struggle and do something about it.

    I am happy that you guys (parents, pupils, ex-pupils, public) are going to take them on by whatever means possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. renxkyoko says:

    I hope you succeed ! ! ! ! I don’t know what those governors are, but definitely not educators. How ironic.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Disgusting. Like you, polite words fail me. If you need to crowd-source to pay legal fees, count me in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D K Powell says:

      Thanks Amanda. We’re final for Paul’s legal battle but if you follow the links at the end of the post you could pledge to our legal campaign to oust the governors through the High Court. They are running scared right now…

      Like

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