Friday, 18 March 2011

St. Augustine's in the Gazette

You might care to buy a copy of today's Ealing Gazette. There is an article about St. Augustine's on page 7. The headline is

School 'failed to protect children from abuse risks'
Ealing: Inspectors highlight number of concerns

The article briefly but accurately summarises ths issues of the ISI report, and quotes from it, pointing out the failings in CRB checks, the failure to make the proper reports to the Independent Safeguarding Authority and Ealing Social Services, the fact that the school's child protection policy didn't meet legal requirements.

There is a quote from Mrs. Gumley-Mason at the end of the report, as follows.
Headteacher Mrs Gumley-Mason said: "The report is out in the public domain and nothing has been suppressed."

"Of the three people mentioned, two are retired and as far as I know the other is no longer in the teaching profession or indeed in this country."
That bit about "nothing has been suppressed" is a lie. Last November, on the eve of the scheduled publication of the ISI Report, the school took out an injunction against the ISI to prevent publication, seeking judicial review in the High Court of the decision. So of course the report has been suppressed. It has been suppressed for four months. It is just that the school has been unable to suppress it for any longer.

In its submission to the court, the school claimed that the ISI's report "is based on errors of fact and law, is unfairly inconsistent with other reports and is a judgment which no reasonable inspecting body could have reached".

To claim that a judgment is not "reasonable" is a very strong claim. This is legal jargon for saying that no unbiased person with two brain cells to rub together could possibly have reached the same conclusions. In other words, the school was alleging that the ISI was either grossly incompetent or biased. They don't say which.

As for "the three people mentioned", one is the former chaplain and chairman of governors, not named in the Gazette but whom we all know is Father Gregory Chillman, and two are former teachers. Their current status does not reduce one bit the school's obligations to send referrals to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). If one of the teachers is no longer in the teaching profession, this is no thanks to Mrs Gumley-Mason, because this should have been ensured by her sending the proper report to the ISA.

31 comments:

  1. As a parent I ask how much longer this incompetent Headmistress can be allowed to remain in her position? Why did she lie to parents and staff about the report and the court action? How much did legal action cost the school?

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  2. It looks like any legal action taken, failed and Gumley Mason was unable to supress the truth. The legal fees will come out of the school budget, so its us parents that will end up paying for Gumley Mason's self preservation tactics. The Trustee's/Governor's must sack her immediately to avoid further disrepute being brought on the school.

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  3. This may well be a cause for a complaint to the Charity Commission, 16.13. If this legal action can be shown to be for, as contended elsewhere on this blog, reasons of personal preservation rather than in the interests of the Charity, then this would fit the Charity Commission complaints criterion of 'use of a charity for personal gain'.
    The school may expect a swoop by the Charity Commission in the near future; a full and detailed examination rather than the more normal rubber stamp.

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  4. As a member of staff I fully agree with your comment above that she should resign or the governors should remove her from post. She is becoming an increasing liability and bringing the school into disrepute. Please governors and trustees do your job.

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  5. Thats not all thats come out of the school budget!

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  6. Enlighten us what else comes out of the school budget? As parents we have a right to know.

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  7. Gumley Mason was aware in advance of the Gazette article as she was given the chance to make her idiotic quote. She can give a quote to the gazette but she does not have the sense to advise staff or parents that the school is about to be slated in a local newspaper. This woman is a loose cannon and must be sacked for the good of the school.

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  8. She's finally called a meeting on Friday for the parents, no doubt purely from the pressure she's receiving from this blog.

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  9. Mrs GM controls the Governors and Mr GM - the "estate factor" is Secretary to the Trustees and controls what they are told.

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  10. It is so incestuous they are both control freaks. Sack the pair of them, Governors do your job.

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  11. The Governors can 't sack her they are powerless. Only the Trustees can sack her.

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  12. Good job we took our girls out before this all happened, I always knew she was incapable of running the school. Trustees you know what to do!!!!

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  13. As an old girl Mrs GM was an irrational woman who should have been asked to leave years ago.She knows exactly what happens but turns a blind eyes, the teachers dont want to rock the boat so they say nothing and she continues to bully her way trough as head with her husband as her right hand man, an over paid assistant. Its ridiculas its taken this long and the Trustees should takes the required steps to removing her immediately.

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  14. Mrs Gumley-Mason has always been a bully, an awful awful woman. The sooner she is out, the better. I cannot stand her, just shows to show brains do not equal social skills. Private schools are not government run organisations, so who is ever to know when something like this happens? She's in a position of trust and power, but has exploited both. Sack her today, she doesn't deserve a place in a school...

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  15. Why does her (so called assistant) get a brand new car from the school? Why are his newspapers delivered to the school and the school pays for them? Is this like the scandal the Government just went through? Claim and the school will pay! What other items does he claim for that the school pays? Trustees do your job and investigate.

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  16. Ah give me a break, Ealing Gazette just can't stay away from any controversy regarding a Catholic school, of course they love to get in there and add their pieces of exaggeration.
    I was at that school 15 years and not once did I feel "unsafe" and "at risk of child abuse". And honestly, I'd like to see if any of the "trustees" could do a better job than Mrs G-M.

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  17. Whilst I can understand that it is important to investigate such a issue, it needs to be done constructively. Both my daughters go to this school and it has a wonderful ethos. Some of the comments in this blog would be best served by allowing the process to complete. There are great staff at ALL levels at this school and I hope this issue is resolved soon for their sake and that of the girls.

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  18. 23:40
    What is this "process" that you think should be allowed to complete?

