At an edgy meeting with parents on Sunday, the head of Chetham’s School of Music, Claire Moreland, was asked how many current teachers at the school were being investigated by Manchester Police.
Ms Moreland avoided the question at first, then conceded it was ‘a very small number’. Pressed by parents to say how many, she admitted that it was ‘less than five’.
Carolyn Rhind, Deputy Head for Pastoral, said the files for these staff members were handed over to the police on 12 April. She added that the investigations were the result of ‘concerns raised by one individual.’
Presumptions of innocence apply and the investigation must be allowed to take its course. However, the admissions at the meeting mark a significant departure from the school’s previous position that all allegations of abuse were ‘historic’.
We requested confirmation of these comments from the school. The response was that Sunday’s meeting was private and not for external circulation. The school itself could not comment on matters that were under police investigation.
We would argue that the school’s change of position is a matter of genuine public interest.
Here is the police statement of April 12:
Greater Manchester Police are conducting an investigation into a variety of complaints of sexual abuse related to Chetham’s School of Music and a dedicated Operation called “Kiso” has been established to support this. As an organisation, we recognise that reporting sexual abuse, which occurred some time ago is an incredibly difficult thing to do and we will afford anyone who comes forward, all the appropriate support to discuss events in their own time. We would urge anyone who wishes to report abuse or with information, to contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 6777 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, persons who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 .