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The skies just darkened over Chetham’s

The Manchester school, whose former director of music Mike Brewer was jailed for sexual offences against an underage student, has been assuring parents that an official investigation will find that the unpleasantness was a thing of the distant past and all is now bright, beautiful and, above all, safe for students.

Not so.

 

chethams-school-of-music

Leaks to the Manchester Evening News reveal a host of current shortcomings exposed by the joint inspection by the ISI and Manchester City Council, among them:

  • The school does not meet national child protection guidelines.
  • Some staff do not know what to do when allegations are made.
  • Annual reviews into child protection have not been carried out.

The full ISI report can be read here and a summary of the Manchester City Coumcil report here.

Chet’s response: ‘We consider this Review to be extremely important and fully support the principle of inspection and its role in helping us to ensure that we are providing only best practice in safeguarding.’

Manchester police investigations continue into further allegations of abuse by teachers, which Chetham’s describes as ‘historic’.

 

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Comments

  1. Chet’s response is also reported as complaining that the inspectors didn’t spend long enough over their inspection; is that apparent bravado risible, ironical or just plain accidental? I try not to wonder. It is not easy to avoid speculating as to what and how much more might have been uncovered had the inspection taken longer and been more thorough?

    • Anon. Pupil @ Chetham's School of Music says:

      No! I toured one of the inspectors around Boy’s house. It consisted of walking through the corridors, looking very briefly into perhaps 10 (of the 60 or so) rooms, and the entire thing happened within 15 minutes!

  2. Michal Kaznowski says:

    The good news is that Chets are doing nothing about it! See last but one conclusion extracted from treh Manchester Evening News report.

    The school does not meet national child protection guidelines.
    Some staff do not know what to do when allegations are made.
    Annual reviews into child protection have not been carried out.
    Background checks on two foreign members of staff were not done until after they started employment.
    A criminal check was not carried out on one foreign teacher.
    Qualification checks on some staff had not been made.
    No meetings had taken place to discuss the recent allegations and consider changes.
    Senior leaders have not been held to account with regards to making sure safeguarding arrangements are being implemented.

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/chethams-school-music-reports-reveal-2507720

    Here we are again as in RNCM. Everybody but the management of Chets sees that change is needed.

    • Martin Roscoe says:

      The entire board should be made to stand down, and like the Board of the RNCM in 2002 , they should be barred from any future similar position, as they are clearly incapable of guaranteeing the safety of the students.

      • Current pupil at Chets says:

        The current management of chets has done nothing wrong and has absolutely nothing to do with these historic accusations. The Headmistress as well as the rest of the staff does a fantastic job and I feel that these reports have been extremely unfair and that various newspapers have simply latched onto this and are keen to exaggerate the negatives to turn it into a ‘good story’. Also, seen as this is all about the safety and well being of the students, wouldn’t it be best to get our view? If you did you’d realise how happy we are to be there and all students feel safe and secure with the staff and the school’s environment.

        • Current Pupil says:

          This is ridiculous. As a student, i can honestly say that I feel safe at Chet’s. I am one of many students that loves Chets, and this criticism is completely over the top. It’s mostly coming from people who have no idea what really goes on at Chets.
          Fact Chets failed these ‘tests’, but changes cannot take place overnight. All these people who think they know whats going on have no idea. We are about music and we all ‘love to live to play’ and create and/or recreate beautiful music.

          • I was a pupil at Chets 78-80. Don’t take it upon yourself to say people posting on here have no idea what really goes on at Chets. The criticism is not over the top. Do you know how instrumental tutors are currently recruited? Do you know what sort of induction process they go through once on the staff? Do you know if they have any teaching training or if they are emplyed soley on their reputaion as a reputed professional musician? Are they recruited by advertising and eqaul opporunities and an interview process or by recommendaton and word of mouth! Would for example an English teacher be employed in the same way?Answers please – I would be very grateful.

        • How do you know the management of your school has done nothing wrong and all students feel safe?

      • Anon. Pupil @ Chetham's School of Music says:

        Martin Roscoe, much as I commend your actions and stance regarding events which happened at the RNCM, in this case, unlike at the RNCM no previously known paedophiles or people with questionable backgrounds were employed at Chet’s. At present, there is no evidence that the most recent accusations of abuse (those alleged to taken place since Claire Moreland became headmistress) were brought forward to be investigated through official channels. As a result, the current regime at the school can be blamed for little more than having vague protocols and inconsistent paperwork. The recommended changes to school policy would have absolutely no effect with regards to potential abuse, as changes recommended in the ISI report go no further than clarifying the said paperwork:
        “At the time of the inspection visit, the school’s child protection policy was found to cover most of the requirements which are the duties of proprietors of independent schools. However, the school’s written policy is not suitably comprehensive and has not been properly implemented.”

        • The person who knowingly employed someone of questionable background at RNCM is on the board at Chet’s right now though. Problems other than vague protocols and inconsistent paperwork have been highlighted.

  3. The school’s reported description of the allegations concerned as ‘historic’ might have intended to convey that they relate only to events in the long distant past, but with police investigations continuing and further allegations emerging, the term ‘historic’ seems already to be acquiring a rather different connotation in the context concerned…

  4. Colin Hattersby says:

    Norman, are you out to get Chetham’s shut down, or irreversibly damage its name? Of course these reports need to be taken seriously, and of course allegations of abuse demand attention. It just seems that you’re going after it like a tabloid paedophile hunt, ignoring the coverage of the parents’ views of modern Chet’s such as can be found in this piece:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-two-sides-of-chethams-what-the-press-reports–and-what-the-parents-see-8517439.html

    Instead you persist with stirring up panic with unpublished reports and keep using the most Victorian images you can find of the school. It may just be worth trying to avoid sensationalising the story – the nature of abuse does that itself.

    • There is no panic. The report is now published. These are very serious issues that need thorough investigation, as Manchester Police will confirm.

    • Concerned Parent says:

      Chetham’s name IS damaged – but not by Norman or the press. The damage has been done by Michael Brewer, those who supported him, all the other teachers who have behaved with less than 100% propriety and the past and current management and governors who continue to fail to address the failings of the school and to wriggle out of responsibility in increasingly distasteful ways. The school’s statement to the MEN shows that the major preoccupation of the management still seems to be “media management” while they try to hang on to their jobs rather than do what is best for the school.

      The school now faces multiple financial challenges – not just in terms of benefactors and sponsors (including for the incomplete £40 billion new building) or parents who might not want to pay for places but also in terms of the MDS scheme administered by the DfE which accounts for the bulk of the school’s annual income. If the school were say a care home, a report like this one would mean an instant block on any new referrals for paid places.

      I understand that the Education Minister has the power to close down a private school and reopen it with new management. This is what should now happen – he could second a private school headteacher with a proven track record in best practice in safeguarding and pastoral care and who is not in thrall to the conservatoire establishment, and give him a year or two to sort out Chets and find some properly competent senior staff.

      The board of governors should resign en masse – and a board consisting mainly of parents (again people not in thrall to the conservatoire establishment and not just there because they are part of the great and good) be set up.

      A proper parent body should also be set up, and a governance of the school evolved which gives students a real voice.

      All these are concrete ways which would ensure the voices of parents and students are heard and the interests of students are genuinely put at the heart of everything the school does – something which so evidently hasn’t happened at Chets.

      Finally none of this obviates the need for the kind of public enquiry Ian Pace and others have been calling for into our elite musical education institutions. no one should be under any illusion that the other specialist music schools would fare any better than Chets if subjected to the same kind of stringent inspection.

      • Agreed on all but two points.

        The first is that I think that it would be premature for the Education Minister to close Chethams and reopen it with new management, for two reasons; firstly, such a draconian action might risk due attention being drawn away from the issue of similar alleged problems at other music education institutions and focus it disproportionately upon Chethams and, secondly, the police investigation is still in progress and no such action should be taken until it has been completed and its findings published and duly considered.

        The second is that I really do hope that the cost of the “incomplete…new building” is £40m, not £40bn, otherwise the scandal of the Scottish Parliament building coming in way over budget might look almost in accordance with reasonable expectations!

        • Concerned Parent says:

          Sorry – got my millions and billions muddled up. It’s millions obviously – and the building is very beautiful, but I think it has in many ways been a distraction from what is really important at the school. At a prize-giving a couple of years ago Mrs Moreland spent the whole of her speech talking about buildings – the new building, all the new building terminology she had learnt, how the medieval building was going to get a visitor centre and then all the other new multi-million pound buildings that were going to be near Chets in Manchester. Not a word about the children or their achievements – this is no exaggeration. I wasn’t the only person in the audience to think that this was a bit skewed.

      • “no one should be under any illusion that the other specialist music schools would fare any better than Chets if subjected to the same kind of stringent inspection.”
        very well said.
        Also, complications can arise within the setting of a state school system.
        This has been highlighted in the wonderfully quirky new film by Francois Ozon called ‘In the House’
        Strongly recommended!

    • Why do you ask such a question based upon a false assumption that Norman’s observations are based upon what you call “unpublished” reports when the ISI report and now the Manchester City Council reports are indeed published? Since you provide no evidence in support of the possibility that Norman or indeed anyone else wants Chethams closed or irreversibly damaged, I think it only fair to ask you respectfully to withdraw your statement on this and offer due apology.

      The Independent piece is all very well, but it is not and should not be read as though it substitutes in any way for a report of an investigation or an official report such as that which has been published by Manchester City Council; it should also be borne in mind that the police investigation is still proceeding and, no doubt, a report on that will eventually be made public.

      • Colin Hattersby says:

        Agreed – in hindsight it was an ill-worded comment, and I apologise. Of course Mr Lebrecht isn’t ‘out to get’ Chet’s, and better public discussion of these problems is vital. What frustrated me is that very little coverage has been made of the progress made, for example in terms of glass-doored practice rooms etc. Obviously these issues need full investigation, though. In my defence, the report was not published at the time of my comment. All best.

        • Nobody is worried about the buildings. It’s people and events inside them that is the issue.

    • david owen says:

      the only people who may be ‘out ot get Chetham’s shut down’ are the Dept of Education, who I believe have the power to remove the school from its register if it doesn’t get its act together by May, which I understand is the deadline which the DoE have set (info via Ian Pace’s website). if the DoE have to exercise this power it would be a great shame, but that is up to the school. what Mr Lebrecht and others are doing are expressing understandable concern that Chetham’s (on the evidence of its reaction to recent events) does not appear to appreciate the seriousness of its position, or if it does, is attempting to disguise this beneath an ill-advised insistence on positive PR.

  5. thekingontheviolin says:

    Do these new public reports imply or prove that the current Head of Chethams was lying when she assured parents that the investigations were of a historic nature only? When did she discover allegations of current investigations? [redacted] If she did not know then how is it possible that allegations and police investigations of direct relevance to her were kept from her?

    All this is profoundly disturbing.

  6. Norman has been extremely fair to Chets. in only publishing reports and comments that are in the public domain. Where there has been any legal grey areas, then names and places have been redacted.

    Not only is this because after he got his fingers burnt over something completely different, he is not prepared to get sued, but this is only fair to any individuals and institutions whose names are not public and their students.

    I don’t know what advice these teachers have had re. child protection issue, and I can speak on behalf of ISM members (because I am one), but their procedures concerning reporting suspicions are published in their Professional Code of Conduct. I understand (from attending a seminar aimed at private music teachers that was led by a spokesperson from the Musician’s Union that they also publish clear guidelines.

    It does not take much time to read through these guidelines and take appropriate action. They comply with all the recommendations in both, “Every Child Matters”, and “The Munro Report”.

    That individual teachers did not know what to do when they suspected foul play causes me the greatest of concern. This is not only as an instrumental teacher (I predominately teach singing), but as a parent (I am mother to two sons of the age of the average Chets. Student).

    For those who are members of the mainstream teaching unions, I am almost certain they also publish guidelines re. Child Protection Issues for their members.

    Senior Teachers and Governing Bodies can not do their job without teachers knowing what they should do under these circumstances and reporting concerns to them. The only circumstance when I was responsible for a child and was concerned was in connection with some church work I was doing where I reported the matter (in consultation with the family concerned) to the Licensed Reader,who passed on these concerns to the Vicar; a satisfactory conclusion was reached quickly.

    That qualification checks were not made is a minor misdemeanour. That a CRB check was not made until after a member of staff had started their employment can be covered by the use of a chaparone. (All CRB checks do is check that no-one has been caught; they do not prevent bad-apples from getting jobs providing they keep it under the radar DO REMEMBER THAT).

    If I was on the board of Chethams School of Music, the first thing I would do as a result of this report, is ensure that there is a robust Child Protection Policy written (ideally yesterday) then ensure all staff attend appropriate INSET Training. It may be a case of rounding up the horses, then shutting the stable door, but it is the best course of action.

    It will be interesting to see how the Senior Teaching Staff and Governing Body respond once they have had time to read and inwardly digest the facts of the reports. The school has been found wanting, now is its chance to turn its self around.