    In terms of safeguarding, the ISI report quite clearly states that (whatever her other qualities) the headmistress is not fulfilling her statutory duties for child protection. So I have two questions for you.

    1. What (if anything) do you think should be done about that?

    2. How will you be able to tell when it has been done?

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  19. Can someone please clarify 19.41 comments regarding Mr GM AKA the assistant, what else does hwe claim for expenses from our school fees?

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  20. I attended St. Augustine's Priory from the age of 4-18 years and not once did I, or any of my sisters, feel any danger- in fact quite the opposite!! I've to thank the school for where it has put me today, two of us are solicitors (one qualified and the other still in training) and the third is in the process of her 6th form years with the realistic aspiration of studying medicine. I completely agree with a previous comment about the Gazette placing emphasis on any story regarding a Catholic school and it only adds fuel to the fire that the school is also private!! I think the real worry is the fact that there are teachers commenting on this blog complaining about Mrs. Gumley-Mason, yet they haven't the courage to stand up and remove their mask of anonymity. Surely, if they are so adamant about the conviction of their conception of Mrs. Gumley-Mason's ‘awful’ behaviour and dreadful tactics, what is stopping them from coming forward? The true answer is that they are reluctant as they know the allegations and accusations are wrong. They are simply getting some sort of ‘high’ from creating such controversy for a school that offered and are still offering the girls in my family a lovely, well-balanced academic life. Some people, including myself at times, may find Mrs. Gumley-Mason to be eccentric character but at the end of the day all of the best academics are! I think people on here, and in general, should stop shouting their mouths about matters to which they have no irrefutable evidence. I have full faith in the Augustinian ethos and the teachers that represent it. I hope this matter is resolved ASAP and the teachers, that are simply worrying parents- yet still willing to work for a woman who is an ‘increasing liability’ and is ‘bringing the school into disrepute’, identities are realised as in my opinion they are a fundamental source of concern.

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  21. FYI 19:41 the newspapers are delivered for the library, so any students can have access to them, they are not delivered to any "personal assistants".

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  22. 13.26
    You are entitled to your opinion, you and your sisters were obviusly the elite chosen ones, you cannot critcise the teachers for speaking freely on this blog. Something they are unable to do in the school as thier jobs would be jeopardised, the reason they remain anonymous is obvious, why have you?

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  23. 13.26 Obviously you are finding it hard to comprehend that not everyone loves Gumley Mason, your experience of her as a pupil is wholly different to a member of staffs .
    In most establishments you work along side the head with her it's her way or no way, and that's never open to discussion.

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  24. 14.22
    Thank you GM you've mannaged to answer 1 question what about the other ones you are being selective! I wonder why??????

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  25. 13.26 So pleased you and you family had such a marvellous time at St.Augustine's you make it sound like one long happy party, give a thought for the children who definately didn't have that experience.
    Also leave the teachers alone as hard as it might be for you to realise not everything about the way the school is being run is perfect
    and the teachers remain anonymous as thet need to work.

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  26. As an ex-teacher, I know full well the consequences of speaking out. A colleague still at the school, simply despises the woman but is unable to do anything. As she said 'you HAVE to smile and laugh at every witty remark she makes in the Staff Room, you HAVE to go on trips and pretend you want to be there. No she is not a 'pet Labrador', but merely putting things into perspective. She was unemployed and unable to gain work for a whole year, she learned computing and applied to go back.She knows what it is like to be unemployed only too well and she needs to be there to look after her own daughter. Too easy for others to say 'speak up' but what would she gain - absolutely nothing. Would you say anything if you were in the same position? I don't think so! All the G.M.s' use the school franking machine for their own personal mail. By the way the girl with 2 sisters who had a nice time at the school - yes I believe one of you was a Head Girl, am I right? Remember you - nice girls, good family - glad everything worked out well for you.

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  27. My wife worked at the school in the late nineties but left partly because of Mrs GM's bullying tactics and her suppression of free speech. She surrounded herself by sychophants, some of whom had children at the school on large bursaries. I believe one Chairman of the governors resigned and took his children away from the school because of Mrs GM's bahaviour - at the time his uncle was the Archbishop of Westminister.

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  28. I can't believe some of the things that I am hearing. Contrary to popular belief I also had an amazing time at the school. No I am not one of the elite I am however lucky. Mrs Gumley - Mason changed my life and ther are no two ways about it. She gave me a bursary to attend as my mum (yep a single parent family!!!!!!) could not afford it and I was badly bullied in my previous school. At 22 I can honestly say her support and care is what made me the person I am today and gave me the confidence and SOCIAL SKILLS to be a valuable member of society. Yes staff members got 50% off the fees for their children and so they should as I am sure as parents your husbands get company cars, private healthcare, flights and gym membership. Freedom of speech is allowed however I find all of your remarks extremely slanderous and I am appauled at the way some are conducting themselves. It is funny how when the sh*t hits the fan the masses come out in full force. St Augustines was the best time of my life - a tad like st trinians in some ways, however it was my extended family!

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  29. It would be dreadful if you did not support her considering that she gave you a totally free education. I should hope that you would always be grateful. However as we are paying full fees I believe we are also entitled to have our say. Ms Walters I do hope that your sister feels the same way about the school.

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  30. 20.07 Your mummy wouldn't be one of the gouverners ?

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  31. 16.21 Alot of parents make real sacrafices to send thier children to private schools, who are you to pass judgement on people who work hard and get perks, and by the way they are in the minority.
    You were very lucky I know of other people who had to take thier children out of the school when thier marriages broke down, the head was not accommadating at all.

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