A Catholic School Tradgedy - Corpus Christi Catholic College

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

Mrs  Ann Maguire
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Corpus Christi Catholic College - Leeds
It is with deep regret that we must record the tragic death of Mrs  Ann Maguire, allegedly at the hands of one of her pupils, a boy of fifteen years - Tuesday 29 April 2014.
Naturally all reasonable people would offer their deepest sympathy to the friends and family of Mrs Ann Maguire, who was a long serving member of the teaching staff at the Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.
Considering the unfortunate position of Catholic Education in England at present, this is a tragedy that the Catholic Church in England could well do without, however, it is immediately evident that a thorough 'cover-up' of the nature of this event is already under-way.

Corpus Christi Catholic College

School Prayer
Today, as we WORK together,
we ask you:
Be with us, Lord

Today, as we LEARN together,
we ask you:
Be with us Lord

Today, as we PRAY together,
we ask you:
Be with us Lord

Today, as we GROW together,
we ask you:
Be with us Lord

Today as we live our MISSION,
we ask you
Be with us Lord

Corpus Christi Catholic College is a secondary school located in Halton Moor, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
The school currently has a roll of around 900 to 1,000 pupils.
Around 50% of pupils achieve 5 A-C grades at GCSE.
In September 2001 Corpus Christi became the first Inner City Leeds High School to gain Specialist School status when it became a Technology College.
In 2005 the school became a member of the Specialist Schools Most Improved Schools’ Club for the second occasion.
It was awarded a School Achievement Award in 2003 and a recognition for the Healthy Schools Scheme.

Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church - Leeds
In November 2006 the school was rated as overall Grade 2 (Good) by Ofsted, while, the same month, awarding it Grade 1 (Outstanding).
The school rewards its pupils with monetary Attendance Draws for pupils with high attendance; 'Going for Gold' and punctuality certificates; and house points and credits with vouchers and certificates.
Between 2009 and 2013, with funds from the UK Government and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, the school was refurbished and modernised.
Corpus Christi Catholic College feeder primary schools are Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, St Theresa's Roman Catholic Primary School, St Gregory's Catholic Primary School, Our Lady's Catholic Primary School and St Nicholas' Catholic Primary School.
Like many other Roman catholic school, which call themselves academies or colleges, it is significant that this school has adopted the term 'college', presumably to raise its status.

Mrs Maguire's death, after more than 40 years' teaching at the school, is thought to be the first time a teacher has been stabbed to death in a British classroom, and the first killing of a teacher in a school since the 1996 Dunblane massacre.
Mrs Maguire, who was 61 years old, had reduced her teaching load to four days a week, and was due to retire in September.
While every attempt has been made to indicate that this appalling event was not typical of the part of Leeds in which the school is to be found, it is interesting to note that the very first television news report of the incident stated that the school was to be found in a 'rough area'.
Many pupils and parents described Mrs Maguire as “the school’s mother”.
It appears the Mrs Maguire had joined the school straight after university, and had devoted her life to the welfare of pupils, staying in touch with many long after they had left.

So what went wrong ?
Well, although many pupils and parents have said that everyone liked - even loved - Mrs Maguire, that is undoubtedly the hyperbole that so often follows a tragic event.
Logically, it is highly unlikely that in a school of between 900 to 1000 pupils everyone liked Mrs Maguire, or any of the other teachers for that matter.
And obviously, at least one pupil had very little liking for Mrs Maguire.
But why didn't anyone spot that 'supposedly' one, disgruntled pupil ?
It seems that Corpus Christi suffers from the same, politically correct, liberal agenda that afflicts, not only most schools, whether Catholic or otherwise, but also most public institutions in England.
It has been stated that Corpus Christi had a 'staff leadership team' and a 'pastoral team', and it is notable that little or no mention has been made of the head and/or deputy head teacher.
'Teams', of course, allow for the 'spreading' of responsibility', to the extent that no one is actually responsible for anything or anyone.
This has been seen in numerous recent scandals - in particular those related to hospitals and social services.
So what about the disgruntled fifteen year old ?

It has been reported that the, as yet, unnamed boy accused of stabbing to death Mrs Maguire chose to sit alone in lessons.
The teenager has also been described as a depressed introvert, who spent long periods on-line playing video games.
In addition, the boy used a drawing of the 'Death - the Grim Reaper' as the banner on his Facebook page.
His profiles on Google+ and YouTube also revealed his keen interest in 'Dark Souls' - a video game .
The middle-class teenager, who loved heavy metal music, was heard to say that he felt he was an ‘outcast’, and would isolate himself in school.
It has also been suggested that he was very bright, and was in the top sets for everything.
Apparently the boy had previously threatened to commit suicide after complaining of bullying, and it has been reported that he had experimented with drugs.
Neighbours have also stated that he would not make eye contact with them, or acknowledge their greetings as he walked past. 
The boy's mother – a human resources manager who separated from his father, a council executive, a decade ago – had always seemed a responsible, attentive parent.
Undoubtedly the boy was a 'loner', who did well in all subjects apart from Spanish and, of course, his Spanish teacher was Mrs Maguire.
Significantly,  other pupils stated that he had seemed increasingly troubled in  recent months.
It has also been reported that he was apparently suicidal, and had tried to kill himself several times. 
In addition, the boy often went into school carrying 'Jack Daniels' and beer, and he was a considered to be a ‘goth’ by his contemporaries.
And most significantly, the boy told classmates he had a knife, and allegedly warned he was planning to attack Mrs Maguire because she “was giving him grief”, and had boasted the week before the killing he would kill Mrs Maguire – but no one took him seriously.
And did any of the pupils who knew the boy's boasts tell any of the staff (and in particular Mr C Fletcher who is the CL PE, Inclusion Leader, E-Safety Officer, Designated Child Protection Officer - or Mrs J Howard - CL Health & Social Care, ICT & Year Leader - or the Lay Chaplain
Miss M Scahill) - and if not, why not ?
And if the staff were not told, then it implies that the pupils saw little point in telling the staff, which puts into question the professional abilities of the said staff.
But if the staff were told, then what action was taken by the staff to deal effectively with the problem ?
These questions, of course, will probably never be answered adequately.
Now in this tragic case there were enough warning signs here for even the most un-perceptive adult to see that there was a real, and serious problem.
But the ludicrously well-paid, 'team members' on the staff, who were supposed to be running the school, were obviously too busy with their clipboards, schedules, i-pads and other paraphernalia to notice a real boy in real pain - or to realise that a serious problem had developed between one of the pupils and a particular member of staff.
And although it may seem like sacrilege, we must also wonder if Mrs Maguire was really as nice to everybody, as it is now claimed.

So what's to be done ?
Simples !
Actually see pupils as they really are - easily said - hard to do - but it would help many, and even save some lives.
And ensure that teachers are truly responsible, and not hiding behind endless 'politically-correct' jargon.
Such 'jargon' revolves around such concepts as 'community', 'inclusiveness', 'teams', 'caring', 'responsibility' and 'respect'.
Such aims or ideals are all very well - but simply saying them, or including them in a so-called 'mission statement' will not create a good and safe institution, or protect staff and pupils from the possible tragedies that may occur in the everyday life of a typical school.
to be continued

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

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