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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Spencer says his parents ‘didn't want to make a fuss’ because he attended a prestigious school

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Spencer was eight years old, he attended a respected church choir school as a boarder.

The culture of the school was one of fear and humiliation, with harsh punishments, and emotional and sexual abuse that pupils had to accept.

The school was run by two housemasters, both of whom Spencer describes as ‘very odd people’. There was also a matron who was ‘deeply unpleasant’. 

Looking back, Spencer says it is clear that the housemasters had ‘free rein’ over the school and could do what they wanted. The boys were in a state of permanent fear of these men, who administered unpleasant and violent punishments every day. The matron routinely humiliated children who soiled their underwear.

After lights out, the housemasters would ‘muck around’ with children in their beds, and the children seemed to accept this behaviour. The housemasters singled out ‘favourites’ and took these children out of their beds and back to their rooms. They also watched children in the bath for no apparent reason.

Spencer says he did not experience what he would term ‘serious sexual abuse’ but he believes he was targetted for grooming. He was given special privileges by the housemasters, and was invited to their rooms for tea, and one of them emotionally abused him.

His parents realised something was wrong and took him out of the school a year before he was due to leave. They also tried to speak to the school about their concerns, but were brushed off. 

Spencer feels there were no checks and balances at the school and nobody that pupils could feel safe talking to. He adds that the church made no attempt to protect children. 

Some years later, the two housemasters were sent to prison for sexual abuse committed in the school. Spencer appeared as a witness in the proceedings.

He is considering making a complaint to the church about its failure to protect children. 

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