  7. I have just published a new blog post myself containing the call from the DfE for Chetham’s to come up with an action plan, or face the possibility of being struck from the register of independent schools, and calling for senior management and the governors to consider their position.

    http://ianpace.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/publication-of-reports-into-chethams-by-isi-and-mcc-senior-management-and-governors-should-consider-their-position/

    • I’d rather see it turn its self around Ian.

      There must be the equivalent of ‘special measures’.

      If it were a state school it would be a candidate for special measures.

      I’ve read both reports, they are both pretty damming, yet the glimmer of hope lies with the parents. Parents who have entrusted their children to the care of the staff at Chetham’s School, and who care about these children.

      Before one calls for action, the concerns of these parents need to be listened to and the best path for exisiting staff (the majority of whom are excellent) and students followed.

      Put the horses in the stables and shut the door. The run the stables properly. Don’t just say the horses escaped, let’s shut the stables.

      • I am not calling for the stables to be shut – on the contrary, I wish to see them survive. But that requires serious consideration as to whether this is possible under the current management.

        • Quite possibly, it is rather too soon to comment.

          There are many details in the two reports for all concerned to mull over.

          However Ian, I know several headteachers who would have resigned on the spot having received such an appalling report under their watch. These are the type of teacher who are saddened by much milder comments, manage their schools well, and have the procedures in place already that are being recommended in these reports.

          I’m glad you want to see the school saved, it was not completely clear from you previous comment.

        • Anon Pupil says:

          nonsense. What you are doing is conducting a witch hunt, nothing more. Incredibly frustrating and unfair on so many. Not least Claire Hickman and her senior staff

          • Definition of witch-hunt also witch hunt (wchhnt) n: “An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.”
            Do those using the term witch hunt really believe that this is what is happening?

          • I am very sorry to hear that Anon Pupil.

            The reports speak for themselves. The Department of Education has spoken. Personally, I would like to see the Senior Management Team and Governing Body implement the action plan and those who find themselves deficient resign on the own behalf.

            In my mind this has to be a matter of conscience. Personally I am very aware that each and every member of the group I have named is human, and as human beings capable of making mistakes. Now is the time to allow them to act on the report and trust they do what is best for the school.

            I think you will find that the last thing I want is a witch hunt. Now is the time for healing and putting forward a plan that will take the school forward.

            It has clearly been a difficult time for all involved.

          • I think you’ll find it’s a tabloid paedophile hunt (see above)

  8. Concerned parent says:

    As covered in comments on a previous post on Chets, the management has excelled in NOT listening to parents and students – and there are no mechanisms (such as a parent body, parent or student representation in the governance of the school) to ensure that it does so, and only the thinnest of external accountability mechanisms either by the state or the market. Nor have Chets’ recent PR pronouncements indicated any genuine recognition that it needs to do the former – or that it is in fact genuinely listening to parents or students rather than just saying it is. This why parents and students are now expressing themselves on blogs and the media – and the situation is becoming more damaging by the day for Chets.
    In the light of the criticisms in the reports of the headmistress and governors, their positions to me seem untenable. If Chets were an ordinary private school where parents could withdraw their children and easily find a comparable school for them, Chets would now be facing a catastrophic fall in its roll which would certainly have prompted radical action by the proprietors.

    • I’ve read your comments on a previous thread to this effect.

      Parents Associations do the power of good. Not only do they rally to the aid of schools, but they allow issues of concern (like this one) to be discussed and aired.

      This is most definitely a matter that needs to be redressed.

    • Current pupil at Chets says:

      If you are quite so concerned why is your child still at chets as I assume they are? If it really is such a terrible place for your child to be you would surely withdraw them regardless. The fact that you haven’t makes me wonder why you are condemning a school that is giving your child so much. And if you would just take the time to listen to the students you’d see how proud we are to be studying there and what a fantastic job the staff there do, especially Claire Moreland.

      • You misunderstand, I do not have any children at Chets. However I am a mum, and as a mum I am attempting to put myself in the position of the parents whose children are there. I am certain that the vast majority are excellent parents, and mine is not the position to judge their individual decisions.

        I knew former pupils as an undergraduate when, according to the reports, the situation was at its worst.

      • Some students don’t think so

  9. AnotherChetsParent says:

    I am sure this comment would be moderated and not considered appropriate to be posted on this forum, as have been the case with my previous posts. But, I try again. I have followed these posts and the comments on this forum about Chethams for a while now, and I am baffled by the way this is being handled in such a public way. It seems that there are a handful of individuals here who are actively damning Chets and the management in every way possible. Is this a personal agenda, i wonder? Are you completely oblivious to the fact that this is very harmful, distracting and confusing for the students at Chets who are hard-working young people, trying to apply themselves to something that they are passionate about? Agreed that there are certain weaknesses as indicated by these reports, but I can say with 100% confidence that the staff are doing their best to keep the students safe, happy and give them a rounded education and plenty of opportunities. In the midst of the wide media frenzy and attention that has been going on since the last few months, what the students need is some kind of stability. The last thing they need is for a change in management or continued speculation in such public forums about what the management is presumably ‘lying’ to them about, and whether the people that they look upto are genuine. Also, continued speculations about which other teachers are under investigation is causing a lot of anguish and uncertainty for these students. I just cannot understand what you are trying to achieve through these accusations and discussions besides getting your name in the media, of course. If you are genuinely concerned about this, wouldn’t it better to try and organise a meeting with the school or send some recommendations privately. None of the current management and staff have been accused (or proven) of any wrong-doings yet, so let’s not continue this witch hunt. Think about the students- you seem to have all forgotten about them amongst your own personal vendettas against the school- and give them some breathing space to focus on what’s important to them.

    • YetAnotherChetsParent says:

      (I previously posted a couple of times under the name AnotherChetsParent but I’ll defer to the person above and change my nickname to YetAnotherChetsParent).

      The comments here are not made in pursuit of vendettas. Many of us have had direct experience of dealing with the current management and have found them repeatedly unwilling to address serious concerns about the pastoral care of our children. Much us they would have us confuse the two, the current management (governors included) of Chetham’s and the institution of Chetham’s are not identical. If the current management is unable to deal with the institution’s problems they should step aside and allow others to make the changes that are needed. For the current management and its defenders to build a shelter against reasonable criticism out of the talent and dedication of Chet’s students is intolerable.

      I agree with many of the proposals made here. Chet’s needs a strong parental group both online and in person. (It could schedule its meetings for term beginnings/ends and major concerts.) The governing body should be composed of parents, academic teachers, music teachers, community co-optees, and senior staff, each group elected by those they represent. Musical teachers should have proper contracts, which include a requirement to meet with parents. There must be *independent* mechanisms for students, staff and parents to report concerns.

      The current management needs to stop behaving so arrogantly and start taking responsibility for its very serious failings.

    • david owen says:

      you know, it’s quite possible to make the arguments you wish to present without imputing dubious personal motivations to those with whom you disagree. are you really suprised that your comments get moderated? this one certainly should be.

      • Yes David Owen, good point (” it’s quite possible to make the arguments you wish to present without imputing dubious personal motivations to those with whom you disagree.”). Isn’t that kind of behaviour called a ‘witch hunt’?

    • AnotherChetsParent: You lost me at: “I can say with 100% confidence that the staff are doing their best to keep the students safe, happy and give them a rounded education and plenty of opportunities.” How could you or anyone possibly be so all-seeing and all-knowing? This is absurd. Yet it seems to trouble you so, that people here can have and express doubts in much less absolutist terms. The personal agendas are much more likely to be on the side of the staunch absolute defenders of Chet’s management as such a stance flies in the face of all that is reasonable and sane and appears to have very little to recommend it. We don’t arrange a meeting with the Chet’s management because many of us have lost faith in them and do believe that they have done things wrong, like the way they have handled this whole affair since its inception. Nice try, but it’s perfectly simple and obvious to almost everyone what this is about: dealing with the abuse and neglect of children in music education. Silly cheap shot to suggest that trying to make sure children are safe and abuse is tackled is somehow damaging to the children. Utterly laughable to suggest that those who support an inquiry and express concerns about Chet’s and other institutions don’t care about the pupils. ‘Witch hunt’, ‘media frenzy’, ‘personal vendettas’. Substitute responsible discussion and action, largely perfectly reasonable media coverage and personal responsibility and integrity. It is utterly preposterous and really clutching at straws to try to scapegoat decent people who care about child abuse. Chetham’s reputation is in tatters and it’s whose fault? There have been some desperately creative attempt to pathologise all those who have perfectly normal, legitimate concerns about children being neglected and abused and perfectly understandable wishes to deal with this. People who have done this seem to have no qualms about bury all thoughts of anyone who is being or has been abused or neglected at that school or any other. It is not ‘a handful of individuals’, sadly for you, who have and are expressing concerns but more than a thousand and counting, more than 300 and counting of which are Chetham’s ex pupils along with many parents, teachers of Chet’s and other schools and pupils of other schools. This large number of people is just a proportion of those concerned or who would be if they knew about all this. The views of those who are concerned and trying to do something about it mirror the perspective of the vast majority of the general public. I suspect all the mud slinging, projection and deflecting will increasingly fall on deaf ears as more information becomes public.Iit is so obvious to anyone in their right mind that it is abusers, their enablers, their apologists, those who want to cover things up, those who want to sweep things under the carpet and those who just don’t care that are in the wrong here.

      • current student says:

        Hi Gwen. I appreciate what you’re saying and much of it is correct, but I would just like to point out a few things. Many of the pupils at the moment are very upset. Not because of “child neglect” or “abuse”, but because of the things they are reading in places like this blog (what you just wrote is a fine example). I know this because as I write this my friends are complaining to me about the comments which are made about our school, which I and them find completely untrue. This proves to me that there aren’t as many issues as there may seem to be at Chets, because if there were then students wouldn’t be getting so frustrated and angry as they are reading these comments! Student are sick of reading these comments, this proves that they are hardly supporting what you are saying. When I personally read what you have written, your comments don’t at all familiarise with my experience at Chets (7 years), and I know for a fact this applies to many of my fellow Students.Just thought I’d tell you this, because it is the truth, but of course not all students feel this way (the vast majority to my knowledge do). I am not at all saying that the current management doesn’t need to improve, because Chets does have problems, however they seem to be doing a great job from my perspective, and will hopefully continue to produce fine musicians!

        • Perhaps you could point out why my post is a fine example of something that will offend and upset pupils? Which part is offensive / upsetting? My post above is largely a defense of the right of myself and others to have an opinion on these things without being smeared ourselves. It deals with arguments put forward to silence any doubt , criticism or calls for further investigation and to place the current management beyond approach. I am not attempting to describe your experience of the school. I am glad it is positive. Nor do I draw any definite conclusions about how things are there or suggest that there is anything wrong with the school as an entity. I am supporting the idea that there is some doubt and that things need to be looked in to, that is all. Many others are doing the same for perfectly good reason and that is what I mainly deal with in my post . It is not the end of the world. Pupils of all people need not feel attacked, besieged or entrenched and I am sorry if you are being made to feel that way.

    • Anon Pupil says:

      @AnotherChetsParent Your words echo what I and many of my fellow students are writing tonight on social media and on these forums. I think we should listen to those pupils… thanks for offering a balanced view

  10. Concerned Parent says:

    To AnotherChetsParent – i think you are being extremely patronising towards Chets students. The ones I know – which include my own child – are completely clear about the way Chets management has been [redacting] to them and the outside world, and are very cross about it. They also have a very clear sense of the school’s long-term failings and how students are not listened to unless their parents kick up an inordinate amount of fuss. Even then systematic problems or weaknesses – either in the way the institution operates or with respect to individual managers or teachers are not addressed. The management has not involved parents or students in any meaningful way in addressing the present crisis which is why it has lost the confidence of very many parents and students, not to mention external authorities. The only reason parents haven’t gone public with their own names is fear that their child will be penalised. Parents and pupils do not want to be fobbed off any longer – they want to see real change now. Incidentally you are wrong to say none of the current management and staff have been accused (or proven) of any wrong-doings yet – it just hasn’t been reported in the media. The Greater Manchester Police are actively investigating concerns raised by a number of current parents and students about the current management and staff.

    • AnotherChetsParent says:

      I am not being patronising to the chets pupils. In fact, completely the opposite. The number of current pupils who are here defending the school is evidence of what the reality is for the majority of the students. I firmly believe that most students at Chethams today are capable young people who can voice their opinions, and stand up for themselves. If there was any abuse, psychological or sexual, they would not take it quietly. Assuming that the students are weak and being manipulated into believing things blindly by the management, and need outsiders to defend them, is in fact patronising to these young people. Every parent knows what the issues with the school are, but coming on such blogs to make disparaging comments is not the right approach to resolve these. I have read your comments on this and other blog posts related to Chets, ‘ConcernedParent’. It appears that you have had real issues with the school, and I am baffled at why you have chosen to keep you child at Chethams. If my child was being psychologically abused, I would not keep them there for one minute longer, no matter what the implications, or what the impact on their musical training might be, because the welfare of my child is my foremost priority. I am surprised you have chosen not to do so.

