Part 27. Ashley Platts and Chris Needham (I)

In this part of the interview we investigate the glaring contradiction between Ashley Platts’s goal of getting rid of all expat managers besides himself and Luke and his tireless promotion of Chris Needham through the ranks of TBI. It has only recently occurred to us that Ashley’s useless protégé, Chris Needham, was never intended to succeed. Could it be that this ESL booby was set up in yet another of the wicked Platts’s schemes?

 

In his email to this blog, former Senior Teacher Mark Juba trenchantly attacked Ashley Platts as an aloof manager who delivered bad customer service. What do you make of this?

We don’t agree about most things, but I agree with Mark Juba on that point.

Can you remind readers of what his other Senior Teacher, a woman called A**, thought of him?

Ashley tried to screw her so badly when she broke her contract that she employed a lawyer to represent her in the matter.

You once mentioned a teacher evaluation form you found in the office that mentioned Ashley Platts. What did it say?

I think the teacher’s name was Ch**a, and she was very popular. In the comment form she had given ‘Ashley Platts’ as her reason for leaving TBI. Some other people also left when Chris Needham was appointed as Academic Team Leader.

What did David Bradbury think of Ashley Platts?

He thought he was self-loathing closet homosexual who had a vendetta against open gays in TBI.

If I said to you that this all sounds completely and totally pathological, how would you respond?

I can see how you might think so.

Would you say that TBI was riven by personality conflicts and intense animosity for as long as you knew it?

Yes absolutely.

How many people do you think left the company cursing it between 2007 and 2011?

God knows. Teachers, staff and managers are endlessly coming and going- the whole place has massive staff churn due to the dysfunctional internal politics.

Why does Ashley Platts never get the chop?

Because he is the one doing the chopping. Ashley and Mariam are thick as thieves.

Who in TBI was closest to Chris Needham?

Ashley Platts. I have never been a regular at Aphrodite but the two of them were regular fixtures there. They were always out drinking together.

Did Ashley have no shame or awkwardness about appointing his drinking buddy as Actel and then School Manager of TBI Kuningan?

Apparently not. I am by no means sure Ashley has a conscience. He certainly never admits his mistakes.

How well did you know Chris Needham?

Very well. I was locked in the small ‘fishbowl’ office with him for more than a year.

What opinion did you form of Chris Needham?

I thought he was crazy. He is the nastiest, pettiest and most inconsistent boss I have ever worked for.

I have heard a lot of people use the word ‘crazy’ about Chris Needham. Can you give us an example of his craziness?

He just flatly contradicted himself. For example, he would tell me to close a class and then if a single parent complained, he would deny ever having given that instruction. To cover myself, I decided to take notes but then he refused to let me take notes of what he said. He said I should just remember what he said.

Why?                          

I don’t know. If you questioned him on anything, he would hold a grudge all day and make nasty comments.

What about at TBI Sudirman? Was the Academic Team Leader there happy?

Oh god no. She was the wife of a former CELTA trainer and she despised Chris. She was hated by all the people I now know as the TBI Mafia and was eventually transferred tofranchise.

What about S**, the Actel at Fatmawati?

She found Chris Needham so horrible she often burst into tears when discussing him. That school was an absolute basket case and had barely 100 students on the books.

Can you remind our readers of the peculiarities behind the appointment of Chris Needham as School Manager of these three schools?

Ashley Platts appointed Chris Needham as School Manager of every single Group School in Jakarta (Kuningan coming first) without even holding an interview. Chris was just appointed SM without any other candidates being considered.

When Chris spectacularly failed did Ashley ever have to justify his poor judgment?

He never mentioned it. It was as if it had never happened.

Did Luke Preece ever mention it to you?

Yes, he said that it was wrong for Ashley to have made those appointments without an interview. It should never have happened.

Was Ashley ever sanctioned due to his role in promoting Chris?

Not at all. In fact he set himself up as a ‘management trainer’. This seemed ridiculous considering how badly he had done with Chris, but nothing ever sticks to Ashley. He never has to take responsibility for anything he does.

I’d like to ask you about Platts’s role in mentoring Chris Needham, but let’s complete that part of the interview next time. First, I’d just like to sum up people’s attitudes towards Chris to the best of your knowledge.

Did you think Chris was talented? 

When he was Academic Team Leader, he was encouraging to me and I liked him. After I became Actel he turned nasty. After I while I thought he might have been crazy.

Did Sr* think he was talented?

Sr* was terrified of him.

Did the student advisors like him?

They were scared of his foul moods.

Did the office supervisor like him?

No she didn’t. She was frightened of him too. He tried to stop anything happening in Kuningan. In the end we pretty much ran the school behind his back. He was so lazy and so self-absorbed, he didn’t notice most of the time.

Did Alex (Langli) like him?

She thought he was a liar.

Did the teachers of Kuningan like him?

Not a bit. They hated his rules about footwear and clothing. Most of these were eventually reversed.

If everyone else knew Chris Needham was a complete booby, why did Ashley think he was talented?

Ashley didn’t come into the schools. He didn’t talk to anybody. He just inflicted this incompetent manager on 3 different group schools without ever advertising the position. It’s scandalous.

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