The John Fisher School (JFS) Purley – Teachers’ Union Vs Archdiocese: Who Is Telling The Truth?

The John Fisher School (JFS) Purley – Teachers’ Union Vs Archdiocese: Who Is Telling The Truth?

Editor writes…

The teacher’s strike at the John Fisher School (JFS) has ended, but there is a major discrepancy between the claims made by the National Education Union (NEU) and the Archdiocese of Southwark on the terms of the agreed settlement.  More on that in a sec but first, for context, to refresh memories but especially for those just finding out about this school scandal now, read our previous blog on the anti-Catholic bigotry of Simon James Green, and also reach links to our original reports on this saga, by clicking  here

For the latest news, read on…

The i newspaper report of 27 May, headlined Catholic School Backpedals after banning gay author – by inviting different LGBTQ+ writer”  includes the following statement from the NEU…

“We are pleased to have come to agreement with the school around the visit of an author whose writing includes LGBT+ relationships. The event will take place in the upcoming academic year within a series of events about the celebration of diversity within literature and with the educational outcome of fostering a love of reading. A range of other measures were agreed including training and a re-affirming of commitment to diversity.”  Ends.

Shocked at this apparent capitulation, I immediately emailed the Archdiocese of Southwark and received the following prompt reply from Fr Phil Andrews, Private Secretary to the Archbishop:

Thank you for your email. The Archdiocese has, today, issued the following statement:

The Archdiocese of Southwark Education Commission is grateful for the progress that has been made in resolving the industrial action at the John Fisher Catholic School, Purley. We support the mission of the new Governing Body in working collaboratively with the leadership and staff, and with parents and carers of pupils at the school. 

We are committed to collaborating with the school in upholding its Catholic ethos, faithful to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church. We will ensure that every activity in the school, including future invitations to outside speakers, are compliant with statutory guidance concerning the protected characteristics of faith schools, the age and faith appropriate use of resources, and the care and support for everyone in a diverse teaching and learning community. In this, we treasure the traditions of faith and prayer which have been passed on to us and the dignity of each person created in the image and likeness of God.

The John Fisher School have issued the following statement, too.  Both statements may be found here 

I hope these statements clarify the situation regarding the NEU’s own statement.

With every good wish, and blessing
Fr Phil Andrews.  Ends.

I forwarded the above statement from the archdiocese to Caroline Cowie, Union representative, adding that while Father is very charitably not calling the Union spokesperson a fibber, the contradiction is clear.  There will be no similar invitations issued to anyone, which are not compliant with Catholic teaching on sexuality as with everything else.  End of.

When, in some toing and froing of emails, I put it to Caroline Cowie, representing the Union that the statement from the NEU and the statement from the archdiocese, were contradictory, she refused to say that the statement from the archdiocese is false, saying instead:  The NEU statement is correct and is the agreed position following negotiation through ACAS between the school and our members. [And later]… We are making no comment whatsoever regarding the Archdiocese what I am pointing out to you is that the NEU statement that you are referring to from the Independent article is part of the negotiated agreement between the school and NEU members. Ends.


I invited Will Hazell, author of the Independent report to comment for  inclusion in this report. Lo and behold, would you believe, he has not replied.


Given that Will Hazell’s report contains whopping errors, I’m not really surprised that he’s chosen to ignore my invitation to comment for the purposes of this blog article.  His report falsely claims, for instance, that Simon James Green’s “books for young adults feature gay characters” without noting (a) that pupils in years 8 and 9 are not “young adults” (they’re 12/13 year olds) and without noting (b) that, far from merely featuring gay characters, Green’s writings are pornographic.  You can read some of it for yourself here but be warned, you are about to read utter filth, aimed at children. I believe at one time they used to call that sort of thing, grooming.

Finally, Hazell fails to publish any part of the statement from the archdiocese, disingenuously closing his piece with the rather misleading “Southwark Archdiocese was contacted for comment.”

And so, finally…  Teachers’ Union Vs Archdiocese: Who Is Telling The Truth?  My money is on the archdiocese, the Union naturally keen to save face at the end of a totally unnecessary strike. In any event, we will be keeping a close watch on the JFS to make sure there is no repeat of this scandal.  For now, pray for all involved in this debacle.

