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Chetham’s: What we are doing now….

Amid a welter of fresh media reports, Claire Moreland, head of the troubled music school, has circulated the following statement to parents:

 

moreland

 

Statement by Chetham’s School of Music – 8th May 2013 Following recent media reports about police investigations into allegations of abuse at Manchester music institutions, we issue the following statement to attempt to help clarify Chetham’s position. We have been in regular contact with Greater Manchester Police throughout Operation Kiso, the official name for the police’s wide-ranging investigation into allegations of abuse. The Operation focuses on Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), but also includes investigations into events occurring outside of these two music institutions.  When we contacted the police earlier on today they confirmed that they are currently investigating 39 individuals (some deceased) as part the Operation and that not all of these individuals taught at either Chetham’s or the RNCM. We would like to reassure parents that while the recent media reports reflect a greater level of detail about the investigations, they do not contain any developments concerning Chetham’s that we were not already aware of. We continue to offer the police our assistance with their enquiries. The trial and conviction of Michael Brewer, a former teacher at our School and the subsequent police investigations raised serious and important issues. In terms of actions being taken by the School, whilst the recent inspection reports by Manchester Children’s Services and the ISI found that our students felt safe and happy, they identified a number of weaknesses in our safeguarding processes and procedures. We are addressing these as a priority. Many of the changes have already been implemented and we are working with the Department for Education and Manchester Children’s Services on this. A detailed Action Plan has now been submitted to the Department of Education for approval.  Key initiatives included in the Action Plan include: – Introduction of a safeguarding sub-committee of the Governing Body tasked with oversight of all safeguarding at Chetham’s – Appointment of experts to a safeguarding commission which will oversee and advise on all aspects of safeguarding – An annual independent audit of our safeguarding policies and procedures – Opportunities for additional parental engagement – a new ‘parents’ extranet forum’ and ‘parent governor’ participation on the Governing BodyMuch of the Action Plan has been formulated with a view to developing safeguarding best practice in the sector and to ensure that both students and their parents have an even stronger voice within the School.Our responsibility, as a School, is to ensure that our young musicians have the facilities and resources that they need and can thrive in a safe and supportive environment. We are extremely proud of our School which we believe makes an invaluable contribution to the community and the musical life of the nation. However, the safety and happiness of our students is, and always must be, our top priority.

© Copyright of Chetham’s School of Music <http://www.chethams.com/. Registered Charity No. 526702

 

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Comments

  1. Concerned Parent says:

    I wish someone would get it through to the Chets management and governors that the current crisis is not a PR problem which can be fixed with carefully-worded statements. As with all their recent statements, this one contains a number of no-nos:

    1. Chets management still appears to be playing catch-up. They look as if they have been caught on the hop by the news in the media and from GMP – blank assertions to the contrary have the opposite effect. Either they have been deliberately concealing information from parents and misleading them into thinking the problem is no bigger than they say it is at a given moment OR they genuinely haven’t had a clue as to the size of the problem (the number of allegations, victims and possible perpetrators) and continue to be unable to believe that such things could happen at Chets. Neither conclusion inspires confidence in the ability of the present leadership to deal authoritatively with the crisis, or improve their safeguarding in practice.

    2. Chets continue to play down the scale of the problem, emphasizing that the numbers do not all refer to actual living and teaching Chets staff. This may well be true but it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth – how many abusers at Chets are acceptable then? Doesn’t the management realise the ramifications of the Brewer case? They cannot be confined to one bad egg and one dead victim – Brewer abused multiple pupils, plenty knew about it and were traumatised by the knowledge and plenty of adults at the school in positions of responsibility knew, or were told about it, at the time or after, and failed to act. Some of these people still hold positions of authority at the school today, and are leading lights in the school’s new-found mission to become sector-leading in safeguarding.

    3. The worst aspect of (2) is that there is still no acknowledgment by the school’s leadership of the enormous suffering abusive teachers have caused, and the enormous damage that has been done to Chets students (and their families) for decades. The two inspection reports, and the multiplying accounts of horrible experiences which are now coming out, make clear that this suffering was not confined to one or two “historic” or dead victims, but is ongoing, among both current and former students.

    The Chets management, governors and feoffees have shown themselves incapable of facing up to the moral responsibility continuing revelations of abuse demand. The longer this PR-speak continues, the less parents, pupils and alumni are convinced that the deep-rooted reform that needs to take place will occur.

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