      • CurrentChetsPupil says:

        I don’t understand many of your motifs, such as ‘Gwen’ as well as Norman Lebrecht. You say you want the best for the students at chets but you refuse to listen to us and continue to argue with us. I find this very strange and would like to know the reasons behind this ridiculous onslaught.

      • So, to summarise some of the arguments stated above:

        Chets pupils can look after themselves and don’t need the public or the music community’s concern and it is patronising and insulting to think otherwise. Therefore it is a bad and shameful thing for children to be accused of not being able to look after themselves without adult intervention (seeing as it is such an insult to suggest it). By extention all the people who have alleged abuse or borne witness to it have, if those allegations are true, failed to look after themselves or their fellow students in a proper expected way and have not at all been failed by the adults around them who abused, failed to protect, covered up, failed to inquire, etc. They have simply failed to do what any self-respecting kid in a school should be expected to do single-handed.

        We are to take on face value the ‘evidence’ provided by a handful of posts submitted by people who say they are students or parents and to accept that this is representative of the entire student body other than the odd bad egg or disturbed person.

        We are to be convinced by the ‘evidence’ of the assertions in these posts that those posting are entirely happy with the school and either know or believe that everyone else is.

        We are to believe the suggestion that everyone at Chet’s is upset that anyone is suspecting otherwise or expressing any concerns or wishing to find out more. We are also to accept that this is our fault (those of us voicing concerns and asking for action and investigation) and, what?, go away, shut up and butt out presumably.

        Whilst on the one hand we should accept students as strong and self-sufficient enough to tackle any issues of abuse or neglect that they may encounter and to challenge the authorities at the school and solve any problems, we are also to accept that they cannot cope with current debates and media attention and are being unnecessarily stressed and damaged by it.

        We are also to go along with the idea that anyone with concerns who is at the school or has a child at the school should also shut up and go away (i.e. leave or take child away) and make room for someone else to take the place. In other words ‘If you don’t like it you know what you can do’ or ‘put up and shut up’. We are to believe that parents with concerns should and could have solved them by speaking to management and that if they have done and are still unsatisfied then their concerns could not have been valid in the first place and must have been the fault of their child for misbehaving or refusing to accept behaviour rules.

        As a Chets pupil posted elsewhere, you cannot be sure of who you are speaking to on the internet or of the truth of some of what they are telling you or what they are subjectively reporting. You can be sure of what argument is being presented and whether you agree with it. You can also evaluate different evidence and decide what weight you give it, how much you take it on face value and what other evidence you require to be convinced.

        I will not address the arguments listed further, even the idea that one or even a group of people feeling one way meaning that everyone must. This has already been done elsewhere or seems obvious to me at least. I just want to bring the arguments out into the light of day for us all to have a look at for ourselves.

        I am interested in seeing all poster’s views and endeavour to respect them. I will take poster’s comments on face value to a point, but not as unequivocal proof that they are who they say they are, are all-knowing and all-seeing, are authorities not to be questioned or doubted on the topic in hand, have all the evidence to hand and hold the only possible valid view. Nor will I take people’s genuine and understandable defence of the school as irrefutable evidence that all is well there and needn’t be looked at further. We all have to remain somewhat sceptical and we all have to weigh the various evidence. Incidentally I have also seen criticisms of the school posted by pupils elsewhere. I appreciate pupils posting their views and am sorry if my and other people’s views cause offence or frustration to anyone, particularly pupils. However, it is just as possible that pupils who may or may not post will take comfort and strength from the concerns expressed by those outside the school or will at least understand that they come from the right place and are expressed for good and understandable reason. We do all have a right to have views about this, whoever we are or say we are.

  11. Rosalind says:

    Given the fact that students at the school come from all around the UK and abroad, I wonder how many of their parents will actually see these two reports and thus be able to form their own conclusions from the points made within them.

    Personally I think it would be only right if the school itself were to make the reports available to ALL parents by distribution on email. At least that would show complete openness about the current situation. Will it happen?

    • chet'smum says:

      Chet’s emailed the reports to parents last night (April 2). The email arrived in my inbox at 10:42 pm with copies of both reports and the statement from the school. My husband rec’d the same email at his address.

  12. Anonymous Pupil says:

    As somebody who has actually read the report in its turgid and wordy entirety, and someone who has a more than superficial understanding of Chet’s and the way in which it is run, I would like to point out that anyone who reads it will see that it concerns itself almost exclusively with paperwork, bureaucracy, and ‘protocol’. Its comments on pupil happiness, or indeed real people at all, are very few and far between and mostly positive. Presumably that’s how they’ve managed to show our CPO in such a bad light, when I know her to be one of the most approachable and sensitive members of staff we have. If a report like this had been published about any other school, nobody in the press would have batted an eyelid, but because of something that happened a few decades ago, the whip is being cracked against us all. Including the students.

    Indeed, everybody ‘commenting’ on this, including these so-called ‘concerned parents’ needs to take into consideration the emotional effect that their uninformed rantings are having on current students at the school. We know and trust our teachers, please don’t sully their reputations or destroy their careers over something as insignificant as paper-pushing.

    • chet'smum says:

      Thank you Anonymous Pupil – that was well said. And I agree that the CPO is very helpful and approachable.

    • Concerned non-parent says:

      Just think about this for a minute: a former director of music is convicted and jailed for abuse, a former pupil commits suicide, the school itself expresses shock and invites inspectors in, the police arrest a current teacher and say they have received many complaints and are investigating others, the inspectors are critical, the school’s response is defensive, the Department of Education sends a letter giving school management until May to sort out a proper response.

      And yet it is comments on the Internet calling for an inquiry which are causing you emotional distress?

      Do events and management behaviour at the school seem perfectly normal and acceptable to you despite the concerns of the police or the government (a Conservative govt remember so hardly hostile to independent schools without good reason)?

      Most of the people calling for an inquiry were once talented pupils like you at Chetham’s or other specialist music schools. They have seen how many of the things that went on there, psychological as well as sexual abuse, damaged and ruined lives. You may not see now how the same issues may still be affecting current pupils-they may not even see it yet themselves. But why not open up the culture of these schools to open and independent scrutiny and discussion with staff, parents and pupils for the sake of present and future pupils and for the future of music education.

      • Anon Pupil says:

        absolutely open up the doors to these things. That is exactly what Mrs Moreland has done and she will now address what needs doing. Im sure any school undergoing rigorous inspection would have to do the same (remember Chets has not had a problem in independent inspections before now). Calling for her resignation helps nobody. That much is clear to me and the overwhelming majority of students

        • Concerned non-parent says:

          But Ms Moreland has not opened up the door. Every statement from the school since this began has been defensive and closed. For example, she said all allegations were over 20 years ago until the police contradicted that (in response to a newspaper query) so the next day she conceded that more recent allegations were being investigated.

          It may be that she has just had appalling PR advice (I understand that the school’s initial position at the time of the trial was to say nothing on the instructions of their insurers) but this sense of information being dragged out of the school at every stage rather than the school participating in an open discussion is exactly why people are calling for an inquiry.

          • Another Anonymous Pupil says:

            She released a statement saying very clearly that the police have suggested that she say nothing. Not just the schools insurers with bad PR advice, the police. She has done everything by the book…

    • As one of the reports says, If a report like this had been published about another school, a meeting would be called about the ability of the people involved to do their jobs. The ultimatum has not been given for fear of poor paperwork.

  13. chetsparent says:

    I’m amazed that any parent with serious concerns for their child’s welfare would allow their child to remain at the school. I have every confidence that my child is safe and being nurtured by a very caring and talented staff. If I had any doubts I would not allow my child to attend. Parents making such negative and disparaging comments should consider their actions and think of the effect they are having on current students all of whom are talented and extremely valued by the school.

    • YetAnotherChetsParent says:

      @chetsparent Many of us are very concerned and are trying to decide whether to withdraw our children. You talk about “negative and disparaging comments.” Have you read the reports? How is it possible that the governing body did not meet to discuss the allegations and review procedures:

      MCC
      Section 4.1 (b) (viii)
      No evidence was provided of any formal, minuted governing body/school committee meetings called so that leaders and governors could reflect on the implications of recent allegations in connection with the school, carry out appropriate scrutiny, audit and self evaluation and consider the need to conduct a comprehensive review of current safeguarding policies, procedures and practice;

      (ix)
      There was no evidence to confirm that governors had sought assurances about current safeguarding arrangements, given the context of recent allegations, resulting in convictions and arrests of individuals connected with the school. A current employee was arrested on 14th February 2013 in relation to an historic allegation, is presently suspended and is the subject of
      ongoing police investigation.

      What on earth were these people doing? Answer: nothing. This is not caring and it certainly isn’t talented. The students deserve far better.

      • CurrentChetsPupil says:

        I know that to be completely untrue and fabricated by a particular newspaper. The staff are working extremely hard to work out the present situation, even though this is highly unfair to them as they have been the ones to create the school as it is today that makes us students so happy and proud to be there. These are not the members of staff present at the time of the historic allegations and yet are still having to deal with it, along with your biased and misinformed accusations.

        • This is, Ms A., a delusion. The newspaper you accuse does not fabricate evidence. If it did, it would have landed in court and been out out of business. Wiser heads, outside the Chetham’s state of siege, may have a perspective that is invisible on the inside. Please respect it and do not go around casting false aspersions. The school has come in for severe criticism from two sets of inspectors. A very good journalist on Channel 4 News warned that it could face sanctions unless an improvement plan is quickly constructed. There is a crisis at Chet’s. To ignore it would be irresponsible.

          • former student says:

            Not fabricate evidence, no. But throughout the current scandal the paper in question has not taken every care with fact checking or indeed presenting a truthful reflection of the situation. It’s a dangerous stand for you to take, Norman, when you say to respect this paper. You’re a knowledgeable, if opinionated, chap and must have noticed the glaring inconsistencies in the coverage and the leading, headline grabbing reporting.
            There have been problems at the school and the two inspections carried out suggest, however truthfully, that there is work to do but these do not seem to amount to grave concerns as much as procedural ditherings.
            One should question the motives of the newspapers and television news suggesting otherwise before taking their word as gospel; the idea that they might take the worst possible conclusions from the reports is good for them because the more shocking the headline, the more papers sold. You know that. Let’s do some thinking before we jump on the bandwagon.
            You have somewhat of a history of pursuing causes like this without really having a grip on the situation. The reports were not great, the Department of Education was provoked into a knee jerk reaction and the papers are milking it for as much as it’s worth. And you are not helping anyone.

          • formerstudent : you are making large claims about a paper not checking their facts or presenting a truthful reflection of the situation, but without giving any specifics. Could you do so, so these could be assessed?

            ‘One should question the motives of the newspapers and television news suggesting otherwise before taking their word as gospel’ – certainly, but one should do the same with institutions such as Chetham’s and their public statements, or those of those who stand to benefit from them, as well.

            So much of this thread is full of generalised comments which do not address the specific claims and charges in the reports or in the press.

          • What you say here is so true that it has informed my responses and the ways in which I try to phrase them so that pragmatism is paramount and (hopefully) seen to be paramount). We all know that certain organs of the media can be trusted to exaggerate, sensationalise, take unreasonable advantage of poor research, adopt prejudiced attitudes in support of their agendas and the rest, with sometimes quite appalling disregard for the interests and concerns of those involved, most especially the victims. At the same time, however, there is at least as great a danger in adopting positions of complacency just because those media outlets cannot always be trusted to address and report accurately and sensitively but with no holds barred.

          • There are grave concerns former Student. The school has been given a month to sort things out.

          • I would say that for the most part the media have behaved in a responsible and non-sensationalistic manner on these stories – even the Daily Mail have not been too bad (and that is high praise indeed from me)! And some of the best pieces have gone beyond simply expressing horror at the presence of abusers in a school towards wider considerations of the nature of music teaching, the teacher-pupil relationship, the types of environments which these places create, the ways in which others as well as the abusers might bear some responsibility, and so on – at best, a mature debate on musical education which is long overdue. And I know (with some inside knowledge here) of how both papers and TV cannot print allegations and get them past their lawyers without a good deal of corroboration, multiple first-hand accounts, and so on (and some items have been dropped or heavily edited on this basis).

            Hostility towards revelation of grave offences on the part of beloved individuals or institutions are part of what protected Saville, as current investigations are starting to reveal. In this case, some of us believe it should not wait that long.

          • That is all too true – and the sooner people with over-active and unwarrantably agenda-driven imaginations cease and desist from braying about them and their school being “attacked”, the sooner a due sense of pragmatism and realism will rear itself, thereby enabling a far more advantageous climate in which to address all of the woes concerned, deal with them and find and establish a way forward that will work in the best interests of everyone involved, as well as in the best interests of Chethams’ future and of the future of all of its future students.

