Friday, 27 January 2012

Reporting is important

In The Times today
A paedophile primary school teacher was able to abuse children as young as six for years because his head teacher ignored concerns raised by colleagues.

Nigel Leat, who was jailed indefinitely last year, sexually abused dozens of pupils over a period of 15 years at the small village school near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.
And how was he able to get away with it for so long? It is explained later in the article.
Before he was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in June, detectives from Avon and Somerset Constabulary described Leat as “manipulative” and said he had been able to dupe colleagues who had no suspicion of what was going on. But yesterday an independent serious case review commissioned by the local education authority revealed that, far from being unaware, staff had repeatedly raised concerns with the head teacher but the warnings were ignored.

A total of 30 “inappropriate” incidents were witnessed by staff. Of these, 11 were officially reported to Chris Hood, the head teacher, but not one was passed on to the board of governors or the local education authority.

Tony Oliver, chair of the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board, said there had been a “gross failure of responsibility” at the school. Mr Hood was suspended then sacked after Leat’s abuse came to light.

Mr Oliver said: “The fact that these incidents were reported within the school and not acted upon is incredible. It was grossly negligent that those incidents were not reported to the local authority. There was an endemic culture of neglect.”
This is why I keep going on here about how important it is that all allegations of abuse are immediately reported in writing to the Local Authority Designated Officer for Child protection (LADO).

Three Ofsted reports compiled during Leat’s time at the school raised no concerns and rated it as “good” and “academically successful”.
Three consecutive OFSTED reports didn't notice that the school's safeguarding arrangements simply weren't working. Parents, you are on your own. if you don't check the safeguarding policies of your children's schools, then nobody will.


  1. surprised you are bothering with this one, as he wasn't a priest/monk...or catholic...

  2. I'm anti-abuse. I'm not anti catholic unless you choose to define being pro-catholic as being pro-abuse.

    This case happens to illustrate why I've been pressing for proper reporting of allegations.

  3. 08:43 You should be ashamed of yourself.
    To borrow from an old Chinese proverb/Amnesty Int. "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness".
    Jonathan is bringing light into this dreadful sordid world and your chipping away like this doesn't diminish the good he is doing.

  4. Proper reporting? It exists already. A duty to report is sufficient.

  5. But, 08 what else should one expect from the Abbeyvista @. 43. They have been silenced for a long time because there's been nasty stuff here on this site. Now this blog's guns have been momentarily redirected s/he thinks this provides an opportunity to recommence hostilities in the usual squalid, amoral one club fashion.

    Let him/her/it be - it's an endangered species and each time it hits a keyboard it puts a barrel in its mouth.

    In reality .43 you, and people like you, are finished but you don't have the wherewithal to yet realise it. It's only a matter of time.

  6. But a duty to report does not permit anyone to be held to account for 'swerving' it. A duty to report is meaningless.

    Hillside First School for example.

  7. Who exactly is this ABBEYVISTA? If reporting were sufficient, then why wasn't it done on all the occasions that it should have been done? If independent schools ( and some state schools don't report) then how are cases to be investigated, and safeguarding to carried out. The covering up that has gone on allowed pupils to be victimised. What is also disturbing is that lay staff in some Ealing Catholic independents (who knew about it,not all did) kept quiet also, even though they themselves had children who attended the said schools. Seems that they weren't worried as long as their own children weren't victimised.

  8. You have highlighted the complicity of silence when faced with the unimaginable. The same silence fell on parents at my school. Some knew, and said nothing, most had no idea, but staff knew and feared for their jobs and future careers and said nothing.

    The dynamics of sexual abuse in these places is extraordinary.

    I may post more on this subject because it is such an eye opener. I would recommend visitors go to the North Somerset Safeguarding Children's Board Site and read the Serious Case Review on Hillside First School. Lessons need to be learned by all. The failure of staff to speak to the Local Authority after the Head repeatedly failed to refer, resulted in many children being abused. A number of known victims of abuse have reportedly still not disclosed.

  9. We have no information about Leat's religious affiliation, 8.43, so it's no less possible he was a Catholic than anything else... and it's equally irrelevant. He was an abuser, he got away with it for a long, long time, and suspicions and reported incidents were not acted upon by those responsible for the children's safety.
    And this is the point.
    As long as there is wiggle room in reporting guidelines and definitions of abuse(and there's still wiggle room the size of a cathedral in St Benedict's protection guidelines), then people responsible for child safety will fail to keep children safe.