VICTIMS who claim they suffered horrific sexual abuse at a Scots boarding school have been snubbed by an official inquiry – despite being backed by the PM who said they helped set it up.
When she was Home Secretary, Theresa May wrote to a former pupil of Fort Augustus Abbey school to thank him for his “invaluable” help setting up the English Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.
But the evidence of former Scottish pupils like him who attended that infamous boarding school is now unlikely to be heard at the powerful inquiry in London.
Last week, Fort Augustus Abbey was left off the list of schools to be examined by the IICSA later this year.
The snub has prompted fury among those who claim their lives were ruined by what they experienced at the boarding school.
Last night one victim told The Sunday Post: “This has come out of the blue. We’ve been waiting a long time for the inquiry.
“The effect is devastating on our mental health. There have been a number of suicides by ex-pupils because of the abuse.”
He said former pupils are very upset at the bombshell development, especially given Prime Minister May’s earlier support.
Violence, cruelty and sexual confusion are as much a part of boarding school literature as japes and cricket. Alex Renton surveys a troubled genre from Kipling to Rowling
We wonder if this “research” will examine Boarding School Syndrome or the Strategic Survival Personality?
Both of these issues are well established, with Nick Duffell identifying the latter back in the 1990s and Professor Joy Schaverien identifying the former more recently. And the mental health issues of boarders and former boarders so often raised in the media?
Don’t hold your breath!
- Patrick Marshall is said to have been the head of a ‘clique’ of boys he groomed
- He was convicted of 25 offences which took place between 1969 and 1981
- His conviction follows the conviction of five other former teachers at school
- Another teacher was banned over his behaviour towards a young girl
A former rowing coach has become the fifth member of staff from a top private school to be convicted of child sex offences.
Patrick Marshall, who once taught at the £35,000-per-year St Paul’s School, was found guilty of 24 counts of indecent assault against nine boys and teenagers, and one count of indecency with a child at Southwark Crown Court. He was jailed for 18 years.
The married father-of-three, 70, is the third St Paul’s teacher to be convicted in Operation Winthorpe – the Metropolitan Police investigation into historical sexual abuse at the school. Two others have been convicted under separate investigations.
Evening Standard (London)
The Times (subscription)
A prestigious public school was last night accused of covering up child abuse allegations against a senior Christian barrister later linked to the death of a teenager.
Morality campaigner John Smyth QC was accused by young victims of beating them so violently that they had to wear adult nappies to staunch the bleeding, after he recruited them at a Christian youth camp where the Archbishop of Canterbury once worked.
The alleged four-year campaign of ritualised violence in the late 1970s was reported to the trust which ran the camps for pupils from some of Britain’s leading public schools – but appears not to have been reported to police for more than three decades.
Winchester College said it banned Smyth, 75, from contact with its pupils in 1982 but did not go to police in order to spare his alleged victims from ‘further trauma’.
Meanwhile, Smyth moved to Zimbabwe, where he was alleged to have continued his violent abuse of children at more summer camps. He was also reportedly accused of culpable homicide over the death of a 16-year-old boy, Guide Nyachuru, who was found naked in a school pool, but the prosecution was dropped.
The married father of four – who once worked with campaigner Mary Whitehouse – has refused to respond to accusations he abused 22 boys and young men in Britain in attacks of escalating violence which drove one to attempt suicide.
At Nick Duffell’s recent Ealing lecture, he spoke about the changes in the brains of boarders. Boarders coping with the trauma of abandonment in a loveless institution.
BBC News reports on a study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine which shows that stress ‘changes brains of boys and girls differently’.
Lots of empty chairs at yesterday’s boarding lecture at the Independent Schools Show 2016.
As captured in a Tweet from Heathfield boarding School:
No, we didn’t have a stand but we have been to this year’s event in London.
We went to hear what the boarding industry had to say. We also spoke with parents to hear their thoughts on boarding.
We heard the usual platitudes about “modern” boarding. How boarding has changed from what “we” went through. “Modern” boarders tell us it hasn’t changed, boarding is still boarding. Trauma, separation, abandonment and bereavement of homesickness are still the same. Some things never change. And boarders are not sick of home. It is boarding school that makes them sick. They are schoolsick.
We attended this talk in the Education Theatre. We will post a write-up shortly. But we never did find out who these “experts” are who claim boarding “can strengthen the family unit“…
We welcomed 75 attendees to our 2016 Conference in London last Saturday. The fullest we have been. To date…
And this despite there being a separate Boarding School Survivors course for women in London. And another survivors event elsewhere in England.
Professor Joy Schaverien was our keynote speaker, addressing the topic of: The Creation of Boarding School Syndrome: Girls and Boys; How does the trauma differ? See this flyer for more details.
Some images of the day:
Boarding schools are ‘orphanages for the privileged’ which all too often create people driven to succeed at work but who fail to engage emotionally at home.
That’s the view expressed by Mark Stibbe in his new book, Home at Last.
Mark says that, for many people, the journey from private boarding school education to political, civic and military leadership is a troubled one.
“Children sent away at an early age are forced to adapt far too early to the rigours and challenges of life away from their family,” he argues, “and people who have risen to leadership have often suffered the trauma of abandonment and, in some cases, abuse.”
Home at Last at Amazon UK