Watchdog will examine role of boarding school teachers who also set exam questions

England’s exams watchdog has announced a review of rules allowing teachers to set question papers, in the wake of allegations of exam leaks at boarding schools first revealed in the Guardian.

The development, which follows the revelation of cheating allegations involving Eton and Winchester, could put the future of the Pre-U exam under threat.

The investigation by Ofqual was given the backing of the schools minister, Nick Gibb, who said it was necessary to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the exam system.

The Guardian

BBC News

Winchester college suspends teacher over exam cheating claims; teacher then retires

Head of history of art retires after suspension over allegations he gave students prior information on two papers

A second leading public school has been caught up in exam cheating claims, it has emerged, after the Guardian’s revelation that an Eton deputy head had resigned.

Winchester College has suspended its head of history of art, Laurence Wolff, 56, after allegations he gave students prior information on exam questions on two papers, it has been reported.

Results for two exams sat by about 13 Winchester students have been nullified and grades estimated on coursework and previous exams.

Tim Hands, the college’s headmaster, told the Daily Telegraph: “The college has treated this matter very seriously, and has worked closely with the examination board throughout. It greatly regrets what has happened.

The Guardian

Third top private school under investigation following exams ‘cheating’ scandal

Winchester College teacher suspended just days after Eton deputy head leaves school over cheating claims

Three of the UK’s top public schools have become embroiled in an exams “cheating” scandal, following claims pupils were given “advanced knowledge” about upcoming papers.

Laurence Wolff, head of art history at independent boys’ boarding school Winchester College, is said to have been suspended for reportedly giving pupils “prior information” on exam questions on two exam papers.

Results for two exams sat by around 13 of the school’s students have been disregarded, with grades given using estimations from previous coursework instead.

Headmaster Tim Hands told the Daily Telegraph: “The college has treated this matter very seriously, and has worked closely with the examination board throughout. It greatly regrets what has happened.

“No boy was to blame, and the board used standard procedures to award final grades. One teacher was suspended and has now retired from the school.”

The revelation comes days after reports that Mo Tanweer, deputy headmaster of academics at Eton College, has left the prestigious private school following accusations he had circulated questions from an upcoming economics exam to other teachers.

The discovery came after an investigation by the Cambridge International Exams board (CIE), which is also said to be investigating Charterhouse School, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Independent

John Smyth: the alleged Caldicott connection?

The BBC has uncovered further allegations of abuse carried out by a leading barrister who ran Christian summer camps in the early 1980s.

John Smyth is accused of carrying out a series of brutal assaults on pupils at Winchester College.

The BBC has now been told that Smyth also recruited one of his victims and asked him to administer further beatings.

That pupil is now the head teacher of a prep school in Buckinghamshire.

BBC News

How I came to terms with the horrors of my boarding school abuse

Mark Stibbe, a former vicar who lives in North Yorkshire, is among those to claim to have been abused by youth worker John Smyth, who ran Christian holiday camps. As other victims waive their right to anonymity, here he tells his story in full.


C of E bishop: I was given ‘excruciating’ beating by John Smyth

A serving Church of England bishop has alleged that he was subjected to a “violent, excruciating and shocking” beating by John Smyth, the man at the centre of abuse allegations connected to summer camps for Christian youth.

Andrew Watson, the bishop of Guildford, claims he was beaten on a single occasion. He said he had contacted Hampshire police, the force investigating allegations made against Smyth, at the weekend.

Watson said in a statement: “I am one of the survivors of John Smyth’s appalling activities in the late 1970s and early 80s. I am also one of the bishops in the Church of England. This has placed me in a unique and challenging position when it comes to the events of the past few days.

“My own story is certainly less traumatic than that of some others. I was drawn into the Smyth circle, as they were, and the beating I endured in the infamous garden shed was violent, excruciating and shocking; but it was thankfully a one-off experience never to be repeated.”

A number of the beatings alleged to have been administered by Smyth are said to have taken place in the garden shed at his home in Winchester, Hampshire. Watson attended Winchester College, where Smyth is said to have met a number of his alleged victims.

Watson, 55, said a friend of his had attempted suicide on the eve of an alleged beating. “At that point I and a friend shared our story,” the bishop said, although he is not thought to have contacted police at the time.

