Our documentary last night revolved around a privately run Catholic boys boarding school which was situated in France although the "owner" (O) and students were English. (O) had a very hand on role within the school and was helped by a Headmaster (H) and a chaplain or priest (C).
The basic story appeared to be that O felt there was no boys boarding school in the UK which placed enough emphasis on the Catholic faith together with a "public school" type education and as such had opened his own, inside a large, crumbling, ruined castle type structure, complete with chapel. O had no actual experience of education other than that as sunday school teacher. However he had thoroughly enjoyed his own schooldays and wished to recreate a similar environment for "his boys". H, the principal, also had no experience of teaching but like O he had deep faith and belief that this role was his God sent destiny. C again believed that this was his destiny but more on that later.
There were other teachers at the school although none had a professional teaching qualification. We did not see too much of the teachers during the programme although a brief interview was held with some. They too appeared to do the job for love and faith in God and as such accepted meagre wages for their endeavors as did H and C.
We saw some of the pupils preparing for school, packing etc, one in particular was called Martin and was aged 11. Martin had been mugged in the park at home recently and so his dad had decided to pack him off to school along with his older brother who had attended for the previous year.
O arranged a variety of unusual educational tasks for his pupils throughout the show. We saw them chopping and pulling down a huge tree with an axe, no sign of any health and safety or helmets etc. They also trained in morris dancing, gregorian chanting, latin etc.
Soon though, O decided to move on to the art of cookery. He had purchased two long eared rabbits in the market and intended to show the boys how to slaughter, butcher and cook the unfortunates. We retired to a concrete room along with the rabbits, O, a dozen or so schoolboys and an axe plus buckets etc.
He put the bunnies down on the floor and they hopped about. One pupil advised he wished no further part in this matter and retired from the killing room. O also retired outside to speak to him and the pupil offered to buy the rabbits from him to avoid their slaughter. O seemed to find this rather amusing and gave a lecture on how the rabbits had no souls and so it did not seem to matter, rather the rabbits had been provided by God for us to eat.
We went back into the room for some horrific scenes. One boy held the rabbit by it's ears and
another boy held it's feet. Yet another swung the back of the axe into its head. This appeared to stun the rabbit slightly; after several attempts so O decided this was the time to cut its throat. He instructed the pupil with the axe to decapitate it, however the pupil did not seem too keen and as such made a half hearted slash at which point the rabbit recovered consciousness and began screaming. O eventually grabbed the axe and chopped the head off. The second rabbit which seemed to have been watching and listening was then executed although this was a speedier process and not as messy.
Quickly we moved on; O and H decided to organise an actual rabbit hunt so the boys could participate. As such, they visited a local huntsman? who showed them round his house, his collection of stuffed trophies, and agreed to go out for the day with the boys and his dogs.
On the day of the hunt, the man showed up as promised with his pack. This consisted of two scruffy terrier type pups and a beagle. Curiously, for a man who believes animals have no souls, O decided to have the hunting pack blessed by Father C . As such, we saw C sprinking holy water on the dogs in the back of the van whilst gregorian chanting. No reference was made as to the purpose of this annointing.
The hunt began although pupil numbers seemed to have deminshed for this outing. The huntsman strolled ahead with the dogs whilst the rest of the party ambled behind, dressed in tee-shirts and talking loudly. Unfortunately, the beagle got whiff of some prey and raced off. The other two pups rolled on top of each other and play fought. O was asked by the reporter if he thought there was any chance of catching anything - he didnt. Eventually the beagle was found, wounded from a bramble thorn and bleeding. The pups were still fighting each other so it seemed time to call it a day and it was all abandoned.
Whether the rabbit slaughter had affected Martin was not said, however he was expelled for attacking a teacher with a ballpoint pen plus various other violent outbursts. His dad took him home but he came back later.Other bizarre moments from this programme involved our reporter asking O if he thought the boys masturbated. O said he hoped not and was then asked if he, himself masturbated. No, he replied, as his eyes hit the roof.
Father C expained his robes to a pupil. His dog collar showed he was subservient to God and his chastity belt. Well one can only wonder.
As to the true purpose of this documentary ?