            There is in the meantime absolutely no useful purpose to be served by the wilful sticking of heads in any available sand, however well-meaning such action might seem to be, in the light of the fact of the ISI investigation and report, the MCC ditto, the ongoing investigation by Greater Manchester Police, the DoE requirement, the continuing emergence of further allegations from past students and the allegations that co-operation with the continuing police investigation might have fallen of still be falling somewhat short of reasonable expectations, because these are all facts – even the allegations are factual events, even though they remain for the time being allegations only.

            And, in case anyone remains in any doubt (as some seem insistent upon doing) , no one is “attacking” Chethams or any of its current students per se; far from it indeed, since most people who care about all of this want it all to come right for the school and its students and stay that way.

    • current student says:

      chets parent i am extremely thankful you have pointed that out!! it has baffled me how many parents are condemning the school, yet they still send there students there! this to me doesn’t;t make sense at all!!
      By my knowledge the students reading these comments on this blog are becoming extremely angry as they whole heartedly disagree with what’s being said! I am with you 100 %

      • The parents don’t appear to be condemning ‘the school’ or attacking pupils. They are criticising the management. These are three distinct things. Don’t be fooled into thinking the school is being attacked.

  14. FormerChetsPupil says:

    I left Chets in 2011, and my personal view of the experience was that is was run like a hybrid between a corrupt government and a corrupt corporation.

    WAKE UP. The management cares only for it’s image in the public eye, and the school really does not care whether the children in its care are happy enough. Parents seem somehow brainwashed into thinking the place is some kind of Utopia! It DOES NOT provide a balanced education. The music aspect is far more overpowering than advertised and the A-level opportunities are pitifully narrow.

    Senior management often suspended kids, citing “threatening behaviour” when all they were really “guilty” of was fair criticism. Students who had broken rules to the extent where expulsion was required (and there were proportionally far more than any other school I have heard of) were coerced into leaving “as their own choice” so as to keep statistics looking better.

    The place would be the last place on Earth I would want my potential children to be “educated” (indoctrinated).

    • Recent Ex-Student says:

      Much as I believe your personal grudge against the school will never change (your style is instantly recognisable from previous rants) I’d just like to point out to you the incredibly high standard of academics. Sure, the percentage of students that go to university is low compared to music colleges, but every single student from my year met their academic requirements for the place they wanted to attend. That’s a rate most schools only dream of. Chets sends many pupils to top universities and only about half of those to read music. Economics, chemical engineering, drama, maths, physics, English, languages… Just a selection of other paths people have taken and continue to take. One girl is reading biochemistry at Oxford and this year’s upper 6th contains at least 3 students with places to study medicine at top universities, two of them at Cambridge. Pupils show year after year that those who put the effort in get good results at GCSE and A level, without sacrificing anything musically or socially..

      • “Much as I believe your personal grudge against the school will never change (your style is instantly recognisable from previous rants) ” – This is unpleasant and unnecessary language. What does it matter if this person’s posting style seems recognisable to you? There are many recognisable arguments and ‘styles’ here. So what? Why do you have to label the post a ‘rant’? It is not necessary to personalise things and attack people in this way.

        • former student says:

          I too believe I recognise the poster FormerChetsPupil and agree that the comments made are not representative of the situation.
          These comments are anecdotal, I believe this one to be skewed by the pupil in question’s grudge. For whatever reason this person feels the school failed them but he was in the overwhelming minority in the leaving year of 2011.
          And Gwen, while it might not be the most polite response I’ve ever seen it is no ruder than the original post which in addition to being angry and rude is also, I believe unrepresentative of how things were.

          • RecentFormerStudent says:

            What does it matter if you think you know who this poster is? That’s dangerously close to ‘outing’ someone on a public forum simply because you disagree with them.
            Surely even if you disagree with him (at least you’ve insinuated it’s a him), then he still has a right to air his views in an environment free of intimidation and personal attacks; even if it is the view of a minority, it still deserves a fair hearing.

            I absolutely understand that emotions are running high over this: I have a lot of time for some of what several current and recent ex-students are saying, and think that that perspective is necessary to counterbalance the negative media coverage. It’s very difficult for all of us to see the school which we recently left, or are still at, and which shaped us over an influential part of our lives, criticised so openly in public like this.

            However, I have to say I recognise a grain of truth in some (by no means all) of what FormerChetsPupil has said, even if I agree that the tone and some of the comparisons are over-the-top and inappropriate. Yes, it’s anecdotal, but so are the repeated insistences from various commenters that all is sunshine and roses in the Chets of today and that things must be 100% fine because they and their close friends had a good time there and did well. In fact the only things that are less than completely anecdotal in this whole sorry mess are the evidence presented in the Brewer trial, the findings of the ISI and MCC reports, and (presumably) the findings of the ongoing police investigation.

            The debate’s a valid one, and important to have, but let’s be civil, stop accusing people with whom we disagree of having grudges or ulterior motives, and respect the fact that everyone’s viewpoints and experiences are valid.
            If this doesn’t happen, I worry that people with possibly legitimate concerns and even perhaps important evidence of wrongdoing in the past may be intimidated into silence.

          • david owen says:

            former student: it seems to me that you are too impressed by the weight of numbers and by your own apparent mental and emotional stability. it is precisely the vulnerable minority which the child protection system is designed to protect. this whole situation has been provoked by revelations concerning the abuse of a very vulnerable person by a very ruthless one, who was presumably himself abused in some form or other at some time in his early life. this is if you like a ‘minority’ occurrence but that hardly reduces its significance. rather than seeking to shout down the voices of those who may seem less fortunate than yourself, you might do better trying to understand their feelings.

          • Anon. Pupil @ Chetham's School of Music says:

            Recent former pupil, when this former pupil left Chetham’s, he attempted [redacted for defamation and lack of proof]

          • It is all anecdotal

          • (people’s accounts of the school and their time there)

    • Current chets student says:

      I completely disagree with this view. I have found that all of my teachers are extremely helpful in trying to help me find a balance between my academic work and my music. The music department aren’t as ‘overpowering’ as you say they are. They make changes when necessary so that the students are happy – I have experienced this only this year.

    • AnotherChetsParent says:

      As a parent, I can say with some confidence that I have never been ‘brainwashed’ into believing that Chets is some kind of Utopia. No parent or student believes that. Thinking that parents are students are weak-willed individuals who can be easily brain-washed is hugely undermining their intelligence. As for a balanced education, and limited a-level options, yes, it is different to mainstream schools because it is a specialist music school. Everyone knows that before applying to the school, and surely that is a choice one makes. Did the A-level options really come as a surprise to you? But, despite that, academic staff is hugely supportive of capable, hard-working students in the choices that they wish to make after school. And, yes, a huge part of school life is negotiating musical and academic commitments- I see my child doing that everyday- but they would not have it any other way. It seems that people are now clutching at straws in finding anything that would help their case against the school.

      • Anyone can be brainwashed. While we are at it anyone can be bullied or abused. These phenomena tap into basic rules of human nature and do not only apply to a miority. being influenced by other human beings or social situations and cultures does not involve being weak willed. Also, more mildly, we all take on the values and norms of the circles we are exposed to to some extent and as social beings we are all very susceptible to each other and influenced by each other. There is no shame or insult in that concept.

      • Yes people are clutching at straws, not those who are worried about the school though, whose worries have been based on a lot of hard evidence rather than individual anecdotal accounts and slurs.

  15. Current Chets pupil says:

    I posted this on another page, but it looks like it would benefit from being here.

    As a current student at Chets, I can safely say that what is upsetting us is what we have seen on the news and read in blogs such as this. It has been a horrendous time for all those at the school who have had to experience the prolonged attacks on the school throughout Mike Brewer’s case, and I can only say that comments from members of the public on forums such as these (which have been shared through all social networks) have only increased the ‘pain level’ of our school.

    I will say that I have had significant ups and downs in my 5 years at Chets (through no fault of any staff member or student, before any twists are put on this), but the wonderful people at Chets have seen me through it all, and done everything that could have, and should have been done to help me. As any teenager would, I have in my experience as a boarder felt ‘trapped’ and restricted, but by no means is that strictly true. We must consider the difficulty of the job whereby a few adults are responsible for around 100 students, and cannot constantly be at our beck and call.

    When a large and serious problem does arise, the appropriate action is, to my knowledge, always taken. I have seen, witnessed and experienced many events when the staff have done completely the right and best thing for the student in question. So, through any small flaws the pastoral care have, the bigger picture is what everyone should be focusing on; the health and welfare of the students, which are most certainly adequate.

    To reiterate; for those saying that the school’s name is ‘damaged’ – yes, you are right. Mike Brewer certainly saw to destroying Chets’ name. But what is making matters so much worse is the number of desparaging comments on sites such as this, trailing our school and home through the proverbial mud.

    • Have you heard about the numerous other allegations, the two damning reports, the deadline given by the council and the large scale police investigation of alleged wrongdoing at the school? It is not just Brewer that is damaging the name of the school. People will discuss the situation on social media and the press will report and in the scheme of things this is neither here nor there and the least of the school’s worries.

  16. anotheranonpupil says:

    As a pupil in my fourth and final year at Chets, I can say with absolute sincerity that my time here has been better than anything I could’ve hoped for, and indeed better than anyone who is not a pupil might conceive possible. Throughout my studies, all across the board, I have felt encouraged and supported. But what is most important is that the emotional support offered by the school- and I would like to emphasise that this is largely from our excellent CPO and headmistress- has been of an extremely high standard. As a fellow pupil mentioned above, the accusations are all to do with paper work, and whilst this is naturally not unimportant, it falls short of actually covering the emotional well being of the students, for many of whom, Chets has utterly saved. It is impossible to find a perfect establishment, but on a truly humane level, Chets is as near to it as IS possible.

  17. Another anonymous pupil says:

    What has happened has happened. Clearly, there are issues to be addressed; no matter what we as pupils think, our school is legally obliged to comply to certain standards, and if they fail to meet those, then there is no arguing to be done. By implementing minimum standards, it is a level playing field for every school, and future issues (which should never happen again) can be dealt with much quicker.

    Child welfare (or lack of) is a growing concern in schools across the country, and, in light of the various child abuse scandals that Chetham’s has unforunately had to deal with recently, it was inevitable that questions would be asked. It is even more unfortunate that Chetham’s clearly wasn’t prepared for those investigations, and using the argument: ‘they didn’t give us enough warning’ is preposterous – a school should have the necessary policies and procedures in place at ALL times, and a school that attracts the level of public attention that Chetham’s does should always come out with flying colours. If is doesn’t, then who can blame the public and the media from attacking us – after all, the British tax payer is funding our school, and they are entitled to be concerned at the fact that their money is apparently not being spent wisely.

    That said, I feel some valuable points have been made by other students regarding a lack of representation of students by the media. Obviously left-wing newspapers such as the Guardian will snap up any opportunity to have a go at Private Schools and Institutions because it is in their nature. That’s why newspapers such as the Times have generally left us alone (or at least, reported objectively on the Court Cases, without speculating on Chetham’s outside of those investigations). People need to stop moaning about the Guardian becuase there is nothing to be done about it.

    However, I will gladly take sides with the hundreds of other pupils, ex-pupils, staff, musicians, benefactors, sponsors and supporters who rightly believe that Chetham’s is a different school today. For all that the media may have justly queried what our school is like, it is tragic that they overlook the fact that the Chetham’s of today is not the same as Chetham’s from the 1980s. I can say that without Chetham’s, I would not be half the musician I am today, and I would not have anywhere near the musical opportunity that I am blessed with. I consider myself lucky enough to have two of the best instrumental teachers in the world, and to be supported by one of the best teams of Academic and Pastoral Staff I have ever known. I believe that Mrs Moreland and her team will do everything possible to make amends for the mistakes that have been made, and I know that as a body of students we will stay together to give her all the support that she needs. Chetham’s is an amazing place today. We can’t change what the Media and the outside world will do, so let’s just make sure that we DON’T change what WE do – let’s continue to make the best music in the world, and be the best music school, and we WILL emerge from this as a better school. We can do it, but we have to acknowledge the past and stop trying to argue.

    • You make some good points, Anotheranonymous, and you are obviously trying to stand back from things slightly. One correction I would like to suggest: You say ‘who can blame the public and the media from attacking us’. I would like to suggest that nobody is being attacked, particularly not you and your fellow pupils. Also, sticking together is fine up to a point, but everyone needs to follow their own moral compass too and do what they think is right. Finally the school is more than any of its pupils, teachers, managers or governors. Just as patriots can have different views (for example on what their country needs, who should run it and how), so can different people who love Chet’s. Any rallying cry should allow for the possibility that there may be people who are unhappy and need to speak out, even to outsiders from the current Chets, and that is OK and not ‘unpatriotic’. Any rallying cry should also take into account that people’s opinions will differ on what is best for the school and its pupils and that is OK. Also please don’t completely discount all those who also love Chet’s but have concerns that need addressing right now from the ‘sticking together’. it does not seem unreasonable for all those who care about the school to be united against abuse and for the best interests of the school and its pupils, in fact to me that seems the most normal and reasonable thing in the world.

