Benedictines ‘can’t accept’ blame for child abuse at boarding school

The head of a religious order has expressed “sorrow” that monks abused boys at Fort Augustus Abbey School but said his congregation cannot be held responsible for what happened.

Dom Richard Yeo, abbot president of the English Benedictine Congregation, said he believed the allegations of former residents who say they were abused at the fee-paying Highland boarding school, which closed in 1993. But the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was shown a submission from the congregation which said it had “no remit or authority” to acknowledge or accept abuse. The inquiry heard allegations have been made against six monks who taught at either Fort Augustus, on the banks of Loch Ness, or Carlekemp Priory School in East Lothian.

The Scotsman

Gordonstoun school asks former pupils if they were abused

A leading private school with links to the royal family has contacted more than 3,000 former pupils asking them to report evidence of abuse they may have suffered during their time there.

Allegations of historical abuse at Gordonstoun junior school emerged two years ago.

Prince Charles is a former pupil at the boarding school, near Lossiemouth in Moray, and disliked his time there so much he described it as being like “Colditz in kilts”.

It is one of a number of independent schools in Scotland named by Lady Smith, the judge who is conducting a national inquiry into historical abuse in the country.

The Times (subscription)

Boarding school teacher facing teaching ban over allegations he had sex with a teenage pupil.

A teacher at one of Britain’s most prestigious public schools had sex with a teenage pupil in his classroom, a misconduct panel heard.

Dr Dean Johnson, 52, a physics master at Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey, revealed his fantasies in Facebook messages to the girl beforehand.

He also asked what her underwear size was before buying stockings and presenting them to her gift-wrapped.

The astronomy and astrophysics specialist, who joined the £36,000-a-year boarding school in 1997, is facing a teaching ban after the panel found the allegations proven.

It heard he resigned in 2013 when the relationship came to light, after the girl complained to police.

An investigation led to his conviction for possessing extreme pornography, which depicted a woman being hanged, in 2015. He has since taught abroad.

Evening Standard

Daily Mail

Private schools to save £522m in tax thanks to charitable status

Private schools [including boarding schools] are set to get tax rebates totalling £522m over the next five years as a result of their controversial status as charities, according to a study of local council records.

Charitable organisations in England and Wales are entitled to relief of 80% on the business rates payable on the buildings they use, and some of the country’s best-known private schools qualify under the rules.

Business rates firm CVS sent freedom of information requests to councils, and responses from 132 showed that 586 out 1,038 private schools held charitable status and were granted the mandatory relief.

Its analysis of government data suggested that on 2,707 properties classified as private schools there would be a business rates bill of around £1.16bn over the next five years. Extrapolating from the data received from councils, it forecast that £634m would be paid, with £522m saved through the schools’ charitable status.

CVS said Eton College, whose former pupils include David Cameron and Boris Johnson, would have faced a bill of £4.1m for business rates over the next five years without its charitable status, but instead it would pay just £821,040.

Dulwich College in south London, which educated former Ukip Leader Nigel Farage, will only pay £786,752 out of its £3,933,760 five-year bill under the tax regime.

The Guardian

UK child abuse inquiry: three Catholic boarding schools ‘should form case study’

Three prominent Benedictine boarding schoolsAmpleforth, Downside and Worthshould be examined as a combined case study for the UK child sex abuse investigation into the Catholic church, a preliminary hearing has been told.

The work of the archdiocese of Birmingham and its schools should also feature as a complementary case study, according to the lawyer in charge of the Catholic church strand of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA).

Setting out her recommendations for hearings planned in November, Riel Karmy-Jones QC proposed that an examination of a fourth school should be delayed because of an imminent criminal trial involving a former teacher.

Inquiries into allegations at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Scottish Highlands should also be restricted to the movement of English monks transferred to the institution, Karmy-Jones suggested, because a separate Scottish inquiry into child sex abuse would deal with any offences committed there.

The Guardian

Fury as identity of teacher who had sex with pupils at Edinburgh boarding school is kept secret

The head of a boys’ boarding school last night apologised after a former teacher was struck off for having sex with pupils.

The 34-year-old female had sex with a number of males aged 17 or 18.

She also admitted sending sexually explicit videos to a pupil at £29,000-a-year Merchiston Castle in Edinburgh.

Last night, as fury erupted over the identity of the teacher being kept a secret, the school’s
headmaster told of his regret over the incidents, which happened in 2014 and 2015.

Daily Record

Ex boarding school worker faces jail for abuse of boys at Devon school

A former boarding school house parent has been warned to expect a jail sentence after he admitted the historic abuse of four boys.

Steven Joyce carried out the sexual assault on boys while employed to look after the welfare of vulnerable and troubled children at the Marland School at Peters Marland, near Torrington, in the 1980s.

At the time it was a privately run school for what were described as maladjusted children, but it is now a special school run by Devon County Council.

Joyce, now aged 66, was a house parent whose duties included comforting boys who were upset or homesick.

He was prosecuted after an investigation by Devon and Cornwall police in which specially trained officers carried out video recorded interviews with four former pupils, now all adults.

Steven Joyce, aged 65, of Erme Drive, Ivybridge, pleaded guilty to a total of 15 on what was due to be the first day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court.

Devon Live

Headmaster of Windsor prep school sentenced

A veteran teacher who retired four years ago has escaped prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old pupil at prestigious St George’s School at Windsor Castle two decades ago.

Latin teacher Anthony Brailsford, now 70, was briefly acting headteacher at the boarding prep school in 1993.

He committed the offences in 1997 and 1998.

On 13 Jan, he was given a six months suspended prison sentence by Judge Mr Recorder Christopher Quinlan QC at Reading Crown Court.

Windsor Observer

Daily Mail

Financial Times endorses Alex Renton’s exposure of boarding school abuse

“Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison,” observed Evelyn Waugh. But in the journalist Alex Renton’s polemical new book about boarding schools, the stories of institutionalised humiliation and endemic physical and psychological abuse are worse even than what an inmate might expect in jail.

Financial Times

Boarding school charities in ‘merger of equals’

The Royal National Children’s Foundation and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation will merge legally on 1 July but will work together from today.

Two boarding school charities have announced they are merging in order to support more children.

The Royal National Children’s Foundation and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation, which both offer bursaries to help children attend boarding school, are coming together in a “merger of equals” with a new name and branding, according to a spokesman for the RNCF.


“The aim is to increase the number of children currently supported by the RNCF and SpringBoard, taking the figure from 600 to 1,500 within the next five years. In doing so, the new charity will transform many lives and fulfil the boarding sector’s ambition to play a leading role in enabling social mobility.”

Or merely fill up empty boarding places with children who don’t have to be flown around the world? Surely they should be living in their “strong and stable” families in their “strong and stable” communities? Rather than acquiring Boarding School Syndrome in a loveless institution? Or worse?

Third Sector