Inside Ireland’s boarding school for seven-year-olds
Film shines light on trials and joys of pupils and teachers at unique Headfort school
The Rurik Jutting case has highlighted the extent of unsuitable people working in UK boarding schools:
The Daily Mail and The Telegraph (not newspapers noted for their anti-boarding stance) both report details of Jutting’s schooldays
The Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE – Revealed, how sex offender who taught ‘psycho banker’ accused of murdering two prostitutes was teacher at top prep school where David Cameron AND Prince Edward were pupils
Andrew Sadler taught at Heatherdown school with Prince Edward and PM
Prince Andrew also attended the exclusive boarding school near Ascot
Sadler later taught at £6k-a-term Abberley Hall when Rurik Jutting was there
Sadler was also member of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange
He was later jailed in 2000 for four years in Romania for sex assaults on two boys
A convicted paedophile who was caught in bed with two child prostitutes in Romania taught at schools attended by David Cameron, Prince Edward – and ‘psycho’ banker Rurik Jutting.
In an astonishing coincidence, MailOnline can reveal that Andrew Sadler, who was jailed after abusing two 15-year-old boys, was a teacher at prestigious boarding schools where the prime minister, princes Andrew and Edward, and the trader accused of murdering two sex workers in Hong Kong were all pupils.
Sadler was also a member of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) – a vile web of perverts…
Rurik Jutting: From quiet Surrey schoolboy to sadistic sex monster of Hong Kong
Jutting had excelled at his Worcestershire boarding prep school, Abberley Hall, and after winning a scholarship to the prestigious Winchester College, his mother was delighted.
Jutting was a “quiet boy” during his childhood years in Chertsey – “certainly not one of the loud kids”, a former classmate said.
But his years at Winchester were not happy. He claims to have been abused at the historic school, where he was forced to perform oral sex on a boy.
Cold Feet star Robert Bathurst has blamed being bullied at boarding school for him becoming a “wary” and “very private” person.
The English actor was sent to a boarding school run by Benedictine monks at eight, and says he was bullied by staff and older pupils.
He told the Radio Times that when he was filming Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie in Ireland, he hired a car to revisit the school – but was “hyperventilating” as he went up the drive.
Robert said: “Your letters were read and if you said anything against the school, you were beaten.
“It has forced me to be very private.
A man who sexually abused pupils in his care at a Suffolk boarding school has today, Monday 11 July, been found guilty of 27 offences.
Gerard Singer, aged 69, has been convicted at Ipswich Crown Court of 27 charges relating to eight victims. The sexual abuse offences took place at the now defunct St George’s School located initially at Wicklewood, Norfolk and then in Great Finborough, Suffolk, between 1979-1981 when Singer was working there as a language teacher.
The eight victims were all boys aged between 9 and 13 years of age at the time the offences were committed. The offences included 16 counts of indecent assault, two count of gross indecency with a boy under 14, three counts of buggery, five counts of incitement to commit gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.
He may only be two-years-old but that hasn’t stopped Prince George’s parents from stepping up their search to find him a place at prep school.
Today the Duke of Cambridge revealed he is already looking at schools for his children, saying: “They’re both doing very well at the moment – noisy but lovely – just trying to sort out schools now, it’s going very well.”
Prince George currently attends a Montessori nursery close to the couple’s Norfolk mansion, Anmer Hall.
A former headmaster has escaped an immediate jail sentence after he admitted sexually assaulting pupils in his care at an independent boarding school in the 1980s.
John Mash, 79, of Cobham Grange, Surrey was arrested in June 2014 after allegations of sexual assault were made against him by four former pupils.
The victims told police Mash would enter their dormitories at night and sexually assault boys boarding at the school, St Martin’s School in Northwood, Greater London.
Mash appeared at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday, February 15, where he pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on four boys under the age of 14.
He was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court, on Friday, 1 April to two years imprisonment suspended for two years and a two-year supervision order for three of the counts.
He was also sentenced to one year’s imprisonment; suspended for two years, for three other counts, to run concurrently.
Mash will also be placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for 10 years and ordered to pay costs of £1,350.
Detective Constable Emma MacDonald, of the Met’s Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “Throughout this case I have been hugely impressed with the courage of the victims who have relived traumatic incidents from their childhood committed by a man entrusted to keep them safe.
“I urge all survivors of sexual abuse, no matter how historic, to come forward and speak with police.”
Two counts of indecent assault against Mash were left to lie on file.
Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse should call the Metropolitan Police Service’s Sexual Offences, Child Abuse and Exploitation Command by dialling 101.
Figures from the ISC Annual Census for early boarding. Maybe this explains why UK boarding schools are closing?
The UK boarding school industry claim that from the 1990s, boarding somehow became “modern”. Facilities were upgraded and children became safer. Or did they?
These reports about alleged abuse against young children at Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland date from the 1990s:
Visit to the Independent Schools Show, London, 9 November 2013
One of the Directors of Boarding Concern attended this exhibition and filed this report:A sound recording (46 minutes) of this talk is available to download as an MP3 file (43Mb). (If you hit a broken link or the file is missing, please contact Boarding Concern.)
