Part 50. Luke Preece Plants a Stooge

How did Matthew France come to work at Menara Kuningan?

I was told that he wanted to transfer to Jakarta from Bandung by Chris Needham, who said he was passing on the information from Luke Preece.

Do you remember when this happened?

I estimate it was in the last quarter of 2009.

Did Luke organize for any other teachers to move to from Bandung to Jakarta?

Yes, there was one. Her name was Nicola. Minerva also moved from Bandung to Jakarta but she approached me directly. Luke Preece wasn’t involved in that appointment.

Did Matthew have to be interviewed for that position?

Yes, he did. He also had to do a demo lesson. I checked on this procedure with Chris Needham, who was school manager at the time.

How was his demo lesson?

It was fine. There was a too much teacher talk time, but overall the lesson was fine. However, Matthew was very unhappy about having to do a demo lesson. He felt he should just be taken on because he was a teacher at TBI Bandung.

To whom did he express his unhappiness?

Not to me directly. I heard that he was unhappy second-hand through Luke after he had started.

So he never expressed this concern directly to you?

No, he didn’t.

What academic qualifications did Matthew France have?

He doesn’t have a degree but he did have a CELTA.

Is it TBI policy to employ teachers without degrees?

No, it is against TBI policy.

So why did TBI Kuningan make an exception in the case of Matthew France?

I was told it didn’t matter in the case of Matthew because his KITAS had been issued through Bandung Immigration and could be extended there. It didn’t have to be approved in Jakarta.

But wasn’t it Indonesian law all along that teachers were required to have degrees?


Do you know how TBI Bandung managed to get him a KITAs without a degree?

No I don’t.

Are you aware of any other TBI Bandung teachers who didn’t have degrees but received a KITAS anyway?

Yes, there are a number of them. The first one who comes to mind is Jodi Sheik, the CELTA trainer and Academic Policy person. The other one is Scott Martin.

How did you become aware that these people did not have the correct qualifications?

I was originally told by Chris Needham. He didn’t have a degree either. Both of them admitted to me themselves at a later date that they didn’t have degrees. Jodi has even confirmed this in writing, though she said she did start a university degree.

How did you find Matthew as an employee in your time as Academic Team Leader under Chris Needham?

He was okay. He was very keen for extra income and so very keen to do overtime. There were a few incidents. He was okay but he needed to be managed carefully or he would complain.

Can you give me any examples?

He had a foot injury. I was told by Chris that he had to put a sock over the bare foot. He wasn’t allowed to expose his foot in class. I could tell he wasn’t happy about it. I heard later that he had complained to Luke about it.

Who issued the directive about the sock?

Chris Needham.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about Chris issuing directives about footwear. Would you say he was very particular about issues pertaining to feet and shoes?

Yeh, there were lots of rules. He was also very interested in women’s clothing too. He created a rule that women’s shoulders had to be covered. There was also a rule that if women’s shoes didn’t have a heel they had to be closed.

Where did these policies come from?

Chris himself.

Why did Matthew go to his former Bandung manager, Luke, about the issue of the sock?

Matthew felt he had a special relationship with Luke.

Were there any other complaints in the early days in Kuningan?

Chris Needham decided that he had to use one day’s leave to go to Bandung to renew his work visa. He was very unhappy about this. I negotiated that he would only have to lose half a day’s leave, but he was still unhappy.

It seems to me that this was really a School Manager’s responsibility. Why were you dealing with Matthew about visa issues as Actel?

That was the way the school was run. I was responsible for hiring and hiring, doing the schedule and course planner. I only realized much later that Chris Needham was getting me to do most of his job responsibilities.

Were any of Matthew France’s complaints brought formally to your attention?


According to TBI policies, what should Luke Preece have done when Matthew came to him with these complaints?

He should have told him to take it up with Chris Needham or the HR Department.

Did this happen?


Can you think of any other teachers besides Matthew who took complaints to their previous rather than their current manager?

I can’t think of anyone. It just didn’t happen. But if Luke has it in for someone, he is willing to forget the rules.

So Matthew was giving negative information to Luke Preece even before Chris Needham was fired. Who benefited the most from Chris’s ‘fall from grace’?

Luke Preece, clearly. Once Chris was removed, Luke became Business Development Manager and his salary roughly doubled to Rp 46.000.000.

You know Luke Preece well. Would he ever have accepted a teacher complaining to a school manager of a different school once he was Business Development Manager?

Usually not. But he always made exceptions for himself. He seemed to think he didn’t have to play by the same rules as other managers. That was one of the really difficult things about dealing with him.

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