'Secret cult' must open up

As a former pupil of one of the schools investigated, I was delighted to read your article about the damning findings of the Townend inquiry. His report is long overdue vindication for many former pupils who have been struggling for years to have their complaints heard.

As you point out, St James was set up by the School of Economic Science (SES). This secretive organisation, referred to many times in Mr Townend's report, is widely seen as a religious cult and sparked a series of articles in the Evening Standard in the 1980s and a book, Secret Cult, by former Standard journalists Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg. The SES weathered that negative publicity through its traditional method of silence.

Although its power has been eroded, the SES still exercises huge influence over St James schools. According to Mr Townend's report, 75 per cent of teachers at the senior schools are SES members.

The culture of violence which existed at my former school has at last been acknowledged. It is now time for the SES to throw off its culture of silence and be open about what it is, and the influence it has on the St James schools.

Tom Grubb 100 Holly Park Road London N11

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