      • Anonymous Pupil says:

        I completely understand your points, and credit to you for making your corrections. I am open to the fact that many pupils, particularly former, feel let down by the school, and therefore it is important that they have their say too. I still feel, however, that Chetham’s as an establishment is done an injustice by media critics brushing off the idea that Chetham’s is very different today. Granted, most of the report was actually focussed on poor management of paperwork, reports, policies and procedures, but at least the staff are making an effort. I’m not defending them for one minute, because they have clearly messed up, but they are continuing to seek the best that they can for us a student body, and so it is important that we stand with that team and help them to cross this thin ice safely. Patriotism probably isn’t the best word to use when describing my stance, Gwen, but it is a case of uniting those who want to support Chetham’s, but being mindful of the hurt that Chetham’s, regarless of former, current, or future staff, have caused to many other pupils. They cannot be forgotten either.

  18. CurrentChetsStudent says:

    I am a current student at Chets and I just want to say that Chethams has given me the best possible start to my musical career possible. I am in my final year now, and will leave with such wonderful memories of this school.

    All this is about OUR safety and wellbeing, but it seems as if we are invisible. Listen to us, and you might see a glimpse of the truth…..

    I would also like to point out that our head, Mrs Moreland, is incredible. She is amazing at her job, but she is also an inspiring woman. She really does care, and if some of you would just listen to the students, you would start to see that. Every single student respects her, and some of you should start to as well.

  19. Are you all serious? People who are trying to make sure that children aren’t abused are being inconsiderate to pupils? All this stuff that’s just come out is just something that happened 20 years ago? Where do you get these ideas? How can you justify them to yourselves? It beggars belief. Very sad. Doesn’t say a lot for the school.

  20. 6thFloorCommonRoom2k12 says:

    I just logged onto my facebook to see over 20 posts by current students, ex-students and parents regarding today’s media storm, and in particular the response of this blog and its devotees.
    The tone of these posts was *unanimously* one of outrage, disgust and frustration, because our school is being grossly misrepresented. It is so clear to us that the allegations are blown out of proportion and that the suggestions of ‘senior staff considering their positions’ are completely uncalled for. The senior staff are enormously respected by the students, and continue to be throughout this ordeal, which is surely a mark of their competence.

    Also worrying is the way in which the positive statements in the report are ignored – ie, the vast majority of students are happy and feel safe.

    As for ‘the skies are darkening over Chetham’s’ et al: Mr Lebrecht, your sensationalism has caused a great deal of unnecessary upset, and I’d like to politely request that (if you insist on posting every last detail about Chets) you perhaps temper your tone and adopt a more neutral stance?

    • “It is so clear to us that the allegations are blown out of proportion” – With the greatest respect I wonder how this can possibly be so clear to you and how alleged victims must feel reading this.

      • Current Pupil says:

        Gwen, could you please tell me what knowledge you have of Chethams, and the running of daily affairs ? Or would I be correct in assuming that you think your an expert, because you happen to read the news? (I apologise if I am incorrect).

        It’s people like you who are intentionally are trying to damage the schools reputation. I am a student in my 5th year at Chethams, and I do not pretend that Chethams is a heaven. Many people dislike it, but it is important that we realize many people adore Chethams. In light of recent events however it is important that we all stand unified. These allegations were historic-however in the case of When Zhou Li, they are less so. I am one of many students hurt by these accusations and “personal attacks” in the managing of current affairs. Chets, is no model of perfection (as recently proved in these reports), but that does not mean it is a model of imperfection by any means. Furthermore, changes have to be made and the school needs to accept that and move forward as a community. But, as I have said before changes cannot be made overnight, and the outrage that has sparked as a result of yesterdays headlines implies that the school is the only school that has “failed” an inspection, which it is not.

        • Enough of the ad hominem attacks.

        • Current Student, you seem to be the one making personal attacks. I don’t see students or anyone being personally attacked. It really isn’t important that you all stand unified, now of all times. Frankly it is a worry if you think this and how you have come to think this.

        • You are incorrect. Apology accepted.

  21. ParticipatingBystander says:

    Shame how people won’t really care about this once the news papers don’t “care” about it. People who don’t really have anything to do with Chetham’s don’t really know what’s going on (no one does to be honest) and so they shouldn’t really be commenting on this issue for they aren’t very well informed, whatever those papers say. One simply cannot put a label on anything (especially an entire school) in the space of a couple of hours, speaking to only a small percentage of staff and student population.
    Concerning this blog post and comments, many of the above comments come across as somewhat biased, one way or another, people ought to really consider all the facts, the facts which they don’t know much about, and then make a well informed judgement on the matter… hmmmmm. Ultimately, these sorts of blogs along with all the commenting are needlessly damaging for the school for the over whelming majority of comments are, I think it’s fair to say, negative (I say “needlessly damaging” for what is the point of this blog? Haven’t the bigger news papers banged on about this story sufficiently? Perhaps you’re right, maybe they haven’t). Authors of these comments and this blog also seem to exhibit a narrow mindedness, not really listening to any other side of the story (which I can only imagine there is one or more) which is a shame because no one likes a biased critic on a subject they know very little about, but I suppose that is what social media and journalism essentially is. I know this is very much over simplified, but parents who are worried can simply take their children out and those that aren’t are obviously happy enough with the way things are. And for all the other people who like reading, I just don’t think you guys can really comment when all you know of this “Chetham’s story” is but a story to you.
    Gosh, I have far too much time on my hands…

    • Your point is unclear. You call yourself a bystander yet you think that the ‘negative’ comments, blog and press coverage are wrong and that those commenting are ill-informed and distant from the situation. As a bystander how can you know all this, on what basis would you have drawn all these conclusions and why do you care? It doesn’t make sense.

  22. Recent Ex-Student says:

    Having been a pupil at Chetham’s since the age of 14 and being part of a family very closely connected with the school for my entire life I would like to add my own comments to this tale in defense of the school I love. The reports showed that the percentage of students who feel safe in school and parents who feel that their children are safe in school are in their 90s. This is well above the average (apparently around the 84% mark, see this guardian article, 6th short paragraph http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/30/schools.uk1 ), and in my personal experience I always felt safe at Chetham’s. At my previous school I had faced bullying; the welcoming, friendly atmosphere of Chets, created and maintained by both staff and students, was an immense change of scene. Students are encouraged to look out for one another – prefects are given child protection training and sixth-formers can become ‘guardian angels’ to younger students. Nor are the concerns of students dismissed; house staff and pastoral staff are ready to listen to the concerns of pupils and react accordingly. The staff-student co-ordination is exceptional, student council meetings take place regularly and the prefect team has direct contact with the senior management staff. Chets is a small enough school that everyone knows everyone else. It is a real family and I think the number of positive comments from the students themselves speaks for itself. As has been said before (by Anonymous Pupil) the report seems primarily concerned with paper-pushing and lacks insight into the experience of the pupils. What I see from these reports are attempts by the ISI and MCC to cover their backs should any further cases come to light. I sincerely hope none will, and believe the school to be a safe place, but a report like this was always going to have to find something negative to say. Officials don’t want to risk saying something positive, instead placing huge emotional strain on students, staff and parents alike. I truly appreciate everything Chetham’s has done for me and know that many students and ex-students of my generation strongly agree.

    • Recent Ex Student, you seem to be suggesting that it enhances your insight being part of a family closely connected to the school all you life. This may not be the case. More data, more investment, less objectivity.

  23. Recent Ex-Student says:

    I would also like to add that the suggestion that students are posting anonymously to avoid punishment is ridiculous. Chets is a fair place and that suggestion has obviously come from someone who does not know the school very well at all, bar the smear campaign currently appearing in newspapers.

  24. Chets Pupil says:

    All this coming out now – but surely (for some of you), if your opinion of this school was really so low, you would have spoken out sooner?

    Get a grip, and please think about us for once – the kids at chets. The children who have to keep focused on our music, on our gcses, our a levels – this is hard for us, so stop ignoring us and having fun trying to distroy the school that we love.

    Believe it or not, but this is extremely difficult for us current students to deal with, and yes, chets isn’t perfect, but it is the closest to it imanigable.

    Think about us before you bombard us with these hurtful, negative comments.

    All for our good? Listen to us.

    • Chets Pupil: no-one is forcing any of you to read this blog on a regular basis.

      • Recent Ex-Student says:

        Ian Pace that’s a ridiculous thing to say and suggests that by ignoring something you can pretend it doesn’t exist, an idea this entire affair has been trying to fight. Students have access to media and the internet, it’s not something that’s easy to escape from in modern society. It’s a subject that is dominating the music world, the world the students move in. They have the right to read anything that is written about them and also the right to be vocal in expressing how distressing they find many of these comments. Frankly it’s commendable to the pupils and their school that they are willing to speak out in defence of it.

      • CurrentChetsPupil says:

        Actually we have a right to protect and defend the school we love which is a much more admirable reason for this than you Ian.

        • Concerned non-parent says:

          You have a right to make a logical and informed argument. So does Ian, who spent 8 years at Chets, who is a pianist and music lecturer (and therefore has an ongoing interest in musical education) and who is in touch with hundreds of alumni, parents and other musicians. This also puts him in a reasonable position to make such an argument. I’m afraid I don’t see why I should find your reason for commenting more “admirable”?

          • Chets Pupil says:

            Because this is all for OUR safety. – this is about the present now. We are living in Chets, in the present, Does that not stand for anything?

            All of this is ‘for us’ – but is it really?

            All these comments are doing is hurting current students. Some of you need to realise that.

          • CurrentChetsPupil says:

            Well we are defending a school we know to be brilliant whereas Ian is attacking a school that gave him so much and helped kick-start his career.

          • ChetsU62012 says:

            ‘So does Ian, who spent 8 years at Chets’… yes, DECADES AGO.
            Things have changed.
            The report is largely concerned with *poor paperwork*.
            It also says that a way above national average percent of students feel safe and happy.

          • It’s also a school which gave many others who were there at the same time as me years and years of chronic depression, self-harm, suicide attempts, zero self esteem, and internalisation leading to self-blame because of the actions of predatory or callous teachers, and the refusal of the institution to do anything to stop this.

            I did get quite a bit out of Chet’s, certainly. That is supremely irrelevant to the above.

          • Anonymous Pupil says:

            Much as I am on the side of the current pupils in defending Chetham’s, my school, I think we as a student group need to also appreciate other peoples’ arguments. For all that we say that we feel we have been unfairly treated here, many former students who may have quite horrible memories of Chetham’s may feel that they have also been neglected, and naturally they will speak their mind. Chetham’s has undeniably let many students down over many years, and although they absolutely do not do that now, that won’t stop other people from feeling angry that Chetham’s has still failed governement inspections.

            Trying to defend the staff and senior managment team is pointless, because saying ‘they haven’t done anything wrong’ is not true. They clearly have done something wrong, but what we need to emphasise is what they are continuing to do RIGHT. This way, people are more likely to see that Chetham’s can move forwards now.

          • Concerned non-parent says:

            So no-one who has attended the school has any right to criticise it? Interesting viewpoint.

            And this is all about current pupils (emphasised in your capital letters) and not at all about the many, many past pupils, including very recent leavers, who are still suffering from the aftermath of their experience at Chets? Is that siege mentality or just “me, me, me” culture?

            Might it not be worth discussing possible changes to musical education which might prevent some current (and indeed future) students from suffering similar damage to those who have been through the system in the past? Of course not, because you know for certain, definitely, absolutely, positively for sure that there is not a single unhappy person at Chets right now.

        • You have the right but it is not necessary as neither you nor the school you love are under attack. It is a shame that so many of you have some to believe this. It is only the management that is being challenged and called to account. Frankly, it seems that it is them and how they are dealing with things that pose the biggest threat to the school at the moment.

  25. Anon Chets Pupil 2k13 says:

    Literally, after being away on holiday for a few days, I log onto Facebook to find a huge number of posts about, in particular, this blog, so I decided to take a look.

    I hate to say it, but I’ve never been quite so upset at this; clearly, (to the people who are condemning/slating the school) you have no idea just how much this affects us, current students. I understand the opposing point of view (though I will not lie, I am incredibly unsympathetic), the stats/opinions/comments are over exaggerated and quite frankly statements from sources that have been twisted. I would quite like a school to come back to after the holidays, thank you very much, despite all your silly efforts to have the school shut down if action isn’t taken blah blah blah.

