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Coming up on Channel 4 News: Sex abuse in music schools

The main item on Channel 4 News at 7 pm tonight, barring unforeseen accidents, will be an in-depth investigation by a dedicated reporter into allegations of sexual abuse by teachers in British music schools. The report, we are told, extends far beyond Chethams, where the police inquiry continues. Watch, or record. The lid is being lifted on a generation of silence.

UPDATE: The reporter, Ciaran Jenkins has just tweeted: New allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour span four decades & implicate ALL FIVE elite music schools in the scandal.

2nd UPDATE: Nigel Kennedy speaks of what he saw at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

First reactions here.

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  1. Beaumont says:

    When many years ago the lid was blown off the truly disgusting cases of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church I was asked my opinion of / reaction to these facts by an English acquaintance. I said that if we’re lucky, if we are really, very, I mean veeeery lucky (and especially if children are very, very, veeeery lucky), child abuse only happens in Church institutions.
    It seems that children who are looked after by institutions are not very lucky.

    Clever commentators of a certain political bent of course blamed the Church’s institutionalised misogyny, hierarchical structures, conservativism bordering on the fascist, etc etc.

    After the same things obviously happened in state institutions (e.g. Viennes municipal children’s homes), the German Odenwald Schule (supposedly the school of what referred to itself as ‘the better Germay’), and British music schools, I would now like to know not only how/why such things could happen, but also why nobody spoke up.

    Especially among those liberal, free-speech, lets-make-a-new-world crowd who were so full of themselves in their disdain for what had gone before and were/are so quick to criticise individuals for not standing up and protesting in far more dangerous circumstances.

  2. Jacob Lund says:

    As a former pupil of Chetham’s, it is good to see that a long-standing culture of utterly inadequate child protection is finally coming to light in relation to specialist music schools in this country. I have no doubt that the current heads and governors of these schools are well-meaning in their attempts to improve safeguarding; I also strongly suspect – and here I merely register an opinion – that there shall be further charges brought against music teachers other than those already facing legal proceedings.

  3. Thank heavens the lid is being lifted.

  4. John Millner says:

    Well done Channel Four News and Ciaran Jenkins for broadcasting these very moving personal stories.

    Rather telling that Claire Moreland, headteacher at Chetham’s, chose to email parents 15 minutes after the report finished with a statement that includes this:

    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. As part of meeting this need, last year we opened a brand new school building, with award-winning practice, performance and academic facilities.

    Umm… what? Why does the head think this is relevant or appropriate? Here’s an idea: instead of complaining that your press statement wasn’t read out in its entirety or going on about your building projects why not express a little sympathy for the men and women whose lives have been damaged and who have shown extraordinary bravery in speaking openly about their experiences? Oh, I forgot, *you* are the victim. Silly me!

  5. Sad news? Elation at Channel 4 supporting and The Guardian reporting 29 music teachers in one city? What has been known for many years is coming out – as in the church, BBC, and childrens’ homes. More to come – as I told my MP. He referred me to the Minister in charge of child protection in schools. I was told that an inquiry was not appropriate during the police investigation ( a year we are told ). THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN MY VIEW. It seems to be a ‘wait until the fuss dies down’ attitude.

    Tonight has been the beginning of the storm. In the interest of future talented musicians I believe now is the time to kick up and let the media and government that abuse of children is still rife and needs a public inquiry. Let it start in Specialist Music Schools because they are in so much denial – even with Claire Moreland’s communication tonight.

  6. Michael Antrobus - Oslo/Norway. says:

    In Norway we have make a declaration in writing to the police before we are employed by an organisation which involves working with the younger generation. This is vetted and investigated rigourously. This, although it’s not foolproof, will deter a majority of possible misdemenours by so-called preditors of our future performers. It could work in my homeland, England. It’s too easy to close the stable door after the horse has bolted!

  7. angry parent says:

    What a shame the alleged verbal sex abuse by former dismissed Headmaster of The Purcell School, Mr Peter Crook wasn’t exposed as part of the Channel 4 report last night.

    Maybe this is to come out at a later stage? I understand the Channel 4 TV Reporters knew all about it and had a copy of the recording made on a scared pupils mobile phone, [redacted: legal]

    Alarmingly,unable to teach in this country, he has become Head of Music at [redacted].

    Last week, all parents had a letter from the current Headmaster, telling us a report was to be aired last night (but of course, not telling us its content, as the school doesn’t wish to be associated with such scandal, having covered it up since Mr Crook left suddenly two years ago)

    It’s only a matter of time before this unacceptable cover up by the Governors will be outed through the media.

    Like Chethams School Governors, who have been called to resign for their recent unacceptable cover up, the Purcell School Governors should also be named and shamed for their similar disgraceful cover up of this monumental and crass error of judgement which has cost the school and is still testing its reputation.

  8. Ex Chet's says:

    Yes, the old guard have to go if music schools are to have any chance of surviving, moving into the 21st Century and being credible places for caring parents to send their children.

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