St John Fisher, pray for us!

Comments (21)

  • Emanuele Ciriachi Reply

    Thank you for the update. As a Catholic parent whose son may or may not attend John Fisher in the near future, I am of course concerned about the situation.


    June 1, 2022 at 1:11 am
    • editor Reply


      I’m pleased to note that you are reflecting on whether or not to send your son to the JFS in the near future. I can tell from your careful following of our reporting on the matter that you will not make your decision lightly.

      In case you miss it, there is a report / update on the scandal in our current (June) newsletter, just online today. If you scroll to page 12, you can read it here

      June 1, 2022 at 11:22 am
    • Fidelis Reply

      Emanuele Ciriachi,

      In your place, I’d be wanting the people responsible for this scandal gone, as a precondition for sending my son there. That’s the least I would expect. That’s the Head and other staff (including the strikers) – I would want them gone from the school. No way would I let them loose on any son of mine.

      June 1, 2022 at 8:42 pm
  • Catherine Reply

    I have to say, yet again, that I am always confirmed in my decision to home-school my own children when I read this sort of report. It’s too much of a risk to send them to any school, including Catholic schools, these days. Here in Scotland we have a government which is effectively pushing transgenderism among even the youngest children, telling teachers to let them change their names if they wish, and choosing their gender, without notifying parents. It’s absolutely shocking.

    The material in the Simon James Green book, Noah Can’t Even, which is linked in the introduction, is truly filthy. The very idea of my children being encouraged to buy and read it, is shocking. I know there are parents who are not Catholics who worry about this and one of my Protestant friends is seriously thinking of home-schooling her child, currently at primary level. It means sacrifice for parents, perhaps giving up a good job, but what price our children’s psychological and spiritual health? I took a year to decide to give up my job, which I loved, but I don’t regret it.

    I would urge the parents at the John Fisher School to seriously consider taking their child out of that school to home-educate them. You can get good programmes to help – I use the Seton Home-Study programme. Here is the link

    It teaches the whole curriculum with the faith at the centre of every subject. It’s a really good programme and my children have done well using it.

    The fact that there were so many teachers in the John Fisher School who actually went on strike over the cancellation of the gay author and that awful book, tells me this is not a suitable school for Catholic education. Frankly, unless there is a clear-out of staff, I would be very wary indeed of entrusting my children to them for a minute, never mind the whole school year.

    June 1, 2022 at 9:07 am
  • Andrew Q Reply

    Incidents like this are perhaps one reason why Catholic parents are committing to home schooling or making the sacrifice of moving home to one of the new hybrid academies like the ICKSP’s St Benedict’s and the FSSP’s Regina Caeli. There’s also the more traditional private school model of the SSPX’s St Michael’s. At this point I’d hardly regard the others as offering a Catholic education.

    June 1, 2022 at 10:16 am
    • Margaret Mary Reply

      Andrew Q,

      I agree that the “Catholic” schools are not offering a Catholic education and it’s good that more parents are opting to home-school or send their children to the traditional Catholic schools available, but sending children to boarding school is a last option, IMHO. I think children need to be in the family home, growing up, not boarding schools, so I hope more and more parents choose home-schooling. It’s the most effective way to say they’ve had enough and don’t trust the schools any more.

      June 1, 2022 at 11:15 am
      • Andrew Q

        Margaret Mary

        I agree about boarding schools being a last option. That’s what is so positive about the ICKSP and FSSP “hybrid academies” they’re non-residential places where the curriculum is traditionally Catholic. They work slightly differently: the ICKSP children are taught by the Canons, Sisters and teachers five days a week with daily Mass part of the framework. The FSSP children attend several days per week with a curriculum for the parents to deliver on the days they don’t attend. Again, Mass is central.

        June 1, 2022 at 11:37 am
      • Margaret Mary

        Andrew Q,

        That’s all very interesting, thank you for that information. That all sounds very positive. I would still prefer to home-school if possible, since there is so much confusion around and even the traditional groups have their shortcomings.