    From the very beginning of the ordeal, I have continually said, that these old allegations are indeed, old, they should bear no reflection on the current workings of the school. Honestly, I’ve never been happier. The staff are incredibly supportive, of course, some people find it difficult to adjust or decide Chets isn’t the place for them, but that’s the same as any other school, you cannot use child satifaction as an argument, as at any school, there will be some students that love the place and some who don’t. From what I’ve heard first hand from most students, Chets has changed their/our lives. I’m about to leave in 2 months, and honestly, I would not be where I am right now, off to a world renown conservatoire, without the support of Chets, the teachers, fellow pupils and the music department especially.

    The allegations are being blown out of proportion. The senior staff have done an amazing job dealing with the situation from what us pupils have witnessed. From the moment all the allegations began surfacing, the entire student body was sat down, and the situation was explained to us, how we should deal with it, and we were free to probe and ask any questions to do with the trial and how to deal with the media around school. I’m sure the staff were given the same talk, so as far as I can see, if the student body knew how to cope, the staff should too.

    My other issue with the report was that, they picked up on things like how lovely it is that there are ‘rotas’ and the students ‘know who is on duty’ at all times. If they are taking trivial things like that and highlighting them as important, then the ISI perspective is rather screwed.

    As for the parents, get a grip. My parents are fine, they understand the TRUTH as to how things are handled at Chets, and I’m sure if there was anything wrong with the school, then your child should have said something to you by now. If you have such an opinion of Chets, why is your child still there?

    The worst bit of the whole thing, is that, as I begin meeting new people that I will be at conservatoire with, I almost feel ashamed to say I’m from Chets. I SHOULDN’T. But why do I? Becuase of ridiculous blog posts like this, tainting the image of a brilliant school which has supported me over 3 years, through thick and thin. I’ve grown as a person, a musician and I have a group of friends who I can now call family. Please think about us students, and the way these posts, comments are affecting us! I’m sure I could go on forever with this comment, so I’ll stop here.

    I would like a school to go back to. Just stop and think about what you’re saying and how this feels for us. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now, I don’t think it’s fair that an event from 30 years ago should ruin that.

    • Please think of the victims

      • ChetsU62012 says:

        Yes, we should think of the HISTORIC victims, but we should also think of the CURRENT pupils who are attending a completely different Chets.
        Past and Present need to be separated.

        • You write that “we should think of the HISTORIC victims, but we should also think of the CURRENT pupils who are attending a completely different Chets” and that “Past and Present need to be separated”.

          There are at least two flaws in this argument. Giving due consideration to past victims does not of itself mean that those who do so ignore current pupils and the stigma to which their exposure to events has caused some of them to feel as though they are victims of another kind; however, you only have the school’s and certain of its present and recent past students’ word for it that the abuse and allegations of abuse are all in the long-distant past; we may know more about this one way or the other once the findings of the police investigation are published and, as that investigation is still proceeding, it would be premature to speculate.

          The subject is, with good reason, now a matter of national interest and by no means only on the part of those who happen to be music students or their parents. Past and present cannot be “separated” until and unless it can be proved beyond all doubt that there was an end date to all of this kind of behaviour some time ago and, to be fair to all concerned, we are not yet at the point at which such a conclusion can be regarded as anything other than mere optimistic speculation.

          I have already expressed my sympathy for current Chethams students who are each having to try to contend and come to terms with the emerged and emerging facts and their widespread ongoing publicity, as well as with the results of the two completed investigations, the ongoing police investigation and the DoE ultimatum, while trying to continue to pursue their musical and academic studies; that this is a deeply unenviable situation in which they find themselves is as self-evident as it is unfortunate. I am sure that I am far from alone in taking this position.

          That said, it is a sad situation indeed if nothing – even including due justice – can be done and seen to be done without some people interpreting it as attacks upon the institution itself and upon certain current members of its senior staff and governorship; even the DoE directive does not do this and its purpose, as I understand it, is to ensure that the issues are all fully understood and recognised and that due procedures be implemented to ensure a good future for the school and, if that is not deemed possible without the rolling of certain heads, then so be it, but even that does not of necessity constitute “attack” per se.

          • Anonymous pupil, I am glad that you are distinguishing between criticism of the management and criticism or attack of ‘the school’ and its students.

            Anon Chets Pupil 2k13, I am not glad but quite worried to hear that “From the moment all the allegations began surfacing, the entire student body was sat down, and the situation was explained to us, how we should deal with it, and we were free to probe and ask any questions to do with the trial and how to deal with the media around school.” Frequent special assemblies regarding developments have also been mentioned by another pupil somewhere. I wonder if all these intense mass pow wows have contributed to pupil distress and to the mistaken idea that many pupils seem to be harbouring that they and their school are being attacked and they must stand together against these attacks and close ranks against the attackers. Management should not be dragging pupils into their problems but should be sorting them out themselves and fighting their own battles (if that’s how they choose to view it). The last thing they should be doing when they are surrounded by allegations and concerns about abuse is telling pupils how to handle things or suggesting anything other that complete openness and transparency. They should not be creating a siege atmosphere where pupils feel obliged to be unquestioningly loyal to school management as if it is intrinsically linked with ‘the school’ and to fear for the school and to ‘fight for the school’. For whose benefit are these discussions, particularly discussions of how to deal with the media? Have the management acknowledged in these impromptu assemblies that the school can continue to function with or without them and that pupils need not be preoccupied with being loyal to them or trying to become their personal army? Have they emphasised over and above anything else that pupils should feel free to contact police with any relevant information they have pertinent to the investigation that is taking place? Have they encouraged pupils to be open and discuss things or to follow a party line? This is a school, not a cult.

  26. To all the current Chets students.

    HOW DARE YOU!

    You are accusing me of attacking your school when it has just been the subject of two rather damming reports.
    I have never asked for the scalp of any member of staff: indeed to the contrary I have stood up for you and the staff at your school that are doing an excellent job.

    I studied with former students who had been abused. I listened to them, comforted them and got them help. I was taught by staff from your school who were excellent.

    The Child Protection Policy has been found wanting. The Department of Education has spoken: not me personally, but the Department of Education.

    I want nothing more than this issue to be resolved satisfactorily for the good name of Chethams School of Music.

    I can appreciate this is a very difficult time, but please be careful precisely whom you decide to slate as like those who (in your mind) have been unjustly vilified, you are making presumptions that are inconsistent with the statements I have made.

    • CurrentChetsPupil says:

      My question is, why has nothing come out of inspection reports before now? Chets has always sailed through these reports with flying colours before now so why all of a sudden should all this negativity be brought up? My only reason for this is that the inspections have been clouded by the press and are trying to cover themselves should anything else come to light – although I’m sure it won’t I hasten to add. I also happen to know someone very close to victims, even closer to Frances so this is someone with the full story that couldn’t possibly come out in a court case, and even they believe the school to be a brilliant, safe and secure place to be.

      • I work as a Private Music Teacher.

        I do work in my own home, and I’ve had to devise a sensible Child Protection Policy based on advice from the ISM, and guidelines drawn up by the NSPCC, Musicians Union and ABRSM.

        I am also a parent, and did come into contact with at least one victim as a student.

        The comments are made because the sexual abuse of vulnerable young people is something that many people find very distasteful. That they were not evident before is due to the fact abusers are very good at covering their tracks.

        Child Protection Protection protocols change. There have been two reports published in the last ten years each with revised advice, each of which needed to be implemented.

        I hope this clarifies things.

      • “My only reason for this is that the inspections have been clouded by the press and are trying to cover themselves should anything else come to light” – That’s only one possible explanation.

    • Anon Chets Pupil 2k13 says:

      All we are saying is that these ‘damming reports’ do not reflect the truth of how things are at Chets at the moment. Although I haven’t seen all the comments on here, I don’t think anyone was personally attacking you (correct me if I’m wrong), but more these thoughts that Chets is an ‘unsafe’ environment.

      • I’m terribly sorry, but the ISI inspectorate disagree with you as does the Department of Education.

      • the truth as you know it…..thoughts that Chet’s has not yet satisfactorily proved itself to be a safe environment…..in both cases there is a difference.

    • A different Chets pupil says:

      Joanna, you say “be careful precisely whom you decide to slate”, but have addressed your comment to “all the current Chets students”.

      • At the time of posting, there had been a number of pupils who had made a number of rather sweeping comments.

        As much as any outrage is only directed to them, I stand by my original remark. Attacking me is to attack someone who does have your interests at heart.

        Please excuse me if I come across as a parent ‘telling off their own children’, but on the whole, the arguements I have heard from current pupils reminds me of them. They are, if not the same age, very similar in age.

        Much as I love them, my own children are not saints, and do not get everything correct. They are given short shift when they demonstrate impudence and indolence however logical as they also fail to appreaciate the spirit and context in which I have spoken.

  27. Steinway D says:

    Earlier this morning a scrolled down my facebook newsfeed, none of the posts I saw said of sadness and dissappointment, not through being neglected or abused but through what blogs like this are saying and what the recent inspection reports say. I understand that if the government say write everything on yellow paper and if chetswrite on blue paper in the eyes of the government the school is not managing to run itself properly. But it must be understood that when it comes to pastoral care chets seems to me to be very efficient. Certainly the head of my house (boys house) is very efficient and as a fellow pupil said on facebook our CPO is probably one of the hardest working people in the school that will always listen and will always act on a complaint or suggestion.I have noticed that parents and students think differently and students from differing backgrounds too but to me I have never felt scared, I have never felt neglected. Chets is my school and my ‘home’ and Gwen, I agree i’m not priviliged to go there but I am Happy.

  28. Chets Pupil says:

    We will not stop fighting for our school – you can all count on that.

    We love it and all that is has given us. We will continue to show support to our staff, and especially our headmistress, who doesn’t deserve to have to deal with half of what is going on.
    Do you not have anything better to do with your time than post useless things on here, which don’t help, but just continue to upset the current student body of Chethams.

    If your concerns were all so great, then why only speak up now? Convenience is all. Petty in my opinion.

    I love my school, and as I leave at the end of this year, will remember it as my home for four years. I would not be the person or musician I am today without that school and its incredible staff.

    No school is perfect, and not every student will be 100% happy the whole time, me included, but there is no need for this harassment. The past is the past and we cannot do anything about it, but show support to the people who were affected by it. Chets is a very different place now to what it was 20-30 years ago, and despite all these ridiculous comments stating otherwise, I stand by that.

    I am most certainly not the only person who shares theses views, as shown by some of the comments by current students already.

    Some of us are trying to enjoy the few last months we have at Chets before leaving to study at university/conservatoire. We are trying to get everything out of Chets that we possibly can before we leave, but some of you are making it very difficult for us. The majority of students at Chets are extremely happy, including me.

    Think before you rant, because we do exist. We are made to feel invisible by the media, but this blog gives some of us a chance to speak out, so don’t carry on ignoring us.

    Changes are being made – and I am confident that Chets will continue to flourish for many many years to come.

    • CurrentChetsPupil says:

      Brilliantly said. This is what the real chets is, a place that gives far more to students than most other schools, not some dark place where students are abused and oppressed. LISTEN TO US!

      • Those of us who are involving ourselves in ways so unwelcome to you do care about the students, ALL the students, sad ones, happy ones, vocal ones, quiet ones, etc. As far as i can tell we all care about the school too, and it is not us who have caused events to unfold as they have. No one is being harrassed, least of all the pupils, and the school is not being attacked. I am sorry if you have got or been given that impression. OK. I am listening now. What do you suggest we do then? It’s pretty clear that you don’t want the concern or involvement of anyone who doesn’t study or work there currently: Given the circumstances, what do you want to happen?

        • Another anonymous pupil says:

          Well said, Gwen. For all that us students may feel unfairly treated here, Gwen has a point. It’s not that people don’t care, but questions have to be asked.

        • CurrentChetsStudent says:

          I find it extremely hurtful, Gwen, that you are now saying we (the students) are not being harassed?! The school is not being ‘attacked’?! – How can you say this after seeing all the hurtful and negative comments we are being ‘attacked’ with on this blog and by the media!?

          I am a current student, and along with many of my fellow pupils, I can say that I feel like we ARE being harassed. Do not start to tell us how to feel, please. We try to defend what we KNOW about the school, and most of the comments here from people who have no direct link to the school, are based on rumour and the media.

          If you really care about OUR wellbeing, then why isn’t anyone listening to US!? the MAJORITY of students who study at Chethams now.

          It is getting ridiculous, and we are continuously being patronized, which is extremely fustrating.

          Changes are being made – they have to be, and we all know that, so why continue!? All you are doing is aggravating the students further, which, believe it or not, doesn’t actually do our ‘wellbeing’ that you are all so caring about, any good.

          We know the truth about the Chets that stands now – maybe one day you will all too……

          • CurrentChetsStudent: it is a category error to assume that criticisms of the running of the school amount to an attack on the pupils. I don’t believe anyone has been attacking the pupils from 30 years ago, so why should they be attacking those from now? You are not synonymous with ‘the school’, and you would presumably still be there following a change of management – which I do believe would be in all of your best interests.

    • Yes, it is important to think before you rant.

