Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions

Petition re-opened until May 31st – please click here.

Below is the text of a petition drafted by Paul Lewis, Tim Horton and myself, calling for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse in Chetham’s and other specialist music institutions. To sign, please leave a message here or e-mail me at It will be sent to the Guardian after midday Tuesday afternoon with the signatures we have by then, and forwarded to politicians and others. We are already amassing a considerable number of signatures both from ex-Chet’s people, other musicians, and others, but hope to get as many as possible. If you were at Chet’s or another specialist music school, do let us know which years you were there. Also, please let us know in what form you would like your name to be listed.


In recent weeks, the ongoing allegations of historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s School of Music have put many aspects of music education under intense public scrutiny. Following the conviction of the former director of music, Michael Brewer, the tragic death of Frances Andrade, and extensive testimonies in the press of other abuse, it is clear that there should now be a full independent inquiry into the alleged sexual and psychological abuse by Chetham’s staff since the establishment of the institution as a music school in 1969. Such an inquiry would ideally extend to other institutions as well, some of which have also been the subject of allegations of abuse.

Recent press reports have suggested that during this time many students complained to senior members of staff about the sexually abusive behaviour of a number of Chetham’s teachers, but that no satisfactory action was taken. While it is of primary concern that those who stand accused should be investigated as soon as possible, if these allegations are shown to be correct it will be important to understand the wider implications of a school culture which facilitated such abuses of trust, and afforded alleged offenders long-term protection. For this reason, we ask senior members of staff from that time to account for what appears to be the severe failure of the school system to protect its pupils from those who exploited their positions of power. The prevalence of sexual abuse which appears to have continued unhindered over many years suggests an alarming lack of responsibility and competence in the management of a school which had, above all, a duty to protect the welfare of its students and to nurture the artistic potential of every pupil. That Chetham’s appears to have failed in this respect, and with such devastating consequences for the personal and professional lives of the alleged victims, now requires some considerable explanation from those who held senior positions of authority.

398 Comments on “Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions”

  1. Warwick Armstrong says:

    Please add my name to the petition -surely the environment of ‘sweeping under the carpet’ has gone on long enough!!!

  2. Lis Dooner says:

    Please add my name.

  3. carolyn kelly says:

    I have numerous friends and acquaintances connected to the school , who knew about this approx 15 yrs. ago.

    • Please call me – Marilyn Hawes number on my website.. I wrote to the school 3 times in as many years to offer our specific training on PREVENTION of abuse by recognizing grooming and was totally ignored . These organizations are always ” oh so sorry” after the events are disclosed – it sickens me

  4. J Penn says:

    Please add my name

  5. Michael Haslam says:

    Please add my name to the petition. I am a professional musician whose parents decided not to send to Chetham’s in the 1970s.

  6. geoff miles says:

    Please add my name – Geoff Miles

  7. Persephone Gibbs says:

    Please add my name. GSMD 1998-2000; Juilliard pre-college division 84-86 (seeing the ruthless sink-or-swim culture there as a child helped convince me to go to university rather than carry on at Juilliard; the contrast of care for students’ welfare could not have been greater.)

  8. adambellcomp says:

    Please add me to the petition. RWCMD 2002 – 2009

  9. Andrea Brown says:

    Please add my name GSMD 1997-99

  10. Joe Cutler says:

    Please add me name to the petition

  11. Zoe Lawlor says:

    Please add me – Zoe Lawlor

  12. Seona Pritchard says:

    Please add my name to the petition. RNCM 1988-1990.

  13. Carol Pendlebury says:

    Carol Pendlebury. Chets: 1974-78

  14. Howard Anthony says:

  15. Lyndy Byrt says:

    Hi Ian. I have sent my name via text to Paul Lewis and am more than happy to sign the petition. However, I am slightly concerned about one line which refers to the ‘alleged victims’. Just wondering if this will be hurtful to those who were actual victims. Thanks, Lyndy.

