The Inquiry into the St James Independent Schools in London

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News updates since the Townend Inquiry

27/6/06 Leaked report condemns management failure and SES control of St James

The full extent of decades of management failure and SES control of St James Schools has been revealed in a leaked internal report. The 1996 "St James Report" describes how teachers were exploited and reveals an extraordinary catalogue of irregular practices and attempts to recruit pupils into the School of Economic Science (SES). The author, himself a governor at the time, describes St James as “an SES controlled special school” and “closer to a sect than to the open and fully independent school that its name and prospectus imply’.

The Parents & Pupils Inquiry Action Group have responded to the leaked report by repeating our calls for resignations and a complete separation of St James from the SES.

Top Click here to read more


24/5/06 h SES issues first statement on the inquiry

Over four months after the Townend inquiry's abuse findings, the SES has broken its silence. Donald Lambie, personally appointed successor to Leonardo da Vinci Maclaren as leader of the SES, today issued a statement posted on the schools' inquiry website.

His statement includes the following apology.." I am extremely sorry that there was any mistreatment of children in the early years at St James and St Vedast and that this caused unhappiness and distress to a number of former pupils. I apologise for any part played by the School of Economic Science in that".

PPIAG welcome the apology such as it is. However Mr Lambie has not clarified whether he (and the SES) accept the findings of the Townend inquiry in full - including that the SES effectively ran St James and St Vedast during the period of worst abuse. Nor has he acknowledged the SES's responsibility for its role in the abuse that occurred.

Top b Click here for the SES statement (122KB) - or visit http://www.iirep.com


13/4/06 Chair of Governors responds to the open letter
Roger Pincham, Chair of the Board of Governors of the St James schools, responded to the open letter today claiming the open letter signatories were "threatening the schools with disruption" and seeking assurances that this was not the case. More positively, was the statement "... it is accepted that a fundamental review of the governors of St. James school would be timely and in order..". PPIAG reiterates the call for Mr Pincham's immediate resignation and calls for a transparent process for the reform of governance at St James involving meaningful consultation with parents.
Top b Click here for the Governors response to the open letter (360KB)


April 06 St James publishes 'FAQ' for parents
After years of secrecy and lack of transparency about the St James / SES relationship, St James has published a new pamphlet for parents addressing 'Frequently Asked Questions". Whilst PPIAG's opinion is much of the pamphlet is spin, we wholeheartedly welcome its introduction. Three decades on prospective parents are finally being told something about the SES and its influence on St James.
Top b Click here for the FAQ document (190KB)


30/3/06 100 signatures as open letter is sent to St James Governors
An open letter, calling for the Chair of Governors immediate resignation and for action against teachers who has mistreated pupil, has been sent to the Board of Governors. Nearly 100 parents and pupils (including some currently in the school or SES) signed the letter.
Top Click here to read or sign the open letter


14/3/06 Channel 4 News

Special report broadcast on Channel 4 news

A twelve minute special report by Channel 4's social affairs correspondent Victoria Macdonald was broadcast today under the headline.....Schools abuse inquiry: Children abused and criminally assaulted at two English private schools run by an educational charity - or is it a cult?
Top g


12/3/06 No further disciplinary action against teachers still in post at St James

The governors have issued a statement outlining their decision about disciplinary action against teachers named in the Townend report who are still teaching in the school. They revealed that the teachers cases had been reviewed by a committee of Governors who recommended one teacher should receive a formal reprimand. Beyond that there will be no disciplinary action against any teacher. Although we do not have access to Townend's detailed findings against the specific teachers we have seen many of the inquiry submissions and complaints relating to them. In light of this our opinion is that the Governors response if wholly inadequate.

Top b Click here for the Governors decisions (114KB) - or visit http://www.iirep.com


14/2/06 Statement to UK Parliament by Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills

The written statement was made after Mike Hancock MP asked the Secretary of State for Education and Skills "what recent representations she has received on the mistreatment of pupils at St. James' Independent Schools in London, with particular reference to the School of Economic Science".

Top Click here for report in the Hansard


12/2/06 St James Governors attack PPIAG and issue "clarification on key questions"

The Schools' governors have issued a response (on their website www.iirep.com) to some of the questions raised by PPIAG and others. They have confirmed that all current parents have been informed of the outcome of the inquiry. The statements says of the relationship between the SES and St James that ... "All new parents are informed during their introductory meetings with Headteachers of the St James schools about the connection with the School of Economic Science (SoES)" ...and that "Allegations that this is a link which the schools would prefer to be hidden are part of a continuing attempt to ‘smear’ the SoES and its extraordinary contribution to the development of this educational initiative".

The governors insist that "There is no ‘doctrine’ taught at the St James Schools, nor are there hidden agendas" and claim that those who continue to question the Schools and SES / SoES are a "small group of hardened ‘activists' ".

Top b Click here for the Governors "Clarification of Key Questions" (120KB) - or visit http://www.iirep.com


9/2/06 Call to support an 'open letter' to St James

A former pupil, is asking pupils, parents, (either former or current), and any others within the schools' community to join him by signing an 'open letter' he has written to the schools. His letter calls for the Schools to act on the inquiry. To read his letter and add your signature click the link below or send an email to Open Letter@tiscali.co.uk

Top Click here to read or sign the open letter


26/1/06 St James Governors outline 'follow up action' in response to the Inquiry

The Governors today released details (on their website www.iirep.com) of the action they are taking in response to the inquiry's findings. They rejected calls for resignations and dismissed concerns about the influence of the SES. A process for 'reconciliation', set up by the governors, was outlined for the first time.

Top b Click here for the Governors update (130KB) - or visit http://www.iirep.com


16-20/1/06 National and local newspapers cover the release of the Townend Inquiry report
b Several national and local newspapers including the Times Educational Supplement and the London Evening Standard carry stories covering release of the Townend Inquiry report and PPIAG's response.
Click here to read the newspaper articles


16/1/06 Parents and Pupils Action Group:
Public Statement issued in response to the publication of the Inquiry Report
Our full response to the Report and a call for resignations. Our statement also calls for the Governing Body to urgently address questions we believe the Inquiry raises for the current schools.
Top b Click here for our Statement (41KB)


14/1/06 St James Governors and Headteachers issue statements
The Governors and Headteachers of St James Schools release separate statements giving their response to the Inquiry Report.
Top b Click here for the Governors and Headteachers Statements (210KB)


14/1/06 Townend inquiry report made public - children 'criminally assaulted'

The report of the St James & St Vedast Schools Inquiry published on a website set up by the schools. The Inquiry found that there had been excessive use of corporal punishment, physical and mental mistreatment of pupils and “criminal assault” by teachers.

Top b Click here for the full General Report of the Inquiry (325KB)


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