  29. That the cut-and-thrust of posts here, especially recent ones, is becoming as contentious as some of it seems to be is unlikely to help the case or the cause and may indeed help to do the very opposite. Without wishing further to turn a crisis into a drama, let’s first consider the dramatis personae.

    There are victims.

    There are abusers.

    There are those who receive reports of abuse and ignore or dismiss them.

    There are school students who never suffer abuse at school.

    There are school students who never encounter or hear about abuse in their school.

    There may also be school students who might encounter or hear about it but, rather like those adults who ignore or dismiss any claims about its occurrence, prefer to pretend that they know and have heard nothing about such activities.

    There are teaching staff who never abuse students.

    An abuser and his ex-wife have been convicted of abuse and given custodial sentences.

    There have of late been a number of past students coming forward with further allegations of abuse.

    OK, that’s the people; now the events.

    There have been two inquiries that have completed and reported, as well as a third, by the police, which remains in progress; doubts have been cast as to the thoroughness of the completed enquiries and the extent of co-operation with the ongoing police enquiry.

    DoE has now issued what looks to amount to an ultimatum.

    A full independent public inquiry has been called for to investigate abuse in music education establishments in general, not just at one such institution.

    There is little if any evidence to support allegations that some people have an agenda to see a music school or music schools being forced to close down as a consequence of proven or alleged abuse of their students.

    All of the above are facts – unsensationalised, unexaggerated and, in part, unwelcome in the extreme.

    It is obvious that not everyone will have the same take on what has happened and what is alleged to have happened; views on when such occurrences took place and how often will also inevitably vary.

    Whilst it is good to see current Chethams students supporting their school and seeking to assure everyone who might be interested that abuse at their school is a thing of the past, that alone is clearly insufficient to qualify as evidence that all is now well; if it were, one might reasonably assume that there would have been no need for the two investigations that have now completed – still less for the ongoing police investigation.

    The entrenched positions that some appear to be adopting will, as I have suggested, serve only to muddy the waters and make it harder to achieve due resolution, the learning of necessary lessons and a way forward that will ensure as far as possible that abuse of students in such schools really does become history.

    I do not expect anyone to do other than speak with the benefit of any experience that they may have, but I would be surprised if anyone who cares about the treatment of minors in educational establishments would regard the matters under consideration as very grave indeed, whether or not they have any first-hand experience of the subject.

  30. Chet's Pupil 'concerned' says:

    I would just like to add, whilst some of you claim to know what the school is truly like, from reading your comments you could not be further away from the truth! Chet’s has been my home for almost 8 years now and i have never regretted any choice i made to stay.
    Not only are the students some of the most talented in this country but they are also incredibly proud and hard working, and so they ought to be with the musical results which come flowing from the school on a daily basis.
    My question to any ‘concerned’ parent is why have you not taken up your complaints with the school? You simply then are neglecting your child and are being a hypocrite. The school has throughout the court case kept both parents informed and most importantly they have treated students with the utmost respect and care when speaking to them about thee case, not in a patronising way like some of you are doing now, but in a way which assures the pupils that they are the main priority and the sole reason for the school to carry on.
    Every assembly there has been announcements to keep us informed of the goings on, not in a bias way at all, as well as that there have been 2 emergency last minute whole school meetings where the situation has been clearly explained to everyone and help offered to any of those in need.
    [redacted]
    So to finish, to any ‘concerned’ parents if you wish to do your job as a parent, phone this number for the school: Mrs Claire Moreland (0161 838 7214) and don’t post your problems on a blog which will help NO ONE. And to Norman and all the other people on this blog, i challenge you to come into Chet’s in person and find me the names of 10 people who feel unsafe and insecure thanks to chets, you won’t find that many i promise you! Chet’s has its problems, sure it does, so does every other school, but not only will the staff but the students as you have seen will continue to fight to make it an even happier and safer place for music to flourish in!

    • OK, enough. We have received comments from several pupils at the school saying how perfect it is. They are becoming repetitive. This site exists for adult discussion of serious issues. We welcome posts from Chet’s pupils provided they have something new to say. The above post from SD has been redacted under the rules to remove false information and personal abuse. Can everyone now please get back to their work.

      • Chets Pupil says:

        Sorry – adult discussions?

        Some of us are adults I have you know, and for us this is a serious issue too, since it is OUR school, OUR home, OUR lives that are being slated.

        Our views matter too – and that is why we are being so persistent – because we don’t want to be invisible anymore.

        • You are welcome to post, so long as you have something new to add.

        • If you choose to call it slating, it is not YOUR school, YOUR home or YOUR lives that are being slated. It is the way that the school is being managed that is being called into question and it is the wider issues of abuse and neglect in music education that are being discussed.

      • Anon Current Chets Pupil says:

        So Norman, what you are implying is that the views of the current pupils at Chethams, the students that study and live there, are of no importance. That the views of the people that experience what it’s like every day are of no or little consequence compared to the view of the ‘adults’, the majority of whom have nothing to do with the school!!! You’re trying to close the door in our faces and say this is none of our concern?

        Funnily enough that’s is exactly the sort of behaviour towards children and young adults that you and others like you are accusing our school of. However from my experience at Chethams, I have never attended a school that cares so much for its students views! Before I came to Chets I attended a school, with not so many more pupils as Chets, but with a terrible atmosphere where the staff barely knew the names of the majority of students. Students were not given a voice, or a chance to develop as a person or an opportunity to let their views be known. The exact opposite happens at Chethams!! Every day I see how the staff care about the students welfare and views. Chethams gives us a voice. I have never been happier anywhere.

        Of course there were problems in the past, no-one is denying that. But please don’t punish the present student and staff body for that. We are posting here to defend the school we love and to stick up for what we know to be right!

        • This bears no relation to what I wrote. Your response is borderline hysterical.

        • You are not the only contributor here to refer to the “hurt” being done to current Chethams students by the current situation. Whilst I have every sympathy for the school’s current students at this most unpleasant time, they must be told, repeatedly, that the reason that they should not – and have no earthly reason to – feel personally “hurt” by it or by investigations into it or such media coverage of it as can be relied upon is that NONE OF IT IS THEIR FAULT! Of course it’s terrible for those studying there now that all of this is going on around them, but that’s no reason to discourage or frown upon proper investigations or to try to be in, or encourage, the kind of denial that manifests itself in an attitude of “but this all happened before I was born”.

          • david owen says:

            that is well said, Alistair.

          • One of the reasons that pupils may be thinking that some of these things are indeed their fault might come from the ‘all in it together’ mentality emerging from the top. No – the current pupils are not responsible for the failings of the head, other senior management, or governors. The pupils deserve better than them.

          • If that is indeed the case – the “all in it together” syndrome (don’t even think to get me started on that!) – then I can only say that I feel deeply sorrowful about this, not least because it is so obviously inappropriate and profoundly damaging in its inappropriateness.

            It is a very sad fact of life that the current students, whatever their experiences may be, are having to live with and through all of this without the possibility of having any control over it. Apart from expressing my great sympathy with this, all that i can do is, once again, to try to commend patience and pragmatism on their part in the hope that, once all that has to be done has been done successfully, Chethams will once again be able to hold its head up high as an institution that provides fine music teaching and at the same time cares fully about those for whom it provides it and will not let them down over either.

          • Likewise, I agree.

      • Chets pupil anon says:

        Ok Norman, so you say this is for adult discussions but if I end up 70 odd and arguing with 16 year olds I would start looking for something else to do with my time.
        I am a pupil at chets and I am proud to go to this school, and to the 6 percent of pupils who don’t feel safe at this school it’s your choice to go to this school and would you please just let the 94 percent who are perfectly happy at this school got on with our education.

        • No-one, least of all me who is nowhere near 70-odd, is arguing with schoolchildren. It is the pupils at Chet’s who are picking the fights. Now stop it.

          No further posts will be accepted on this topic unless posted under the person’s full name.

        • CPA, nobody is stopping you from getting on with your education. Us oldies are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we refused to engage with you or debate with you, presumably we would be being patronising or making you invisible as has been suggested elsewhere. Incidentally, seeing as we weren’t born yesterday, we are aware of what is going on here.

        • david owen says:

          Chets pupil anon: I truly hope that your attitude is not shared by the majority of your fellow pupils. It’s OK to feel upset and angry about what has happened, but you are directing your anger towards the wrong people. The problem is not the 6% who are unhappy but those in charge of pastoral care at the school who may not have been paying sufficient attention to their unhappiness, as suggested by some of the less positive postings here to which I assume you object. In the callousness you seem to display towards this minority you are only contributing to the problem. Yes, its scary to see that people can suffer in ways that can be hard to understand and this scariness doesn’t go away as you get older, but it’s a reality of life, and if you are going to deal with emotional problems (other people’s or your own) by telling them to shut up and go away while you get on with things you’re going to have a hard time of it. I’m not 70 but I’m old enough to know that much. Not an argument but a word to the wise.

      • A different Chets pupil says:

        Mr Lebrecht, you refer to “several pupils at the school say[ing] how perfect it is”; I assume you aren’t referring to the above conversation when you say this, because not once (in the above) has the word ‘perfect’ been used by a pupil to describe Chet’s, in fact there are numerous comments by pupils specifically saying that the school is not perfect – this means that, in this conversation, the introduction of the word ‘perfect’ to describe the school is completely your doing. This, coupled with your ridiculous suggestion of different degrees of perfection (you say “…how perfect…”), makes what you have said sound rude (bitchy), arrogant, and, above all, very childish. Earlier you raised the issue of ad hominem attacks, yet here you exclude people (who know the school first-hand) based on who they are (or how old they are) rather than what they have to say. I do appreciate that you then say that the issue is pupils not having new things to say, but I don’t think we could pretend that the all the adult postings on here are completely refreshing, and saying “the site exists for adult discussion of serious issues” was unnecessary, patronising and (most importantly) childish.

    • YetAnotherChetsParent says:

      Many of us have attempted to raise concerns with Claire Moreland and the governors at Chet’s but have been ignored. That’s why parents are posting here. You’ll take it as patronising but you just don’t see these things unless you are directly involved. (And, fair enough, as parents we don’t see some of the positive experiences you have as students.) Ask yourself why parents and former students would bother with all of this. Why would we want to damage our children’s school? Why would we want it shut down? Answer: we don’t, but the school is not listening to our concerns so we have to raise them publicly.

    • As I mentioned, these emergency assemblies are a worry and are hardly going to contribute to a calm and stress free atmosphere. It is only an emergency for certain members of school management, not ‘the school’ or the pupils. It is hard to imagine things not being explained in a biased way I’m afraid.

      • David - student says:

        You don’t know the content of these assemblies. If students werent given necessary information, rumour would run wild. They need to know how to deal with the media. These assemblies are standard practice and I know similar things have happened at conservatoires involved. Give the woman a chance would you. It seems she cannot win…

  31. If the current situation at Chethams is all sweetness and light to the extent that the activities that have – and have been alleged to have – taken place there are all very much in the past, I’m sure that we would all be delighted. I do not claim to have any first-hand evidence that this is not the case; however, if it is the case, could such a cultural sea-change have occurred without the issues being fully addressed and disciplines implemented to ensure that the likelihood of any repeat of the past incidents be reduced to as near zero as is possible? It is not easy to see how. I therefore ask that current students at Chethams who feel very positive about what they get from the school and are convinced that nothing of what’s under discussion here occurs in the school today just step back for a moment and consider how and when such a fundamental overhaul of the ways in which the school deals with such matters might have been implemented.

    In asking this, it occurs to me that, had this kind of thing indeed been permanently removed from the conduct at the school, it would seem reasonable to assume that the two now completed enquiries would have picked up on this and found ample detailed evidence fully to corroborate it, but the two reports do not do this.

    Finally, I urge anyone who might still be tempted to do so to cease and desist from accusing Ian Pace of “attacking” his alma mater; he is doing nothing of the kind and all that he has done and written recently on the subject suggests to me – and, I’m sure, to many others – that he actually cares very much for what happens at Chethams and for the school’s future success, otherwise he wouldn’t be bothering; he does have other things to do, after all.

    • It is possible to make a case for why every single ‘stakeholder’ group that has ever contributed to this discussion has no right to comment, can’t know what they’re talking about, must be biased in some way or must have ulterior motives. For example,

      Ian is ungratefully biting the hand that feeds him (as are any other successful musicians from the school)
      Ex-pupils who didn’t succeed in music are just bitter and holding a grudge / settling an unreasonable score.
      Ex-pupils who were abused are just damaged and acting out about something that wasn’t the school’s fault (was probably theirs in some way) or could happen at any school.
      Pupils who weren’t abused have nothing to complain about (nor do their parents)
      Pupils who are still there and happy are ungrateful if concerned and should shut up (so should their parents)
      Pupils who are there and unhappy (and their irresponsible whining parents) have themselves to blame and should shut up and leave the school
      Ex-pupils who didn’t pursue music don’t understand or care about music and music schools
      People who aren’t directly involved in the music world don’t understand or care either and it’s none of their business
      Inspectors only care about trivia, are influenced by the media and are only covering their backs
      Media people are only out to get a good story regardless of the truth and are all mischievous and dishonest

      Oh, and everyone expressing concerns is involved in a vindictive smear campaign!

