As the first to raise the alarm ten years ago over a climate of sexual abuse in English music schools, and the first to expose subsequent abuses, I watch with dismay the daily diet of accusations and investigations against individuals and institutions, who are innocent until proven guilty.
The son of Marcel Gazelle, accused co-founder of the Yehudi Menuhin School, has voiced anguish over whether some of the charges against his father are a reflection of relative values, of changing mores and times. He may have a point in some cases. In others, there is abundant evidence that certain teachers abused their pupils and the schools did all they could to cover up.
Clearly, the police must investigate every accusation of abuse. Inevitably, the media will chase the paddy waggons. Ideally, the worst perpetrators will be brought to justice and the victims will feel vindicated. The death of Frances Andrade must not have been in vain.
The schools, caught in a perfect storm of public prurience and their own past timidity, have battened down the hatches. Some have governors who are implicated in past cover-ups. They have not done enough to inspire public confidence. Nor have they been subjected to the standards of scrutiny applicable in state schools. It is possible that one school or other will fail this year. Times are tough and parents are hypersensitive. But the best schools must be allowed to continue their work.
There is only one way to pursue justice for the victims and protect the schools from destruction. That is for the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to call a public inquiry into sexual abuse in British musical schools over the past 40 years. A judge-led inquiry will stop media speculation in its tracks and allow schools to go about their business until the report is published. An inquiry would also create the possibility of introducing reforms to a system that has never worked at world level and needs urgently to be dragged into the 21st century.