The Tunbridge Wells headmaster of an ‘excellent’ rated school says it is not a ‘pushy hot house’

A headmaster has tried to reassure parents his Tunbridge Wells school is not apushy hot house” after it was rated “excellent” in all areas in its latest inspection.

Holmewood House School is a private day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 to 13 in Langton Green led by James Marjoribanks.

It was awarded the Independent Schools Inspectorate’s top rating for both “the achievement of pupils, including their academic development” and “the personal development of pupils”.

Kent Live

Alex Renton: Fear, lies and abuse: the private school cover-up

When Alex Renton wrote about being abused at boarding school, he didn’t anticipate the huge response. Or that he’d end up breaking down in a police station

It is, they say, good to tell the story. Let it out: nightmares are best cured by daylight. But what do you do next? Three years ago I decided to come out as a survivor of abuse, physical and psychological, at boarding school. I’m a journalist, so I did what comes naturally: I published an article in a magazine. I went back to my famous prep school, where a police investigation had begun. Ashdown House had made the front page of the Daily Mail because Boris Johnson, Damian Lewis and the Queen’s nephew David Linley had been there.

The Times (subscription required)

Longer article on Alex Renton’s blog.

Brighton teacher jailed for sexually abusing pupils at Boris Johnson’s old boarding school

A Brighton teacher, who taught science to Boris Johnson, has been jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing four pupils and for having child porn on his computer.

Martin Haigh, 67, unemployed, of Lavender Street, Brighton, committed 11 sex offences against four pupils at the independent prep school Ashdown House in the 1970s.

A jury at Brighton Crown Court convicted him yesterday (Thursday 23 March) of four offences against two boys – an indecent assault and three counts of gross indecency.

He had previously admitted seven other offencesthree of gross indecency and four of indecent assault – against two other boys at the school in the same period.

Brighton & Hove News

Prince George to attend day school in London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will send Prince George to a private south London primary day school in September.

Thomas’s Battersea is a preparatory day school located a few miles from the family residence in Kensington Palace.

The duke and duchess said they were “delighted” to have found a school for their son – the third in line to the throne – who turns four in July.

The school’s headmaster, Ben Thomas, said he was “honoured” to welcome the prince as a pupil.

He said: “We greatly look forward to welcoming him and all of our new pupils to the school in September.”

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, said “they are confident George will have a happy and successful start to his education”.

Prince George, who is third in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles and his father, currently goes to a nursery in Norfolk, Westacre Montessori School.

BBC News

Daily Mail

The Telegraph

Celeb boarding school Bedales gave sex abuse suspect a teaching reference

A famous boarding school whose alumni include Sophie Dahl and Lily Allen has apologised for providing a former teacher with an employment reference despite them being suspected of sexual abuse.

Bedales also apologised for allowing the teacher in question to continue working at the Hampshire school in the immediate aftermath of the allegations and not contacting the police straight away.


Teenage kitchen worker kills mother at boys’ boarding school

A mother-of-two was run over and killed in the car park of a £21,000-a-year boarding school by a teenage kitchen worker without a full driving licence, a pre-inquest hearing was told today.

Melvin Ansah-Owusu, 19, mistakenly put the automatic car into reverse before accelerating as he was trying to park at Sunningdale School, in Ascot on November 5 2015, a coroner was told.

Caixia Sun was walking back to her car after a Bonfire Night fireworks display at the all-boys prep school when she was hit by a school-owned Ford Galaxy.

Barney Branston, representing Sunningdale School, in Ascot, told the hearing, which was attended by the school’s headteacher Tom Dawson, that Mrs Sun was hit by the car after Ansuh-Owusu, who only had a provisional driving licence at the time, had stepped on the accelerator pedal while the car was in reverse.

‘He had intended to move forward but the car was in not in ‘drive’ but instead in ‘reverse,’ causing it to move back at speed,’ he said.

Mr Branston also objected to the use of a jury for the inquest, which is normally only reserved for work-relelated deaths or public-sector fatalities.

‘Melvin was not driving as part of his work function,’ he said.

‘He was not engaged as a driver in his working capacity. It is purely ancillary that this was a work-place death. It’s not part of his job to drive.’

Daily Mail

In Loco Parentis: portrait of a school that misses its subjects

The prep school seems to belong to an era when children were escorted by successive wet nurses and nannies for brief, infrequent inspections by their parents, before being packed off to school, and finally dispatched to the frontline of some far-flung colonial conflict, from whence they might never return.

Thus, it comes as something as a shock to discover that Headfort School, nestling just outside Kells in Co Meath, continues to board children as young as seven. After all, most right-thinking, modern parents would not willingly miss out on the formative years between seven and 12, right?

This anachronistic notion becomes an unaddressed elephant in the room for this warm, unquestioning portrait of the school. This is not, perhaps, the uncritical film we might have expected from director Neasa Ní Chianáin, whose investigation of the poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh was so meticulously calibrated.

The Irish Times

It can last a lifetime. The toll of being sent to boarding school at 7…

One painful moment from my childhood remains so sharply defined in my memory that it has the power to make me cry — even now.

I am a boy, aged just eight, sitting at a window in my boarding school, scanning the drive, waiting for my father to turn up and take me on an afternoon outing.

Minutes tick by. The arranged time for our meeting passes. I wait, still hopeful, expectant, excited.

Daily Mail