        June 1, 2022 at 12:14 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Andrew Q,

      I don’t think it’s just incidents like this, because I keep meeting parents all over the place who are concerned about what is being taught in Catholic schools. They seem to avoid teaching about Catholicism. Pupils often don’t know the basics.

      They really are no different from non-denominational schools, and I expect them to keep going along with every madness coming out of Holyrood. The latest is that kilts are racist and children should not get sympathy for “white tears” if they’re told they’re racist. This is from the SNP whom the Scottish Bishops support, please note.

      So, there’s no way Catholic schools are going to be any different any more, not in any truly meaningful way. That’s really why I think more parents are turning to home-schooling, and not only Catholic parents, BTW. There are Protestant parents who home-school as well. I see it as a growing trend, as the schools become more disconnected from reality, the parents will vote with their feet.

      June 1, 2022 at 2:16 pm
      • editor


        You are correct to say that Catholic schools these days are really no different from non-denominational schools, and this invitation to Simon James Green proves that, absolutely.

        I have taught in both Catholic and non- denominational schools and I have first-hand experience of the fact that when the Welsh Archbishop (Ward, I think) warned that children were safer in non-denominational schools than in Catholic schools, he wasn’t kidding. Of course, that was some years ago now. Non-denominational schools will have moved well and truly into the “Woke” centre by now, so I am sadly inclined to agree with Catherine that home-schooling is the only way to guarantee your child’s spiritual, religious and moral safety these days. As a former Head of RE in several schools, both Catholic and non-denominational, I take no pleasure at all in saying so, but that’s the truth of the matter.

        We will now stand and sing two verses of Faith of our Fathers 😀

        June 2, 2022 at 11:59 pm
  • Josephine Reply

    I sincerely hope that the archdiocese is telling the truth because if not, if there is a repeat performance of this scandal, I think the parents should take legal action on the basis of false advertising. If a school is advertising itself as Catholic and then proceeding to provide the same immoral events as any other school, disguised as “diversity”, then there should be legal consequences for all involved IMHO.

    Just think of the situation in reverse – if a Catholic Head Teacher leading a non-denominational school proceeded to organise “Catholic” events – the outcry would be instant and ferocious, starting with a sacking.

    I was in agreement with this blog’s call for the title “Catholic” to be removed from the JFS, definitely when the teachers went on strike. That hasn’t happened and I take it those same teachers will be influencing pupils for goodness knows how many years to come. That Head and those teachers need to go before there can be any serious attempt at restoring the Catholicity of that school.

    June 1, 2022 at 10:59 am
    • editor Reply


      Very good point – if any Catholic Head tried to organise an overtly Catholic event in a non-denominational school, there would be indignation-through-to-outrage. Diversity, my foot!

      June 2, 2022 at 8:45 am
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    Without a doubt, I believe the archdiocese of Southwark on this matter. The teachers knew they’d lost the argument, since everyone who actually read the material could see right away that it was filth and not at all suitable for kids in their second and third year of secondary school. Add to that, the news that Green is a total anti-Catholic bigot, and the game was up. The union is now trying to save face but anyone who has been following this story knows what is going on here.

    I’m glad this situation is being followed up – it would be dreadful if those responsible for this scandal were allowed to repeat it by inviting another LGBTQ+ author – how many of them are there?

    June 1, 2022 at 11:12 am
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    The only Speakers going to a Catholic School or any School in fact to speak about Homosexuality should only be speakers who say that Homosexuality is WRONG and against Nature. One need not be Religious to know that Homosexuality shortens Life by at least 20 Years. I also hope that whoever comes to J.F. to speak will tell the Pupils of the now dreaded Monkey Pox raging through the LGBTQ2XYZOP so called community.

    Of course if it’s a Catholic School then it’s certainly a lot worse as for those Teachers who went on Strike were I a parent who had Children at that lousy School I would want them to stay on Strike. What half decent parent would want a Teacher who wanted to Promote the Horrible Simon Green books anywhere near their Kids. As Michael Matt said on his last Video “The Homosexuality thing is now Lost it’s now Transgenderism that is the New in thing. So what Next Bestiality talks in the Classroom.”
    Now we’re in the Month of June all we’ll here about is Pride Marches.

