Friday, 9 December 2011

BBC London News

There was an interview with Skelton's victim on the BBC London News this evening. Very powerful. It might  be on again later this evening at 10.25.

He very clearly described the fear he felt - that he might never get out of Skelton's house alive, that he might never be able to escape, and his huge relief when he got to the doorway.

The trailer for it, though not the main part of the interview, mentioned how even after his mother complained to the school, he was put back into Skelton's class for maths until Skelton left.

The BBC have clearly stated that the school gave Skelton a good reference and sent him on his way, and that he was able to go and abuse elsewhere.

Cleugh was interviewed and he said that if this happened today, they would automatically report it. But remember that until I started raising a stink, the school didn't have such a policy. This is what the ISI said when they finally noticed that there was a problem.
At the time of the follow-up inspections, the school did not have a fully established policy for reporting directly to the Department for Education and Skills (later the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and currently the Department for Education) or to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, responsible for such referrals since 20 January 2009.
That state of affairs was in place under the current Abbot and the current headmaster. And they had the effrontery to tell Lord Carlile that the deficiency of the policy that the ISI had found "was a narrow one about wording rather than substance" (para 50 of the Carlile report).

And as I've noted already, the school's policy doesn't commit to automatic reporting. Paragraph 30(c) contains a glaring exception.And even the wording of the relevant part of the overall commitment (para 5(i) of the policy) says it will "deal appropriately" with allegations and will be "consulting with" the LADO. Not good enough. The London Child Protection Procedures (para 15.2.1) are perfectly clear and unequivocal. "The employer must inform the local authority designated officer (LADO) immediately an allegation is made."

UPDATE: This edition of BBC London news is now available on iPlayer.


  1. As St Benedict's abuse cases continue to surface, Cleugh reappears on our television screens to defend the institution. It is a great pity equal commitment and effort is not expended on safeguarding today's pupils. The current safeguarding policy protects nothing other than the institution, which demonstrates a waywardness in the management's prioities Changing the culture that has developed over 109 years requires a change of personnel starting I suggest with Cleugh who interprets his role as arch defender of he shot reputation of the school he runs while simultaneously asserting that the care of children in his charge is uppermost. A conflicted claim if ever there was one; it’s just not possible to achieve both. Look at the safeguarding policy – it’s a risible document. It meets minimum standards but delivers no credible protection of students.

    The police investigation which led to the conviction of Mr Skelton was predicated upon the complaint made by the former St Benedict’s pupil interviewed on the BBC London News programme of 9th December 11.

    Former pupil:

    “I discussed a number of things with the police over the course of the trial. At very best there was a deeply unhelpful approach from Ealing Abbey towards supporting the police, the CPS, and the victims in the trial - at best.

    At worst one could argue, although that would not be my business, that there was an active attempt to divert the course of justice. Somewhere in between, there lies the truth."


    "I don't believe it was a deliberate act to try and hide the information on Mr Skelton. Obviously I do not know the circumstances."

    Cleugh is using an interesting collection of words to make even his denial deniable, but how could he not ” know the circumstances” of the school's alleged obstruction given the police were asking Cleugh as the chief operating officer of the school, about Skelton’s employment?

    Any answers?

  2. It is a very depressing state of affairs, but until there is choice in education, to where do we move our children?

    The school has no motivation to change because it knows there is almost nowhere we can go, and mobilising parents to effect change is dead at birth because of apathay or complacency or both.

  3. Cleugh is claiming massive support from the parents, if this is not the truth then those who are dissatisfied with his leadership should go public and speak out for his removal.It appears the he and the Bursar Mrs De Cintra are determined to keep control of the schools governance by ignoring the recommendations as set out in Carlile's report especially as to the makeup of the governing body and how they are appointed.If this is allowed to happen then the cover up will continue and the truth will never come to light.
    There needs to be a clear out of senior management and a renewal of the direction and leadership of the school otherwise you will get another five years of it was not on my watch why ask me,the new mantra from the school.

  4. There was only one Carlile recommendation and it took more than a year and a half to produce it. Surely you are not suggesting that the school is balking at one measly suggestion from a QC who perhaps should not have taken this job for which he was so unsuited?

  5. The use of historic abuse seems to have disappeared from the schools lexicon Mr Cleugh also appears to forget that Pierces last reported abuse happened to a pupil from the school in the abbey ,when he must have known the pupil was in contact with Pierce.

  6. Cleugh hasn't forgotten. At the press conference for the Carlile Report, he treated the assembled journalists to a speech about how he has been counseling the victim and helping him with his trauma.

  7. Mrs de Cintra recently sent me my file from my time at the school in the 1970s. It consists of five pages, none of which are copies of correspondence between the school and my parents. Missing are the letters, for instance, about the allegations of theft of a raincoat made by one of David Pearce's côterie of boys - shades of the later Lewis da Luca case - and, of course, the letter effectively expelling me from the school as the final sanction for not bending to the monks' will.

  8. Reply to 23.04 counselling the victim complete nonsense if his deputy hadn't exposed it he would have buried it thank god for C.F. Some people still have a conscience and scruples !

  9. There is a huge conflict of interest in the school. De Cintra a significant factor by representing both the school and the Abbey past and present.

    Why is the Bursar dealing with personal records ?

    As a fairly new parent I thought Carilie was going to address all this but I understand the school is appointing their own body of advisers to do this.

    Unless this is changed cover ups will continue. Records will continue to go missing conveniently or just not dealt with at all, nobody seems to be accountable.

    My kids like the school, but I am worried.

  10. 14:59 - If you are concerned that any records concerning your children have gone missing. There is a simply solution. You can make a request under the Data Protection Act to see what the school holds. Having said that, I am confident that they will hold all relevant records.

    P.S. I am no fan of De Cintra but would be very confident that she has maintained adequate records.

  11. De Cintra has very adequate records none of which she will make public as they may well implicate her good self in the total cover up that the trust which she has run for years is involved in.

  12. I think the thrust of 14.59 comment was the heavy and blatant conflict of interest by those individuals employed by both the Abbey and the School.

    This was the result of Carlile's findings. Nothing has changed and may not change as it was only a recommendation.

  13. It is clear in law that recommendations from a Law Lord are not meer suggestions but indeed they should be followed by the letter had Lord Carlile been appointed by Parliament Cleugh and DaCintra would have to have followed this advise to the letter and perhaps they may still have to.
    It is my belief still that they intend to worm themselves out of the recommendations and keep control of the trust,as they have done in the past despite the presence of the weak willed and proven in his own words naive Abbott Martin .
    A leopardess cannot change her spots.