Saturday, 9 April 2011

Vaughan parents treated to show of Westminster's management style?

The letter below speaks for itself. It refers to last Wednesday evening when the Vaughan Parents Action Group met again for a peaceful candlelit vigil at Cardinal Vaughan School.
Again, prayers were said and hymns sung and then Monsignor Curry put in an appearance:-

Damian Thompson and EF Pastor also have this covered.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols
Archbishop’s House Ambrosden Avenue London SW1P 1QJ
8 April 2011

Your Grace

We write to express our grave concern at the turn of events during last Wednesday night’s meeting of the Cardinal Vaughan Governing Body on 6th April 2011, witnessed by a large number of parents and pupils who had gathered in the School car park at the culmination of the Candlelit Vigil of prayer and hymn singing, held outside the School gates.
At the end of the Vigil, parents and pupils processed into the car park, and were gathered under the window of the library where the meeting was taking place. We have received a number of witness statements which describe what took place, but the salient facts are these:
• Mr Eynaud, the Acting Headmaster, was seen sitting at the desk in the Head’s office, directly below the library.
• Parents were singing ‘Faith of Our Fathers’; it was observed that someone closed the library windows, presumably to shut out the sound.
• Mgr Curry (identified by parishioners of Our Lady of Victories and Our Lady of Grace, although he was not wearing clerical attire) entered the Head’s office and approached Mr Eynaud; clearly very angry, he was gesticulating with his index finger very close to Mr Eynaud, even appearing to prod him in the chest.
• Mr Stubbings, the Deputy Headmaster, and Mr O’Donnell entered the room; at one point both Mgr Curry and Mr O’Donnell both appeared to be shouting at Mr Eynaud, while Mr Stubbings was trying to interpose himself between them.
• It appeared that no one in the room was aware of the large number of adults and children who were watching this scene with a sense of mounting shock and dismay. The hymn singing had ceased and a section of the group was demanding the removal of the Director of Education from the Board of Governors; at this, Mr Eynaud emerged into the car park. He asked that the gathering should disperse and appeared pale and very shaken. He spoke to parents and his words implied that he had been given the impression, by Mgr Curry’s words or behaviour, that his career was now ‘finished’.
• As the group was beginning to disperse, Mgr Curry, followed by Mr O’Donnell, moved towards the door opposite, leading into a corridor. At this, a number of parents began to shout comments such as, ‘Why won’t you come and talk to us?’ They both left the room, leaving Mr Eynaud and Mr Stubbings behind. As the shouting continued, one of the organisers announced that proceedings were at an end and asked everyone to leave. The car park was cleared within two minutes.
We believe that what occurred represents an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship that must exist between a Head and a member of the Governing Body. The Head had no responsibility for the presence of the parent group in the car park; no official notification had been given by the Governing Body that parents were barred from the School grounds (although a request that the Chairman of Governors should meet with parents in the School Hall before the Governors’ meeting had been refused). In any case, there can be no excuse for the bullying and intimidation to which Mr Eynaud was subjected.
Mgr Curry’s continued participation on the appointments panel for the new Head is obviously now out of the question. We believe that his membership of the Governing Body is also now untenable and we request that you replace him as your representative immediately. We also request that Mr Eynaud be given an immediate written apology.
Your Grace, a very large number of Cardinal Vaughan parents have written to you over recent months, asking a great number of questions; none has received a reply from you. On this occasion, we believe that a direct response from you is necessary.
We continue to hold your intentions in our prayers, and would ask you to pray for us as well.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs Anna Brown
Chairman of the Vaughan Parents’ Action Group
Patrons: Professor the Lord Alton, Professor Philip Booth, Professor David Crystal, Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Patti Fordyce, Professor Luke Gormally, Michael Gormally, Lord Grantley, Paul Johnson, Edward Leigh MP, Lord Lexden, Colin Mawby, Charles Moore, Professor Judith Mossman, Cristina Odone, Professor Thomas Pink, Piers Paul Read, Dr John Martin Robinson, Anthony Speaight QC, Dr Ralph Townsend, Professor Mark Watson-Gandy, Ann Widdecombe


  1. This is scandalous, but unsurprising.

    At around the same time that I withdrew my younger children from our local primary school, some of my friends became very concerned about the activities of the new headteacher.
    She was widely regarded as a bully.
    At her previous school all the teachers had left within her first year there.

    Now again, teachers and other staff were all leaving as soon as they could get other jobs. The governing body who appointed her closed ranks and cold shouldered any dissenting parents. Many long standing friendships were ruptured . Some people left the parish because so much of the bad feeling had started to sour relationships there ( most of the governors also held lots of high profile roles in the parish: catechists, EMHC's, readers etc)

    Parents were warned that the new head enjoyed a very good relationship with Bishop Stack and that any appeals to the Diocese would be a waste of time.
    The headteacher often mentioned " Bishop George" and he showed up to a few of the performances at the school where he was ushered around and kept well away from any who were not in the "inner circle".

    A new parish priest became involved after many many parents had visited him in tears wanting to find another school for their children. He had also met her and could discern himself that things were very "off".
    When he brought his concerns to the diocese he was put "under obedience" and told to have nothing further to do with the matter.

    A congenitally polite friend of mine who runs a mile from any trouble or rancour, became very concerned at the new culture that was developing at the school.
    She asked if she could start a mothers prayer group in the school and was denied on the grounds of "child protection".
    So she took to praying the rosary with another mother outside the school in the morning, sometimes in the pouring rain.
    Shortly after this had become an established morning routine, a member of admin staff ( a new lady who had replaced the much beloved former staff who had both felt bullied out of their jobs) came out onto the road with a "message" that they were asked to "stop praying outside the school because it was intimidating the staff and children inside".
    This same friend was quite persistent, along with her husband in bringing to the attention, first of the governors and then the diocese, all the concerns about the activities of this headteacher and a number of the governing body.
    She was told by the assistant director of education at the diocese that her involvement in the problems at the school would mark her as a trouble maker and he added darkly that it would "affect her chances" of getting her children into the secondary schools of their choice.
    It didn't. Her and her husband applied to the London Oratory and her son got in.
    But many parents remained very upset but kept quiet for fear that it would affect their childrens high school applications.
    I'm afraid that there has been a long established culture of high handed behaviour and bullying in the Westminster Diocese. So far they have always had the cards stacked in their favour. They wield considerable power and they know it.
    I am watching this with great interest and also considerable trepidation. Maybe this will be the final undoing of this cabal of bullies and professional catholics.
    I hope so.

  2. That's a very disturbing story.
    Who knows what's down the road? Well, Mgr. Jim is destined to be hung out to dry like the Mgr who was also only following orders and who got the flak for the Papal visit chaos.
    If Mgr Jim is destined for oblivion, there's an episcopal slitherer who deserves to follow him, pdq.

  3. Clare - tragic story but one, I suspect, that could be repeated around the country. I know of one excellent priest of Kent who was "withdrawn" from his parochial duties because he taught children in the convent school about the ACTUAL Body and Blood of Our Lord present under the appearances of bread and wine.

  4. And weren't there a couple of priests in the Southwark diocese some years ago who were sent away from their parish after the primary school headmistress complained that they were instructing children to receive the Host on the tongue.
    They were far too traditional for her liking. But instead of telling her to take a running jump, the then bishop penalised the priests.