    As Richard Lucas said just watch for the Spikes in Monkey Pox. The same Government that locked us down with Draconian Laws for Covid have said Nothing to the LGBTQ2XYZOP lot to stop the spread of this disease. Like say don’t go to a Homosexual Orgy this Weekend.

    God Help Our Children.

    June 1, 2022 at 1:09 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Faith of our Fathers,

      I completely agree – only speakers who accept Catholic teaching and morals should be allowed into Catholic schools. Otherwise, what’s the point? You might as well send them to the nearest non-denominational school, or in the case of England, the nearest Anglican school because I think they are on board with the LGBTQ+ agenda, don’t have any problem with it. By the way, not just Catholics accept the Church’s teaching on this – other Christians do, plus Muslims. Also, even some gays, I met one myself who said he knows it’s an unnatural attraction and he asked for prayers not to return to living like that, he was a really lovely young man, so please pray for him.

      The activists in the LGBTQ+ lobby think that the Catholic Church is the last bastion which needs to be defeated before society is totally accepting of their sexual behaviour. They don’t know that Jesus promised to be with his Church until the end of times and the gates of Hell would never prevail against it, precisely so we would be confident that accepting evil and sin in any form is never going to happen in the Church. It’s never going to be OK to live like that.

      A book that helped me to understand how Jesus keeps his word on this, is called Crucial truths to save your soul and you can read it in pdf at the Fatima Center website. I’ve copied a bit of the blurb plus the link.

      “Catholics today must understand the limits of the Pope and bishops’ authority. The faithful must study and know the Faith for themselves, and they must understand the sources of Catholic dogma — especially the solemn and infallible definitions of Faith. Every Catholic must know how to distinguish the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium — which never contradicts either the definitions of Faith or the constant teachings of past ages — from the heretical ravings of Modernist clergy.

      This book will show the reader how to do these things, and how prior generations of Catholics dealt with such times of crisis in the Church as we see today. This book is the survival guide that you need, in this worst crisis in the history of the Church!

      I really found this book helpful, so I recommend it highly to readers.

      June 1, 2022 at 2:07 pm
  • Lily Reply

    There’s no question that it is the union and the i not being truthful. No question at all, IMHO.

    They’re never going to say that the Green man isn’t going to be re-invited, and so they create a new “Green man” to cover-up their defeat.

    I’ll be amazed if the archdiocese has caved into these bullies, after fighting against them for so long. It’s great to keep an eye on the situation, though, so they can be clear in their own minds that they won’t get away with it if they try again.

    June 1, 2022 at 6:25 pm
    • Michaela Reply



      “They’re never going to say that the Green man isn’t going to be re-invited, and so they create a new “Green man” to cover-up their defeat.

      Love it! So true!

      June 1, 2022 at 10:50 pm
  • Fidelis Reply

    This is a turn up for the books! No way would the archdiocese have given way like that, agreed to invite another gay author, that’s ridiculous, after all that hassle, sacking foundation governors and the rest. No way. These loony lefty unions would tell you men were women if they could get away with it. O, wait! That’s exactly what they’re doing, isn’t it, LOL!

    No, my money is on the archdiocese telling the truth.

    June 1, 2022 at 8:28 pm
  • Michaela Reply


    “…while Father is very charitably not calling the Union spokesperson a fibber, the contradiction is clear. There will be no similar invitations issued to anyone, which are not compliant with Catholic teaching on sexuality as with everything else. End of. ”

    Father could easily have been excused for calling the union spokesperson a fibber, because it’s plenty obvious that he was going way beyond spinning the facts – once they’ve got a soft target, such as a priest or bishop unlikely to call them out for their lies, the nerve of these lefties knows no bounds.

    It will be a shocker if this scandal were to be repeated but I can’t see how it will be. The archdiocese knows that the Catholic world (at least in Scotland LOL!) will be watching closely.

    June 1, 2022 at 10:48 pm
    • editor Reply


      We’re definitely watching, up here in Scotland. Be assured!

      June 2, 2022 at 8:41 am

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