    Lyndy Byrt-Mayle. Chets 1973 – 1981. RCM 1981 – 1984

  16. Emma Rea says:

    Please add my name to the petition. Emma Rea.

  17. Karen Orriss says:

    I will sign.

  18. Gary Randall says:

    Please add my name to the petition.

  19. Mariko brown says:

    Please add my name

  20. Chris Dunlop says:

    If there wasn’t enough evidence already, the actions by current Chetham’s management in blocking internet access to reports of abuse at their school, demonstrate the need for this enquiry.

    • well there is a surprise ! shocking !

    • @ Chris Dunlop:

      There does now appear to be a categorical assertion from Chethams to the artsjournal blog that they did not in fact do this and that has been published there; assuming that this can be believed, it does not, of course, lessen in any way the need for appropriate investigations of allegations of misconduct to be made.

  21. Margot Cruft says:

    I would like to add my name to the petition – this behaviour must not be allowed to continue.
    Margot Cruft

  22. Chris Lawry says:

    Please add my name to the petition.

    This needs investigating properly, thoroughly and transparently, without the apparent ‘sweep it under the carpet’ mentality that has persisted until now.

    These institutions, and quality music tuition in general, need to be highly respected, trusted and accountable, so the only proper way to see this through, for all concerned, is a detailed and unbiased investigation.

    The pupils, parents, teachers and industry deserve better. No one is beyond the law, and the best way to retain a good name is to enable trust from all.

  23. Please add my name to the petition.

  24. Yvonne Paterson says:

    Please add my name. I would like to see a full enquiry.

  25. Omar Lyefook says:

    Please add my name

  26. Timothy Grant says:

    Tim Grant. RAM 1974-9

  27. Nick Hughes says:

    Please add my name to the petition

  28. Suzanne Higgins says:

    Please add my name to the petition

  29. Liesbeth Allart says:

    Please add my name to the petition.

  30. Jean Ha says:

    I would like to sign the petition.

  31. Bernadette Anguige says:

    Please add my name to the petition. Chetham’s 1989-1996 (nee Warburton)

  32. Ian Palmer says:

    Please add my name to the petition. Ian Palmer, Chet’s 1990-99

  33. Natassa Varka says:

    I would like to sign. I was at Chets from 1998 to 2005.

  34. Jason Hadland says:

    Definately sign, experienced care manager and safeguarding specialist. Jason hadland

  35. Jacqueline Leighton jones says:

    Please add my name…terrible….

  36. Suzi Fisher says:

    I will sign. I was at Purcell 1984-1989

  37. mark d. says:

    Please add my name to the petition. Thanks. Mark Doran.

  38. Martin Boyer says:

    Please add my name to the petition

  39. Carol Lovelidge says:

    Please add my name

  40. Richard Meier says:

    I will sign. Chetham’s pupil 1986-88

  41. Alex Walker says:

    Please add my name to the petition

  42. sophie levene says:

    Please Add my name

  43. Sally Bell says:

    I would like to sign.

  44. Anni Faulkner says:

    Please add my name

  45. Huaiginn oliver says:


  46. Peter Noke says:

    As Leonie Anderson alludes to, no child should feel ‘owned’ by the teacher nor manipulated in any way which puts them into a fragile emotional state – often, and sadly due to a particular teacher’s over inflated ego. The unacceptable situation of collusion underpins these sad revelations and it is simply wrong that those in ultimate charge at the time might plead innocence and then leave the rest of us with that dark shadow.

    The richness and life changing learning that high quality and responsible one-to-one teaching can bring about should be celebrated and rigorously maintained !

  47. Nikki sellers says:

    I’ll sign…. Nikki sellers (at chets 1990-1996)

  48. icenimoon says:

    Please add my signature. This is an important petition.

  49. ianpace says:

    Dear all, THANK YOU for your support. This petition is now closed, but I will be opening a link for additional signatures further to its being published in tomorrow’s Guardian, and will be posting the final list of names by midday today later on this afternoon.

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