      Talk about smear campaigns….

      Have I missed anyone? Well, suffice to say, it would be quite possible to create a case for why everyone, including those putting forward the above views, are biased and are arguing for the wrong reasons.
      As i don’t want to play that game I will end it here.

      • It is possible to make such cases, yes – but not to make credible cases. I’m no more interested in playing that kind of game than you are, which is why I tried to present a few facts as pragmatically as possible in the perhaps forlorn hope that some of those case-makers (blessèd are the case-makers?) might consider stepping back a little to consider that many people with different involvements or none at all in this issue are entitled to express views on it but that expressing them is not indicative of any kind of hate campaign against any persons or institutions but purely as a consequence of their personal concerns and in the interests of ensuring that whatever has to be done to put matters right for the future is done.

        Of course there is no “smear campaign”! Does anyone in his/her right mind want to see specialist music education establishments being forced to close? I have no evidence that a single person does.

  32. david owen says:

    Some pupils and parents of pupils at the school seem to feel that Chetham’s is under attack, and not just any old kind of attack but one that is gratuitous, sadistic, conducted just for the ‘fun’ of it, for the political gain of ‘left-wing’ interests, the career profit of cynical journalists, the entertainment of a jaded public, or the settling of old scores. All of this, while understandable, has a rather paranoid quality. It is really too bad for current pupils that they are caught in the eye of this storm. I think everyone can understand what a challenge it is to someone’s sense of security and self-esteem for the institution with which they inevitably must identify to have (shall we say) its weak points relentessly scrutinised. But it’s important to see that this does not constitute a personal attack on them, however much it may feel like it. It also does not justify the aggression some are showing towards those with whom they take issue, an aggression which they presumably feel is called for in order to match the attack they feel under themselves.

  33. Student at Chet's says:

    I find it sad that the only picture the majority of the nation will have of life at Chet’s is the completely negative portrayal constructed by the media. There are problems with the school, yes, however these can be addressed and I have confidence that the management team will be doing their best to improve the situation. I think it’s unacceptable that the media are allowing this incomplete impression of Chetham’s to be created, and the sensationalized approach which many writers are taking is unnecessary (but sadly representative of how the press operate).

    If this much publicity is to be given to the school then I think it’s only right that the public are given an insight into what Chet’s really is like, because – judging by a lot of the comments on this page – people just aren’t aware. In actuality the school is a friendly, open and accepting environment (much more so than I have experienced in any other school). The creative and exciting atmosphere makes it a delight to study here, and to be surrounded by such talented students and supportive staff is, I feel, a real privilege. The ‘New Building’ – the state of the art, wonderfully light and well equipped new addition to the premises, where all tuition, both instrumental and academic takes now place, has neglected to have been presented in the media. (Of course, this would be too positive, and using the old Victorian building gives the campaign a much more menacing facade.)

    Comments have been made about students’ aggression on this blog. I would suggest that what is perhaps being interpreted as ‘aggressive’, even ‘hysterical’, is a justified response to the extortion of reality that, as students, we have been subjected to in the media of late, and is representative of how happy most of the students are. I find it distasteful how student opinion has been belittled on this blog. If we feel safe and happy in our community, as has been iterated many times now, I think it should be taken seriously, and not be followed by the response ‘some of its students remain in denial’.

    I’m of course not denying any of the allegations against the school, however I think that a more balanced portrayal of modern life here is in order.

    • Concerned parent says:

      It really is irrelevant that there are current and just past Chets students who feel the school is wonderful, they had a wonderful time, Mrs Moreland etc are wonderful and everyone who says otherwise is wrong and acting from ulterior motives. The fact is that two separate authorities have inspected the school and found it hugely wanting (yes – when there are one or two paperwork slips it is plausible to talk about bureaucratic obsessionalism missing the point about quality of care but not when there are the quantity that Chets were found guilty of coupled with plenty of anecdotal accounts of specific lapses in pastoral care and ongoing emotional abuse by instrumental teachers which are now parrt of the enquiry by Greater Manchester Police – I know this because GMP told me so) and to cap it all the Department for Education has now stepped in.

      As a parent with extensive experience of the school and its management – and extensive experience of trying to get them to listen and deal with pastoral and musical issues in the way that other high-flying schools do – I have to say I find the response of current and past students on this blog extremely depressing. It shows all the weaknesses of groupthink – ignorant, irrational and bullying – and I am quite sure that some of the excellent academic teachers would be horrified to see their students contributing to public debate in such a way.

      I know that some of these contributors – who do not have the guts to use their real names here even though they are so confident of their opinions and presumably only have approval to gain from the authorities at Chets – have been orchestrating a counter PR campaign on Facebook. This is the result of increasingly shrill attacks on anyone who criticises Chets by fb Chets friends, which has all the qualities of a lynch mob. This is yet another regrettable indication of the lack of leadership and credible authority by the school’s management.

    • david owen says:

      Student at Chets: you don’t need the media or this blog to provide the sense of balance that you feel is missing from the picture. Chetham’s has a world-class reputation which before now has apparently had no compelling reason to be publicly questioned, but now the reasons are there, and hence the questioning. i’m afraid you’re just going to have to accept that the school’s reputation is not what it was a few weeks ago, and that this isn’t necessarily altogether a bad thing, however it may seem. this unyielding insistence on the positive aspects of your experience will unfortunately only tend to reinforce some people’s impression that all is not as well as it might be.

  34. Chet's pupil says:

    All through the day I have been watching closely both on this blog and on social media on how this discussion had unfolded. The common thing that has struck me is the great misunderstanding: Chet’s pupils, I know you like me are immensely proud of the school and are deeply saddened to see its good name dragged through the mud, but these people are not wanting to argue against the school. Non Chet’s pupils/parents: we know you are concerned or the school and your children and also know how you realize that the pupils themselves are not the fault and are very well educated on all the issues both current and historic to do with the school. So why don’t you just all sit back, take a look at all that’s been said and notice the points you have missed. Endlessly arguing on here is not going to do anyone any favors, parents if you have a problem you must follow it up in the proper standard routes, students if you have issues with this blog you must again take it up with the standard well known routes. So please, stop arguing, we all want to see the changes happen at Chetham’s in order for the education and opportunities to carry on making some of the worlds greatest musicians.

  35. AcademyJZ says:

    I have been reading this discussion with great interest and feel that both sides to this argument have raised fair points. With regards to people complaining that students at Chetham’s experience “chronic depression, self-harm, suicide attempts and zero self esteem” I challenge you to find schools that don’t have these problems. Just because it hasn’t become front-page news doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Perhaps we should focus on solving issues specific to Chetham’s and not all schools. During my nine years at Chethams I saw some of the issues that were brought up, but also heard from friends from other schools of these problems being 10 times worse at their schools. From an insiders perspective I could never deny that the school put a great deal of effort into trying to help their students when problems arose (I’m sure no-one could deny the head of boys house was particularly well known for that).
    I found Chet’s a great place to study with extremely supportive staff in all departments, and was given a great deal of guidance and support while I was there.

  36. I would like to add a small comment. Abuse of any kind, is ultimately secretive. Just because a number of students say “everything is fine” does not mean there are not others who are suffering abuse. The fact (and it is a fact, as shown by the reports) is that the school does not have adequate procedures in place to guarantee that every single student is safe. So to say that everything is wonderful at the school, and that everyone is happy, completely disregards the possibility that someone else could be suffering. I would like to say to the students who seem to be basing their positive opinions solely on their own experiences, that if one of your friends was being abused, you in all likelihood not be aware of it. Unless the school has clearly implemented policies in place, you are not dealing in facts.

  37. Eleanor Sherry says:

    It is not fair for you to refuse to post our views without leaving our full name. It is our right as children under 18 to keep our identities private should we wish to do so.

  38. Eleanor Sherry says:

    Seems a bit biased that one can choose which comments can be shown and which can not. Clearly some people are scared of having views shown which contradict their own. Certain people have the power to modify what people read to what they want to see themselves, not looking at anyone in particular.

  39. No connection to anyone says:

    Any good independent school with clear and thorough safeguarding policies will urge it’s pupils to refrain from commenting about the school on public forums, social networking sites and blogs, particularly in the face of adversity. Moreoever, they will usually contact parents in writing via email or other means to seek their assistance in enforcing the school policy.

    I presume from the number of Chet’s students posting on this blog and facebook that there has not been any such communication from the school to students and parents? There are many ways that a school can fail to meet expectations r.e. safeguarding – it’s not all about abuse. Perhaps that is something that needs to be taken into consideration?

    Surely now that the reports have come out then guidance and support can be provided to the current administration to ensure that all staff receive training on appropriate safeguarding and senior management support on writing and implementing the appropriate safeguarding policies? These reports need not be a negative thing!

  40. Anon (former student) says:

    I have read all of the above posts and feel compelled to comment. I was at Chetham’s for 7 years, worked hard, had a great time, met fantastic friends, and was provided with the inspiration, confidence and skills to enable me to pursue the life I wanted. I was very lucky and I wish the school well. I respect the current pupils commenting on their desire to protect Chetham’s, but they must realise that they cannot account for every single pupil of the school- how can they be so sure that everyone feels the same and that history is not going to repeat itself? During my time at Chetham’s there was always a handful of pupils suffering from depression, eating disorders, self-harming and alcool / drug abuse. People may argue that this is the case in any institution, but looking back now as an adult I feel saddened by the fact that, in most cases, a blind eye was turned towards these children who were vulnerable and far from home. One of the things that has been so desperately sad about the Brewer case is that Frances Andrade didn’t feel able to speak out about the abuse sooner, no one had noticed or acted on it at the time, and that she lived her life carrying such a terrible burden. I’ve heard so many people call this a witch hunt but it really isn’t. The school needs to sort itself out properly for the sake of its students and teachers alike, and I think that this degree of press coverage and investigation is possibly what’s needed to jolt them into action.

    To those current pupils worried about the reputation of their school, people comment on these blogs because they have strong feelings about what has gone on, past and present, and many of them are Chet’s alumni or have direct connections with the school. We all have the right to express an opinion, and that’s all anyone’s doing. You are lucky enough to have the power to help Chet’s retain its brilliance and rebuild its reputation, so the best thing you can all do is to keep practising and to enjoy every minute!

  41. I wonder what constitutes a ‘lapse in pastoral care’. Since I’ve been a student at Chethams (7 years) I don’t think I’ve ever come across any mishaps in management in this respect.. the designated CPO is an open, respectable and above all caring lady and these qualities can equally be applied to the many of the housestaff. Or perhaps I and many of the other students are somehow thick-skinned and naive to these apparently obvious ‘flaws’.. did thry find any instances of inappropriate behaviour in today’s staff?..well perhaps the inspectors might care to look at many other schools around the country.. at least at Chethams one needn’t worry about being beaten up by or harassed or as staff they dont have to worry about their tires being slashed or being ‘told where to go’ by students. Sort of seems like they’re teaching us pretty well to me but maybe i’m not sensitive enough and need further protecting as I’ll be given plenty of that in the big wide world.

  42. One of the things that struck me about a large amount of posts from current students is this:

    They follow a general trend where despite evidence to the contrary, the posters feel duty bound to defend their schools policy re Child Protection.

    I have two children of secondary school age, and looking back on how I thought at a similar age, I don’t think I’d have sufficient knowledge and emotional maturity to know what a good Child Protection Policy was at that age, and I know that my own children would not.

    Now to make things clear, neither my own children or me are exactly what you would call ‘people of sub-normal intelligence’ to the contrary, it is known we are, and in my case then was one of the ‘smart cookies’. It is simply that my life experiences meant, like the vast majority of young people, I lacked the knowledge and experience needed to know what was needed.

    Either these “Chetham’s Pupils” are so competent that they should be running the School, on the senior management team and governing body, or, as is more likely, they are as naive as the average young person is at their age.

    My knowledge over what constitutes a decent Childcare policy has come with being responsible for young people, being a parent, and working as an Instrumental Teacher.

    I read extremely quickly, yet still able to glean imformation at that rate from the material I have read. I demonstrated that when I wrote my undergraduate dissertation, and continue so to do on a regular basis.

    In order for these young people to be ‘such experts’ they would need to digest an amount of material that would seriously detract from their studies and their instrumental practising.

    I’m sorry it does not compute to the extent that I do wonder whether there is some one at Chets prepared to turn these young people into sock-puppets.

    If this is the case, then it is as despicable as previous acts, as this is mental manipulation, which in its self is a form of child abuse.

    Please note, all of this is a matter of conjecture. I have not accused anyone per se of anything… however if the cap fits…PLEASE STOP.

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