Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday 26 February 2012

I'd been worrying about my Buxton Rambling Club walk for weeks, for no good reason. In the end there were 12 of us chattering non-stop for about 15 miles, all fairly happy as far as I could tell, even the 'new girl' Julie, who was very determined, very cheerful but found the steep bits very hard work. She admitted cheerfully 'I'm just too fat!'
There were a few unplanned stretches, such as bounding over bogs and tussocks where I mistook a sheep-track for the footpath and, memorably, happening upon Red Brook and scrambling up it instead of keeping to the path. The river with its boulders and deep orangey-brown pools was more fun.

Di Denvers said Sheffield had been wonderful for her daughters, both of whom went there and loved it - friendly, go-ahead, excellent teaching, excellent employment prospects. Andy said the same, as he'd studied electronics there himself. I passed this on to Catherine, but she was feeling and looking blitzed after a day of maths and English. She said 'I just don't get some of the maths questions. I spent hours working out what I should be doing.' 'Do you need to ask the teacher then?' 'Oh no, I worked it out for myself, but it took so long, and now I have English to do as well.' Poor girl; she has another three months of this constant mental battering. There seems no way out but through, and the best to hope for seems occasional days or half days off for the sake of sanity. As she says, it's the same for everybody, but with Mocks next month and coursework piling on as well as revision, it must feel like facing the Berlin Wall.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday 24 February 2012

Some woman at college - who is unfortunately also a ToK examiner - tore Catherine's ToK essay to shreds on grounds that included poor presentation, inadequate citation, undeveloped ideas... She covered it in red marks and sarcastic comments, including rings round all the contractions (can't, wouldn't etc) that help it 'flow' and are actually encouraged in customer communications and the like these days. I would like to ask her why she is so set against bringing writing into the 21st century. More importantly, what part of her brief is to reduce the ablest, most conscientious and most hardworking students in the college to tears and demand more rewrites, further total revisions, on an essay that will count for one mark maximum, when they already face a barrage of coursework and revision on their main six subjects? What part does sarcasm - destructive instead of constructive criticism - play in any serious teaching? As a ToK examiner, she must know what she's looking for, but the way to achieve it should be to build on the students' understanding, not destroy its foundations. If they've sat through 18 months of ToK without discovering what it is or how to write about it, doesn't that indict the ToK teacher rather than the students? Does it not occur to her how easily her condemnatory attitude could wreck the little confidence and fragile hopes that they rely on to get them through the final 3 months of schooling?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday 22 February 2012

PNFS has lapsed into silence, though whether it is ominous, deathly or just apathetic I'm not sure.

It's Catherine's turn to come under the spotlight, and for a change she is coping well with the attention. Her progress report and parents evening reports all praised her to the skies for her intelligence, diligence, contribution to class,  "the ideal IB student", "a pleasure to teach", etc, and instead of squirming and hotly denying the compliments she accepted them with quiet satisfaction and asked if I was proud of her. Not that she needed to ask. So far she is coping sensibly with the pressure of impending exams too, working steadily and knowing she'll do her best and can't do more.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday 12 February 2012

They cracked. It went to the brink: the trustees were lined up to insist Dave 'was not a fit and proper person'; Dave had his statement ready to show that all he had done was to the benefit of the Society and that the poison set in when he accused Rogerson of lying to him over the minutes secretary business - because he had.

On Tuesday evening David Bratt telephoned. This was the first time he had spoken to Dave since October. He told him that the dispute was tearing the Society apart, and for the sake of the Society he wanted to avert the 'brutal' and bloody' showdown on Friday. He proffered a solution: that he would resign as trustee and president if Dave would also resign as officer.

Dave replied that he didn't want to see the Society torn to pieces either, but his first concern was to repair his honour and reputation; he was prepared to resign but first he wanted a public apology, exoneration from all charges and all suspicion, and his legal fees refunded. And David Bratt agreed. Dave also apologised in full for being rude to Bratt. He said that if he got those concessions, he saw no reason why Bratt should resign either post; in his opinion the wrong trustee was resigning.

Bratt, however, insists he is determined to go. We think the rift with Rogerson may run deeper than we know; he certainly hinted at that. Or maybe the letters from at least two other officers, saying they wanted no part in such a blatantly unfair 'trial' that would only bring shame on the Society, made the trustees realise their madness. All sides are bruised by the affair. But Dave now has a statement from the trustees, as follows:

On behalf of the PNFS Trustees following a meeting on Friday 10th Feb 2012 I can inform you that the following has been agreed:
1. The assertion that you are not a fit and proper person to be an Officer of the Society has been withdrawn.
2. The independent financial review undertaken by Liz Hudson completely exonerates you of any suspicion of misappropriating the charity funds, of misusing the charity, or of procedural non-compliance.
3. Your suspension has been lifted and you are allowed access to Taylor House and the computers.
4. The Society will pay the legal fees that you have incurred (approx  £204). 

Rhoda Barnett has asked him to go back to helping with her legal committee. Rogerson looks likely to stand for Chairman again, but I would like to think he might be less ready to bully the next person to disagree with him, or that he might not be allowed such a grip on power in future. I tell Dave to avoid shaking his hand, or perhaps to offer him a mince pie instead. 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday 4 February 2012

Preparations for Friday's kangaroo court proceed - from bad to worse. We now learn that not only will the trustees be judge and jury, but if the officers don't do as they want, ie vote to expel Dave, 'that will not be the end of the matter'.
The trustees can do just as they want, since they have all the power. Dave alternates between bombast and despair. But the time for roars of righteous rhetoric are past. There is no doubting what the outcome will be. But he has this one chance to make it clear how irrationally and vindictively they have acted, and how expensive, destructive and unnecessary this whole episode has been.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wednesday 1 February 2012

For all the hopes and careful exhortations that went into the build-up to Rhoda Barnett's visit, it went absolutely nowhere. "She was adamant that because they had 'a suspicion', that was enough to set off the suspension and inquiry. She refused to go beyond that into the reasons for the suspicion. They did see the email in which I offered to pay the £25 myself but evidently chose to ignore or disbelieve it. Now they have accepted the report - that I am innocent of financial irregularity - but still seem to think I should have known about the non-existent procedure on paying family. All the good work, cost savings, benefits for the Society counts for nothing. Having spent all that money on the inquiry, they are now determined to force me out on the grounds that I am an unfit person to be an officer of the Society. I am to be tried at the officers meeting on 10th February. Bratt and Rogerson will put their case, I will put mine, the other three trustees will decide who is right, and the officers will decide if I stay or go. They will be told that if the vote goes against Bratt and Rogerson, all the trustees will resign. They need 8 votes, The trustees are also officers, so there they have 5. Shall I take a toy kangaroo to sit beside me in the trial?"
Dave tells me not to get so bothered; he's beyond caring and they aren't worth it. He knows he can't win - only one and possibly two other officers will stand up for him if they are told the alternative is to lose all the trustees. But the blatant unfairness, the ruthless bullying, stupefies me.
He wonders whether to bother attending, or just to resign now. Catherine says he should walk away; the sooner he goes, the sooner we'll all get over it. For now, he thinks he may as well attend; he has nothing to lose and it will be one last chance to confront Rogerson with some home truths.