Friday, 18 March 2011

My quote to the Gazette

Ealing Gazette contacted me with questions about St. Augustine's since they know of my interest. I provided a quote for publication, but they didn't use it all. Here is the full quote, unedited.

Based on what is in the ISI report, St Augustine's has been breaking the law on child protection for years. They employed teachers before their CRB checks had been done. Anybody could have been working there. 

They didn't report staff to the Independent Safeguarding Authority who left because they were unsuitable to supervise children, so abusive teachers might have gone on to other teaching jobs.

The child protection policy didn't even ensure that all allegations of abuse are reported to the authorities so that they could be properly investigated. 

These are really serious and basic child protection failures. Similar failures at St. Benedict's have resulted in child sexual abuse there lasting for a long time, even after a former teacher had been sent to jail for abuse. 

We have no way of knowing if children at St. Augustine's have been abused and it has gone unreported. It's outrageous that the school tried to stop publication of the report and keep parents in the dark about all this. Their priority is obviously protecting the school's reputation rather than keeping children safe.


  1. Mr West

    I have just stumbled across your blog and it has shocked me to the core. I am not familiar with "blogging" but I am very familiar with St Augustine's, my daughter is receiving the most remarkable education there.

    I can see precisely why the Ealing Gazette did not publish your quote in full(and they have gone up in my estimation as a result). Your quote is utter, narrow-minded and vindictive "tripe".

    Please do not think that I take child protection lightly as it is fundamental to our education system, but how on earth do you think your tirade is going to assist any constructive debate?

    How dare you compare the difficulties of St Augustine's with those of St Benedict's that are being bravely and comprehensively investigated by Lord Carlile? How can the proper imprisonment of a teacher for abuse be compared with St Augustine's difficulties? They are at the opposite ends of a very wide spectrum and you have thrown them together without a second's thought for the very real harm, damage and distress that you are causing.

    You seem to be a very irresponsible and short-sighted man and I only wish that the High Court had jurisdiction over your blog. This is exactly the type of specious, mis-informed and inflammatory material that should not be in the public domain.

    The education of our children is probably one of our most important parts of our lives, for the children and for the parents. My only hope is that all the wonderful children at St Augustine's read your blog and learn from it.

    Mrs Gumley-Mason teaches free thinking, independence, and the amazing love and compassion that comes from true faith. That is true education and wisdom, you would be well advised to take a leaf from her book.

  2. Thank you! Thank you so much anonymous 04.47, at last a voice of reason. We also have 2 girls at the wonderful St Augustine's and you are so wrong, Mr West. I have no idea what is driving you but you are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I am not a teacher or on the Parents' Association as you presume all people in favour of Mrs G-M must be. Please leave St Augustine's alone, whatever we need to sort out, we will sort out without your help. Thank you.

  3. Are you talking about the same Gumley Mason that the other parents know, again you remain anonymous I wonder why??????? Mrs GM does not encourage free thinking she dictates to parents. she hasn't a compassionate loving bone in her body, I wouldn't recommend any one taking a leaf out of her book unless they too want to become a heartless tyrant.

  4. What hallucigenic drugs are you on?

  5. 04.47. You did get up early, didn't you. Are you having sleepless nights, Frances?

  6. o4.47 how on earth did you stumble across this blog? Highly unlikely.

  7. As a former pupil of St B's at the time of some of the abuse, I can point out that the highly emotional reaction by 04.47 and 12.35 from fee paying parents mirrors the attitude of many parents at St B's to abuse some years before it was discovered. The main point is that there have been breaches of legal child protection requirements at St A's. These respondents are defending those breaches, and are, furthermore, resorting to personal criticism of those who point them out. Without a reform of the St A's child protection policies, The floodgates are opened for a repeat of the St B's crimes at this prestigious girls' school, even if (and we can't be sure) it hasn't already happened. Let us not get swept away in emotion here. St A's has broken the law. It has put its children at risk. It is continuing to do so. Want to know what this can lead to? Look at the events at St B's, with which St A's is closely connected. My advice to these ranters is to think carefully about the interests of the children at the school, including their own daughters, and less about the investment they have made in its presumed integrity.

  8. An excellent post 15.40. Irrational parental defence of an institution which is criticised for safeguarding failures is a common default of a small lunatic fringe within all schools.

    It is an interesting dynamic and one that is readily reasoned. It is better for these parents to remain silent and watch, read, and listen to what is said at any meeting. Cheeleading will not resolve the problem. So often the child of a cheerleader is caused huge challenges by the mindlessly vocal parent who champions a setting and its management despite their errors.

  9. To be fair, it is very difficult for parents of girls at St A's - they want to have done everything right, for their daughters to have the fantastic education which undoubtedly is on offer, albeit with the risks. My heart is with these romantics, but I also want to protect them, these naive ranters putting their faith in a system that, at this time at least, is wilfully breaking the law. Please do not be naive - like so many parents of St B's pupils were. The opportunities for abuse are available to those operating in a system without adequate controls, and, if the abuse happens, those who endorsed the illegal system, if they had any doubts in their mind at the time, should perhaps be examining their own consciences. In this case the legal requirements of child abuse safeguards are very much in line with any reasonable concept of right and wrong.

