Part 10. TBI’s Loose-Lipped CELTA Trainer

Did you ever socialize with David Bradbury outside work?

Yes, I went out for drinks with him a couple of times.

Where did you go the first time?

We went to Jalan Jaksa and had quite a few drinks.

What did you talk about?

We mostly discussed work as I recall. This was three years ago now but I do recall a fair bit of the conversation as it was the first time I had spoken to David outside work.

What did you discuss about TBI?

We talked about how much we both disliked Chris Needham. He had recently been removed as School Manager of three group schools and we talked a lot about what nightmare he was to work for.

Can you remind our readers who had successively appointed Chris Needham as School Manager of three schools without even holding an interview?

It was Ashley Platts.

Why did David Bradbury dislike Chris Needham so much?

Well Chris was Ashley’s protégé and David was convinced that Ashley was a closet homosexual with a vendetta against open gays. He kept saying that Ashley had thwarted his career within TBI out of malice.

Did this strike you as a very odd state of affairs for a company which claimed to be a ‘premium’ language school?

I already knew by this point that TBI had some chronic problems at Head Office.

Why else did David disapprove of Chris?

He thought he was completely incompetent and was only in the position because of his association with Ashley.

Do you agree with these opinions?

I was in the same office with Chris for a year and he never seemed to do much of anything. I didn’t understand why he had been appointed to the position either.

Would you agree that David Bradbury was a vocal critic of TBI generally?

Yes I would. He had a lot of complaints against the company.

Could you give our readers a sample of his comments?

He thought that TBI had once been a really good school but it had been steadily getting worse for a number of years.

Who did he blame for this alleged fall in standards?

He was very mocking towards Mariam. He referred to her time as Director as ‘Mariam’s Reign of Error’. He thought that she made a mess of everything she touched.

Did he hold Mariam solely responsible?

No he didn’t. He thought that everything had gotten worse since Ashley Platts became School Manager at TBI Setiabudi. It was him first told me that Ashley had completely mismanaged the move from Setiabudi to Kuningan and lost 300 students in the process.

Have you ever heard this allegation from anyone else?

Chris Needham told me that the student numbers at much Kuningan were much lower than at Setiabudi. Luke Preece later mentioned the same thing. Even some students have made comments to the same effect.

What else, if anything, did he tell you about TBI Setiabudi?

He said that Ashley Platts had started with TBI as a teacher there. He said at that time that the manager was an English guy, I forget his name, but it may have been Simon or something like that. David claimed that this school manager would often smoke drugs on the roof of TBI Setiabudi.

Presumably you mean marijuana?

Yes. He said he smoked marijuana on the roof of the school.

Was this drug use part of the reason he was fired?

I don’t know. David told me that this former School Manager was eventually put on the TBI blacklist and banned from ever being employed by TBI again.

Was this school manager black listed for drug use on the school premises or for some other reason?

Again I don’t know. I never worked at TBI Setiabudi. But I remember seeing his name on the blacklist when I worked at TBI Kuningan, so there is some truth to the story.

Was it Ashley Platts who blacklisted this former school manager?

Again I don’t know. It seems likely. He was the manager who came next and would have had the authority to do so.

What criticisms did David Bradbury make of Ashley as a manager?

That he had no interpersonal skills; that he was abrupt and rude in dealing with teachers; that many teachers had left because of him; that he was aloof and unapproachable and seemed more interested in cultivating a relationship with Mariam than helping his staff or teachers.

You worked for Ashley. Do you agree with this assessment?

It seems accurate to me.

Did you go out for ‘drinkies’ again with David?

He came over for dinner at our house once as part of a larger group and he asked us over his place once. But that was a weird experience. He wouldn’t let us come up to his apartment and we sat down by the poolside drinking beers in the dark. I thought that was pretty rude really. But mainly I started refusing his invitations for drinks because I didn’t trust him. I knew he talked about just about everyone behind their back. Generally it’s a certainty that people who do that are bitching about everyone, including you. Also he was very close to Matthew France, which made me even more wary.

Why do you say that?

Matthew was continually making petty complaints about me to Luke. Even though they were ridiculous- he wanted hotter water at his hotel, he refused to teach business classes and all the rest- he was causing a lot of stress. I didn’t need any more hassles than Matthew was already creating.

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