Aware this event was taking place, I checked their website for any parts that might be relevant to the work of Boarding Concern.
I discovered that in their Education Theatre, they were holding a session from midday entitled Educating parents: boarding at Prep School.
Two Prep School Headmasters were planning on speaking about Prep School boarding: Tom Dawson (Headmaster of Sunningdale School) (who sounds like PM David Cameron!) and Benedict Dunhill (Headmaster of Port Regis Prep School).
Both schools position themselves to try to recruit full boarders, while the rest of the industry seems happy to provide weekly and flexi boarding.
Sunningdale in Berkshire has 110 pupils (boys only, 83 full boarders, 20 weekly boarder, 7 day boys). The school was the subject of a BBC television documentary, Britain’s Youngest Boarders, first broadcast in September 2010, and available on YouTube. The school claims to be a traditional boarding prep school, focusing on full time boarding, especially in the last two years.
Port Regis in Dorset has 410 pupils (mixed, 200 boarders). They encourage full boarding.
I arrived at the venue through the pouring rain. The Show seemed well attended as I made my way to the Theatre. The previous lecture session had just ended and was full as the attendees left.
I took up a strategic position where I could see the speakers but more importantly, the attendees.
As we approached start time, I estimated the session was only about 20% full. People left during the event but none arrived. I noticed badged school staff occupying several seats. The age profile of the attendees seemed higher than that for parents of prospective boarders of seven or eight.
Many of the parents sitting in the session did not seem to be English or traditional boarding families (TBF). I suspect that TBFs would not need to attend an event like this as they will select schools using their more traditional means. Most of the parents attending looked aspirant, the “Nervous New Money” type as the boarding school industry identifies them.
The host of the event was a well-dressed woman in navy jersey and pearls. Her voice was strident as she introduced the event, demanding we stay and hear that modern boarding “is not the boarding you may have once read about”. (She reminded me of the letter-writing school mistress in the BBC documentary The Making of Them.)
She introduced the two Heads. They explained the format of the event would be a question and answer session between them, with the audience invited to ask questions “on demand”.
The two Heads explained how homework “prep” can be a challenge for tired, working parents. This was where boarding schools had the advantage. This is a well-worn argument but didn’t trigger any response from the audience.
Modern boarding from age seven got a mention. This shocked some members of the audience.
At 14:00, there is talk of “emotional development” about being cooped up with other boys 24/7.
At 14:30 reference to boarders being “stunted emotionally” by going to a boarding school is “completely wrong.” “Hard pressed parents at home find life difficult with their children.” However neither of the two Heads successfully countered the arguments put forward by Nick Duffell, Professor Joy Schaverien and Boarding Recovery. They swiftly moved on to academic matters. I got a sense that parents were seeking a better answer to this major issue.
At 23:50, there is a question for Tom Dawson about “free time.” This was about keeping children busy and structuring it for the younger children. Tom quotes his “housemaster” in the past saying “if you are bored at this school, you are a boring person!” “And he was absolutely right as there was so much to do…”
At 26:55 there is a slight delay as the two Heads and the host discuss (off microphone), whether to keep going or switch to taking questions from the audience. No questions are forthcoming so they continue with their own questions.
Benedict stressed the benefit of his safe, rural location against passing drug pushers and other degenerates on the streets of London. Tom talked about roasting chestnuts and recognising quince trees.
At 30:00, Benedict asked Tom about homesickness “which can happen”. Tom says “it can and does.” The answer is to keep them busy. The parents present seemed not to think this was a modern answer.
At 34:00, the questions and answers session from the audience starts. Some parents and families left the session at this point.
First question was from a female former boarder with twins, sitting in the front row. Her observation was about missing experiences with her children as they grow up. This worries her and she then asked about recommended age for boarding. The Heads answers did not satisfy her. On ages, one Head made reference to the Chinese news story about 3-year olds at boarding kindergartens. This seemed too early! Depends on the family, his school starts at seven… (She spoke with the Heads briefly after the session ended.)
The next question from a mother at 37:42 was about emotional development and the presence of parents in their child’s life. Children going on to boarding senior schools must boarder at their Prep School. Pupils “convert” to wanting to board around 11 and then pester their parents.
The final question at 40:30 was about modern boarding from a male former boarder. He described boarding schools as institutions. What advice would you give to parents who lived abroad? Heads said the issue was “do schools empty out at weekends?”
The host then wrapped up the session by inviting attendees to have follow-up questions and discussions with these two Heads. They should also visit the stands of the other schools.
I felt the session was a tough call for the two Heads. It was not well attended and the parents present (from their body language and questions) seemed ambivalent about early boarding. This event seems more likely to attract both UK aspirant and international parents, rather than the traditional UK boarding parent.
When I left the exhibition, the rain had stopped. I don’t know if the weather might have had an impact on attendance. It seemed not, as those who wanted to hear the various lectures would have timed their arrival regardless.