  10. darker and darker and it gets darker yet. what are you all on? do you get off on paedophillia? look outside ealing; nay go beyond west ealing even. nothing has happened at st. augustine's, what did at st. benedict's was years ago. your myopia needs treatment - check out japan, libya, bahrain, egypt, yemen et al......

  11. I have just stumbled across your blog............, my daughter is receiving the most remarkable education there.

    Stumbling you certainly are 04.47. Your daughter is receiving a remarkably unsafe education at St Augustine’s as the ISI report lays bare.

    I can see precisely why the Ealing Gazette ......... Your quote is utter, narrow-minded and vindictive "tripe".

    If you look at each line of Mr West’s quote it is factually correct. While you hate what is says – you fail to challenge a single word.

    Please do not think that I take child protection lightly think your tirade is going to assist any constructive debate?

    It is not a tirade, it is a reasoned explanation in non inspectorate language that pleasingly you have clearly understood.

    How dare you compare the difficulties of St Augustine's with those of St Benedict's ............... They are at the opposite ends of a very wide spectrum ....... that you are causing.

    You share a great deal in common with Mrs Gumley-Mason including her detachment from reality. Carlile was commissioned by the St B’s administration, failing which the DfE would normally appoint their own investigators. Comprehensive investigation? The school has placed two adverts only. The one national ad was nearly impossible to read and placed on the legal listings page. This was the sum total of the advertising undertaken by the school in its “quest” for evidence.

    Carlile has almost no experience of child abuse. There are many better and far less costly people that could have been appointed, but the school was happy to accept Carlile at the suggestion of Nelson, who is a St B’s solicitor and a friend of Carlile.

    And to further assist your understanding of the similarities between the schools:

    Both schools broke the law. Neither school returned statutory Notifications under the education Acts. We know that since the last inspection this involved two teachers from St Augustine’s (6 @ StB's.) However the ISI report does not inform us how many other members of staff (if any) left St Augustine’s in similar circumstances prior to the predictably incompetent Ofsted inspection of 2006? This is unfortunate because Ofsted will not wish to return, and the ISI will not look at the preceding period unless requested by the DfE.

    The central registers of both schools were not up to date, and neither were CRB checks. First rule of safeguarding – guard the door.

    Both settings have been investigating allegations ‘in house’ which should not have been happening.

    Both settings had safeguarding policies that were hopeless at the time of the inspections, and which still do not conform to ESCB guidelines – clause 15.2.1.

    You seem to be a very irresponsible and short-sighted man.........specious, mis-informed and inflammatory material that should not be in the public domain.

    More vacuous nonsense. One senses that your posting at 04.47 this morning (Sunday), was prompted by a desire to ‘stumble’ to the support of a woman who failed to report Chillman to the Local Authority as the guidelines of the time made promulgated.

    My only hope is that all the wonderful children at St Augustine's read your blog and learn from it.

    On this point we can agree but for differing reasons. They need the heads up that the management of the place is incompetant, and the designated person is in lala land.

    Mrs Gumley-Mason teaches free thinking, independence, and the amazing love and compassion that comes from true faith. That is true education and wisdom, you would be well advised to take a leaf from her book.

    Your suggestion is so Benedictine! The facts are she is unqualified to teach, prone to discriminatory favouritism, practices nepotism, is arrogant, unwise, bullying, and not entirely balanced. She should in reality be nowhere near a school as many people now see.

    But she clearly spins your propellers.

  12. How can anyone defend GM after it is cleary stated that she allowed her husband 'The Estate Factor'to write The Child Protection Plan.
    The gruesome twosome at it again.

  13. Compare and evaluate

    • Fantastic Headmistress
    • She cares passionately that every girl achieves her full potential.
    • All girls from 4 to 18 are part of an amazing family at this school which nurtures self esteem and confidence.


    • my daughter is receiving the most remarkable education there
    • Mrs Gumley-Mason teaches free thinking, independence, and the amazing love and compassion that comes from true faith. That is true education and wisdom

    The one from the top is an entry from Rate You Teacher – for Mrs Gumley-Mason. The author is allegedly a student!

    The one below is from the Stumbling Poster at 04.47 this morning.

    Is it me or do these two read and sound very similar?

  14. 19.31. No it isn't you 19.31. Might be worth you all checking out the other Rate-my-teacher posts for this woman.

  15. It must be her Daughter no one else would describe that woman like that.

  16. 18.09 you say 'They need the heads up that the management of the place is incompetant, and the designated person is in lala land.' Does your incompetent management include the deputies- Walshe, Guilford, Harper, Winslett and Mortimer? Are they all in this?

  17. Hello fellow bloggers, thank you so much for your responses to my 04.47 effort. Let us have a look at your efforts in a little more detail, shall we?

    12.35: Oooh, someone had the temerity to agree, I wonder who? More detail please next time?

    12.44: Mmmm, 'accuses' me of remaining anonymous whilst remaining anonymous, there's an irony? Resorts to personal attack, the last resort of the desperate.

