When I occasionally get to see a documentary about education in another country, I have a natural tendency to assume that the work is somewhat representative of the traditions and quirks of schooling in that country. It’s not necessarily true, of course.
And then I wonder which documentary about U.S. education would be most representative of K-12 schooling here to a foreign audience. One of the many about schools in tough urban neighborhoods? One about competition to get into oversubscribed charter schools? There are so many, about so many diverse aspects of education here, that it would be hard to pick one that was truly representative.
So what is one to make of a documentary about a private boarding school in Ireland that is full of quirky characters?
“School Life” is a 100-minute film by Neasa Ní Chianáin, an Irish documentarian whose first acclaimed work was about an asylum. (“School Life” was evidently titled “In Loco Parentis” before being changed.)
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.
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)
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.
A former children’s television presenter has been jailed for sexually assaulting a young boy almost 60 years ago.
Former Jackanory storyteller John Earle admitted indecently assaulting the boy from when he was nine years old.
Earle, 87, was a teacher at a school in Okehampton, Devon, when he carried out the assaults between 1957 and 1961.
His victim Iain Peters, now aged 69, said the historic abuse had “blighted his life”.
He was jailed for four years and will sign the sex offenders register.
Earle admitted six counts of indecent assault on the boy while working as deputy head teacher at Upcott House Preparatory School.
A headmaster has tried to reassure parents his Tunbridge Wells school is not a “pushy 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”.
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.
When Alex Renton came out as a victim of abuse as a boarder, he was inundated with harrowing stories from former pupils. Now, he has written an exposé of the shameful legacy of Britain’s boarding schools
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 offences – three of gross indecency and four of indecent assault – against two other boys at the school in the same period.
Brighton & Hove News
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.