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Inquiry to hold virtual public hearing in Residential Schools investigation

12 November 2020

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is holding a two week virtual public hearing in the second phase of its Residential Schools investigation, from 16 - 27 November.

The second and final phase of this investigation will take a broader look at safeguarding procedures within the schools sector in general, including day schools.

It follows phase one of this investigation which focused on the residential, special and music schools sectors. During phase one, in October last year, Counsel to the Inquiry Fiona Scolding QC commented that schools should be places where children are protected and where the environment is safe, nurturing and caring. Evidence from that investigation illustrated clearly that this has not always been the case. 

This hearing will examine culture, governance and management when allegations of child sexual abuse are made, the effectiveness of school inspections and safeguarding and training procedures in both England and Wales.

The Inquiry will consider evidence regarding allegations of child sexual abuse at two state day schools, Headlands School in East Yorkshire and Hillside First School in North Somerset, as well as one co-educational independent school, Clifton College in Bristol, which has both day and boarding pupils.

  • Since 2006, five former members of staff from Headlands School have been convicted of sexual offences against children, the most recent being Christopher Reen. The former martial arts teacher was jailed for three years and four months in 2010 after admitting six counts of sexual activity with a girl under 16, and one count of sexual activity in breach of trust.

  • In 2011, Nigel Leat, a former primary school teacher at Hillside First School, received an indeterminate sentence for public protection, after pleading guilty to 36 offences against five pupils, including attempted rape and sexual assaults. He had filmed the abuse, which took place at the school.

  • In 2015, former housemaster at Clifton College, Jonathan Thomson-Glover, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison after admitting to 36 counts of taking, making and possessing indecent images of children.

Witnesses in the second phase of the investigation include victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in residential schools, teachers, safeguarding experts and teaching unions.

This is the fifth public hearing to be held virtually. As usual, proceedings will be streamed live on the Inquiry’s website.

Witnesses will continue to be supported by the Inquiry’s Support and Safeguarding team, through phone calls and video calls.

The timetable for the first week is available here.

Evidence and full transcripts will be available on the website a few hours after the end of each hearing day.


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