Part 33. How Luke Preece and David Bradbury Undermined Wati

Can you explain the circumstances in which Wati appeared as school manager of TBI Kuningan?

I was told by Luke Preece she was appointed because she was good friends with the Uni SadhuGuna Director, Ning Anhar.

So Luke stated that this appointment was based on cronyism?

Yes, absolutely.

Who was on the interview panel who appointed Wati as the school manager of TBI Kuningan?

Luke Preece, Ashley Platts and Ibu Tuti.

So was Luke Preece instructed who to select for the role of School Manager of Menara Kuningan?

So he said, yes.

So you are alleging that the whole interview process was a sham?

Yes, that’s right. Perhaps Ning had wanted to give the impression that the appointment was based on merit. But Luke made sure that all the other managers knew that she was Ning’s friend, so he basically agreed to what Ning asked and then undermined it by telling everyone what had really gone on.

Had Wati ever managed a school before?

No.

What were her credentials for the position?

She had worked in the insurance industry. She had no previous experience at academic management whatsoever.

Where did you go at this point?

I went to TBI Sudirman as School Manager.

How did you feel about this appointment? Why did feel that way?

I was disappointed. Sudirman had a very bad reputation. It was located inside Head Office, which was a big minus. It meant that you had to work with Head Office more closely, and it was known for its incompetence and obstructionism.

We can talk about TBI Sudirman in a later interview. Let’s stick with the whole Wati, David and Luke thing. Was there ever any pretence that Wati’s appointment was based on merit?

It was an open secret. Even the student assistants knew she got the position because of her relationship with Ning Anhar.

What was Luke Preece’s role as Business Development Manager in terms of Wati?

He was supposed to develop her, but he spent all his time rubbishing her name and performance. Looking back, I’m sure he was determined to get rid of her from the start. He told me that Ning had told him that, “Wati was to succeed at all costs.”

How long did Wati last in the role?

Around six months.

Apart from taking part in the sham of Wati’s interview panel, what was Ashley Platts’ role in ensuring Wati ‘succeeded at all costs’?

She would have taken part in his training sessions. These were supposed to ensure she knew the ‘TBI business system’ and could implement it successfully at TBI Kuningan.

Did you have any role in Wati’s transition into the job of School Manager?

I did three training sessions with her. These were about administrative matters, especially scheduling and how to use the course planner optimally.

What impression did you form of Wati’s capabilities in these training sessions?

I formed very little impression of her capabilities. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t ask any questions, she didn’t seem very interested or attentive to anything I was saying. The only impression I got was she didn’t want to be there.

It seems that LukePreece asked you to help Wati improve her performance in later training sessions. How did Wati perform in these later sessions?

I found her to be highly uncommunicative. They were just a waste of time in my opinion. She was very reluctant to provide information about the school and so I just had nothing to go on. To be able to address a problem, you need to understand the facts of the situation first and Wati was not forthcoming with information. She asked postponed the meetings several times or said she had to leave after fifteen minutes. They were not productive because Wati wouldn’t engage with me.

What problem did Wati have and who supplied the information about these problems?

Luke was my boss and Wati’s boss and all information came through him. It occurred to me much later that he was probably telling her that I was ‘out to get her’, as that is what he and Matthew France seemed to tell everyone in TBI: maybe that was why she was so unwilling to share information with me. In terms of Wati’s performance, Luke told me a whole list of woes: students were leaving in record numbers; customer satisfaction surveys were showing a fall in teaching standards; she wouldn’t even write her own memos so Luke had to draft them all for her, and once she handed a memo out without even typing it up herself; there were all sorts of problems with teachers and she seemed unable to manage the staff; one teacher called Nicola was particularly rebellious and refused to even write the final report for SIAP, but most of all he complained about her laziness.

Why did he claim she was lazy?

He said that she never once did the monthly progress reports which were obligatory for all School Managers. As time went on she started refusing point blank to do parts of her job description. According to Luke she once told him she couldn’t finish all the School Manager tasks because, “She wanted a good work-life balance.” He repeated this to many people as a way of mocking her work ethic.

Do you doubt that Wati performed poorly in the role?

There is no doubt. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are what a school manager is judged on and when I went back the figures were terrible on every measure. I was also in contact with teachers and staff who complained about the abrupt fall in standards.

But she was popular with Matthew France, wasn’t she? What was the basis of his fondness for Wati?

I heard he liked not having to wear a tie or do lesson prep.

Did Luke Preece ever take partial responsibility for her failure because he was her supervisor and had the power to enforce TBI policies and procedures?

No he didn’t and of course it was partly his fault. But I now know exactly how Luke operates. He steals the credit whenever anything goes well and he re-directs the blame onto someone else when things go wrong.  He wouldn’t be able to get away with it in a well-managed company but TBI is not a proper company.

How would you describe David’s relationship with Wati?

I wasn’t at TBI Kuningan when they were working together, so I don’t know how they interacted. But David was always ready with tales of Wati’s incompetence. He never stopped mocking her.

Can you provide us with some details?

He said that she didn’t even know what books went with different courses. She was so unaware of TBI policies and procedures that she was relying on student assistants to set her straight. She gave contradictory information to customers, which created a lot of confusion and complaints.

Do you recall a certain acronym which David Bradbury created out of the letters of her name?

Oh, I do vaguely. He said that Wati meant ‘What About The Intensives?’ or something like that because there were soon very few intensive English courses left on the schedule. There were usually around five intensive classes, which are big money-spinners, and she got it down to one with a couple of students in it. The intensive classes almost disappeared with her in charge.

He told me that acronym, too. Who else did he criticize or mock Wati to in your knowledge?

Pretty much everyone I think. I know he spoke negatively about Wati with Atika, Kuji, Minerva and Anita and that’s just the ones who come to mind right now.

How instrumental do you think Bradbury was in creating the perception that Wati was a complete incompetent?

He was more active than most in promoting that idea. Luke Preece and Minerva were also very vocal on that point.

Who were your sources of information about Wati’s performance during this period?

David, Luke, Minerva and Kuji.

According to any of these sources, was Wati informed that her performance was deemed unsatisfactory?

Luke told me on an almost daily basis how poor and unsatisfactory her performance was.

Yes but did he ever tell her in so many words?

I don’t know. I doubt it.

Why was Luke talking about Wati on a daily basis with you? What did this have to do with you as manager of TBI Surdiman?

Look during this period I was focussed on turning around Sudirman and there were a lot of problems in that school. I said to Luke a number of times that I didn’t want to hear how bad Wati, Mariam and Ning were all the time as it was de-motivating, and I even put it in writing once, but he kept working it into the conversation one way or another.

Did you ever email Ning about Wati’s poor performance?

Never.

Did you ever speak to Ning about Wati’s poor performance?

Never.

Did you ever email Mariam about Wati’s poor performance?

Never.

Did you ever speak to Mariam about Wati’s poor performance?

Never.

Who was responsible for appraising Wati’s performance?

Luke Preece.

Who held meetings with Ning and Mariam about Wati’s performance?

Luke Preece.

Who recommended to Ning that her friend be removed from TBI Kuningan due to her poor performance?

Luke Preece.

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