    12.47: Cannot even spell hallucinogenic, even in the middle of the day.

    14.15: Frances probably is having sleepless nights, one can only take so much personal vindictive drivel.

    15.03: Mmmm, that takes the debate great strides forward. Not.

    15.40: A sensible response for a change. I agree, protection of the children is paramount.

    16.15: Oh, and then it's spoilt by someone on the lunatic fringe, that's a shame.

    16.44: Good response, I accept all you say.

    17.45: I wouldn't say "nothing has happened at St Augustine's". There have clearly been three incidents and they have not been dealt with to the satisfaction of the ISI. Fine, let's overhaul the reporting regime root and branch and look forward to the next ISI report.

    18.09: Wow, a full and reasoned response point by point. It is a shame that you slipped the word "hate" into your response and I can only assume that that is more you than me. But let's move on to Mr West's next article and get down to the real issues, I agree.

    18.59; Not worth responding, personal attacks take nothing any further forward.

    19.31: Yes, you are right, they are remarkably similar. They are also wholly independent. I would say that points to the remote possibility that they are the truth perhaps? But no doubt you have some kind of alternative conspiracy theory. Whatever.

    But, first and foremost, THANK YOU for all the reasoned and non-personal responses, whether you agree with me or not. As for the personal attacks, you are a waste of space, you know Mrs G-M no more than you know me. Grow up or go away, you are getting in the way of finding a solution.

  18. The deputies are outstanding, but I doubt very much they have been furnished with the complete truth. They are true caring and compassionate people whose first priority are the children.

  19. Why are you remaining anonymous? You know why we are, to protect our children.

  20. Safeguarding is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. If the Chairman has not nominated another Trustee as responsible for safeguarding, then it is the Chairman who is wholly responsible as the ‘registered owner’ of the school.

    This means that the Trustees are legally responsible for embedding effective safeguarding in the school. They had not done this at the time of the ISI report but clearly this shortcoming had not been noticed at the last Ofsted inspection. See video provided in this strand.

    It stated in the ISI report that Safeguarding was always on the agenda of each meeting of the Governors. Clearly the Governors have a roll in safeguarding but it is unclear what this is and parents have not been informed. This is extremely unsatisfactory. We need to be informed of the roll of the/a safeguarding governor, and the extent of his/her responsibility. The statutory responsibility will always remain with the Trustees, but the Governors can positively contribute to embedding effective safeguarding in the school.

    This brings us to the Designated Officer and the 2i/c in the school. A single designated officer is a flaw – there must always be two for obvious reasons. These important roles manage allegations according to the statutory guidance and the undertakings provided to parents in the safeguarding policy. This also often extends to managing CRB checks, and all liaisons with the local authority and other agencies. The Head is responsible for managing these staff, and sometimes the head is also the DO of the school. The Head and the DO’s drive the day to day effectiveness of safeguarding.

    Safeguarding is an activity for the whole school. Staff within the school are only as good as the effectiveness of the schools policy, the management of safeguarding within the setting, and the quality of training that is received and this can vary greatly.

    Safeguarding at St A’s has failed because of the incompetent management from Trustee to Gumley- Mason.

    I hope this answers your question 20.49

  21. I am not sure who 'anonymous 21.30' is referring to but I am going to call myself 'anonymous 04.47' after my first effort. At least you will then know it is the same person. The personal attacks of those that contribute to this blog run so deep that it strangles open debate. And so 'anonymous 04.47' it will remain, or at least until the personal attacks stop and we get down to real business and real constructive discussion.

  22. You are a troll 21.10 - with nothing relevant to contribute, demonstrated by you feeble follow up.

    You would never recognise a solution because you cannot see the problem.

    The Benedictine way.

  23. An Abbeyvista has returned Mr West - same nonsense being expounded - same language and turn of phrase.

    Amusingly the poster claims to have a daughter at the school.

  24. What amazing progress of this previously dull blog in just one day and the informed wisdom of anonymous 21.55 shines through the darkness.

    I am very pleased with the feeble 'troll' comment of 22.00 and even more pleased that 22.07 finds it amusing.

    But please do not take things lightly, this is a serious business and we are closer to an answer.

    I will now have a much better sleep than last night, so thank you.

    Anonymous 04.47

  25. Hahahaha Mrs. G-M is a mong

  26. I don't quite understand what 04.47 has to hide, everyone else is hiding their names because they have children at the school and don't want to risk their wellbeing, so quite clearly Mrs. G-M (04.47) doesn't understand the concept of this. The only thing you risk losing is your dignity, which has already been lost through the countless comments on this blog against you.

  27. wow quite a heated discussion going on! as a former student i will definitely not praise Mrs G. M. She is a crook and is stuck in a different time age. She has some good connections enabling her to work the press the way she wants.
    There were never 100% A-C grades which have always been published, there is definitely something dodgey going on with her and the school and the recent tax dodging which is what i have heard from insiders at the school. i must say the education was a very good one and we cannot compair St Augustine's to St. Benedicts as there has never been any record of any sexual abuse happening.

  28. What tax dodging can you please give more imformation.