Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Comment from a parent

I'd just like to highlight the following comment made by a parent who was considering sending his or her daughter to St. Augustine's.
Just like to say thank you to Mr West. We had an offer for our daughter to attend St A's in September and paid the deposit. We have an offer from another school and were in the process of looking at the pros and cons of each before making a final decision. I've only just become aware of this issue so do not know how much truth there is in the allegations but even the smallest risk of a child's safety being put at risk is unacceptable. The more parents are made aware of the issues, the more likely you are to see change.
I would like to congratulate the parents on some trenchant good sense. Not specifically on the decision to choose or not choose St. Augustine's for their daughter, but rather on the fact that they are researching the matter and that they consider safety and welfare to be an extremely important factor in their choice of school.

With such loving and concerned parents, I'm sure your daughter will thrive.


  1. Best decision made, until Mrs Gumley-Mason steps down it should not be a first choice for parents or children alike. Their are undeniable security breeches as to whom she employs and thinks she is above the law.

  2. And if a parent dares to question her, she makes it quite clear that you are a worm.

    Parent relations - she has everything to learn.

  3. How do we go about calling a vote of no confidence against the head?

  4. 18.19 - I suspect the mood of parents for the most part is one of unexpressed dissatisfaction with the head. You will soon get the mood of the room and this will provide you either with the confidence to ask the gathering the question, or for you to decide against.

    If the mood is right, stand up at the optimum time and ask the assembled parents for a show of hands of those who no longer have confidence in the Head. If the hands shoot skywards in support of the proposal then the their mindset needs to be captured, and the Trustees communicated with. It is parents that keep such schools going. A show of hands on such an issue will terrify governors and trustees who I hope are present on Friday.

    In advance of the meeting set up an online petition with the motion asking the Trustees to remove the head + reason (confidence in light of the ISI report + any other serious issues). The Trustees will be thankful you are not asking for their collective heads. But I also think a parent group would want a meeting with the Trustees of the school because this debacle cannot be permitted to happen again. A new Trustee would be helpful - responsible for and experienced in safeguarding.

    Here is an example of a good, free online petition site

    This will give the parents a place to ‘sign up’ as soon as they get home after the meeting while things are still ‘hot.’ Remember to give them the contact details – print out the site address on A4 paper and cut into small strips to give to parents.

    Ask the room for assistance, particularly a solicitor – this person may not identify himself in the room but can contact you via the petition site where there is a tab to do so.

    The school will not cease to exist if the incumbent head leaves - there is plenty of available talent within the school to step into her shoes either temporarily or perhaps even permanently.

    Parents remaining silent and suppressing their wish to express displeasure will achieve nothing. By all accounts a new head will see a happier school.

    I’ve been here before, on my own, and I took on a board of Governors at a large prep school. I got rid of the Chairman who I demonstrated through publically available material had concealed child abuse whilst a headmaster of a school. I was vilified by the board for daring to suggest it, but I provided them with the evidence!

    I was as popular as poo on your shoe – not even parents wanted to speak to me, not even after the departure of the Governor. I engineered his almost immediate suspension, and 12 months later he quit ‘in disgust at the school.’ It sometimes became deeply unpleasant.

    Parents remained silent – either too scared to speak or ambivalent to the information, secure in the flawed belief that child abuse only ever happened to others and that the registered owner of the setting, being a child abuse concealer, made no difference.

    My children remained unaware of my efforts and experienced no side effects from my efforts. The administration realised that as I'd taken on the Chairman of the Board of Trustees / Governors, I'd not blink at addressing displeasure elsewhere.

  5. I want to know all the arguments and I want to know who in hell is Anonymous 04.47?

  6. 04.47 promised to reveal him/herself if somebody came out and said they supported my aims and methods. Several have, including for instance Sarah Walker who said

    Since you've asked, I'd like to introduce myself and give a bit of an idea of who I am and why I support Jonathan West's aims and methods...

    But 04.47 seems to have welched on the offer.