The Guardian

BBC News

John Smyth allegations: why we need mandatory reporting of all child abuse

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.

Daily Mail

Inside the sexual apartheid of John Smyth’s summer camps

I looked up to John Smyth as a distantly alluring adult when I was a tiny child: handsome, brilliant, charismatic. He was a Beach Mission leader during our seaside holidays, and Christian role model for many – including my brother (who would probably still say he owes him much: there was good there too).

Thanks to John Smyth my brother became an officer on Iwerne Christian camps, and the summer before I went up to Oxford I was invited too.

In my teens I met many of my brother’s friends: Christian, good-looking, sporty, decent, public-school-and-Oxbridge-educated, many of them blues. Destined for ordained ministry; or as teachers; lawyers; businessmen. My parents couldn’t have wanted nicer friends for me. (Nor I, for my daughters.) These were extremely pleasant young men.


Within twenty four hours I felt a complete freak. Unknown to me, it was a world of extreme sexual apartheid. We were confined to the kitchen bashing spuds. The men, glorious in the sunshine and their cream cricket sweaters, played sports; gave talks in the meetings; swam and batted and even I believe flew aeroplanes.

I was discreetly steered away from volunteering for a helicopter trip advertised over breakfast; told off for stopping to chat to a young man I was introduced to destined for the same Oxford college; then for agreeing to play tennis with my brother (he was not); and finally for talking to some boys who lay down near us at the swimming pool. It was the last straw: it was politely suggested I should leave, as I didn’t fit in.

It was not until the following weekend, reintroduced to normality at my parents’, that I realised I was not an aberration. Iwerne was out of step with the world, not I. My husband – not eligible because not public-school-educated, but with his clergy world heavily influenced by it – has boasted ever since that I am the only person to have been sent down from one of its camps.

The Telegraph

Public school defends role in alleged cover up of abuse at Christian camps

Winchester College knew in 1982 about allegations of abuse at the camps but says it didn’t go to the police to save the victims further trauma

One of Britain’s leading public schools has been forced to defend its role in an alleged cover up of serious physical abuse at Christian summer camps attended by its pupils in the 1970s and 1980s.

Winchester College knew in 1982 about allegations of sadomasochistic abuse at the hands of John Smyth, a British QC who ran a series of Christian summer camps known as “bash camps”.

The current archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also attended the camps as a dormitory officer and knew Smyth but in a statement Lambeth Palace said “no one discussed allegations of abuse by John Smyth with him”.

The abuse emerged that year following a suicide attempt by one of the alleged victims. A secret report into the physical abuse was carried out by the Iwerne Trust, which ran the camps for public schoolboys, in 1982.

It described “horrific” beatings of teenage boys, sometimes until they bled. Winchester College, whose pupils were among the alleged victims, was informed of the allegations but neither the college nor the trust reported Smyth to the police.

Winchester College said no report was made to the police at the time, not least because parents of the victims felt their sons should be spared more trauma. The college had never sought to conceal “these dreadful events”, it said in a statement.

The Guardian

Winchester College: Police investigate alleged ‘brutal lashings’

Police have today launched an investigation into claims that teenage boys from Britain’s leading public schools were violently beaten, in what’s been described as a “sadomasochistic cult” run by a lawyer with links to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Operation Cubic, run by Hampshire Police, will examine allegations uncovered by Channel 4 News that John Smyth QC stripped and brutally lashed 22 young men he had groomed at the Christian youth camps he ran.

Archbishop Justin Welby, who worked at the camps managed by The Iwerne Trust, and was once a colleague of Mr Smyth, issued an “unreserved and unequivocal” apology on behalf of the Church of England, admitting it had “failed terribly”.

In a six month investigation, Channel 4 News spoke to alleged victims who described years of brutal attacks, each involving up to 800 lashes with a garden cane, said to purge them of minor sins such as masturbation and pride.

Many were left wearing adult nappies to stem prolonged bleeding following the attacks which began in the late 1970s and continued for at least three years. The Iwerne Trust and Winchester College, where many of the alleged victims were pupils, were made aware of the allegations in 1982 after one attempted suicide but the Police were not informed at the time.

Channel 4 News

Channel 4 (video news report)

The Guardian

The Telegraph