The IICSA Hearings into Specialist Music Schools: Videos, Transcripts, Documents

TRIGGER WARNING: This blog contains links to disturbing material relating to the sexual abuse of children.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) held their hearings into specialist music schools this past week (30 November – 4 October 2019). As one who gave evidence to this inquiry (on 1 October) I do not wish to post any comments on this until after the reports have been produced (which will not be until 2020). However, I would like to post links to all the appropriate videos, transcripts and other documents which are now public.

The first day saw, amongst other things, important opening statements from Counsel to the Inquiry Fiona Scolding QC, and lawyer Richard Scorer, representing various former students at Chetham’s and myself. The following is the video (with this as with all videos, one may need to scroll forward through some blank screen).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The transcript of Day One can be read and downloaded in two parts, here and here.

Day Two saw the testimonies of A1 and A2, former students of Chris Ling at Chetham’s, then that of former Head Teacher (1974-1992) John Vallins, then my own testimony (at around 4h in), then more from Vallins, and that from his successor (1992-99), Peter Hullah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The transcript from Day Two can be read here.

Day Three saw evidence from another Chetham’s head (1999-2016), Clare Moreland, then from Independent Educational Consultant Elizabeth Coley and Chief Inspector of ISI, Kate Richards, followed by Specialist advisor for residential care, OFSTED, Helen Humphreys. The afternoon saw Helen Bennett, former DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) at Wells Cathedral School, and Alastair Tighe, Head Teacher at the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The transcript from Day Three is here.

Day Four saw evidence from Richard Hillier, former Head Teacher at the Yehudi Menuhin School, and Joanne Field, the current DSL at the school. In the afternoon, there was evidence from Peter Crook, former Principal of the Purcell School, and Graham Smallbone, former Chair of Governors for the school.

 

 

 

 

The transcript from Day Four is here.

Day Five saw evidence from former Purcell School teacher and whistleblower Margaret Moore, and current principal Paul Bambrough. The afternoon saw evidence from Yasemin Wigglesworth, Executive Officer of AEGIS, and Dale Wilkins, Head of Safeguarding for the Boarding Schools Association.

 

 

 

 

The transcript from Day Five is here.

Day Nine also saw mention of Chetham’s in the context of questions about DBS checks claimed not have been undertaken upon one teacher in 2008 until three months after she began teaching. Here is the video of this day.

 

 

 

The transcript from Day Nine is here.

And the afternoon session of Day Ten saw the closing statement by Kim Harrison of Slater and Gordon, relating to Chetham’s, and also a statement from Chetham’s lawyer. This begins at around 4h 32m 50′ here:

 

 

The transcript from Day Ten is here. More on this day’s statements can be foud in the Guardian article by Nazia Parveen linked to below.

 

The inquiry has also published some sections from the numerous written statements and documents submitted to the inquiry. These can be accessed here . I am hoping that a full set of complete documents will be published on the website in due course.

This series of hearings, and those for next week (7-11 October 2019, looking at different schools, though with concluding statements on Friday 11 October which will refer back to this week’s hearings), constitute Phase One of the Investigation into Residential Schools. Phase Two will take place during 11-22 May 2020. The inquiry is urging all survivors and victims of child sexual abuse to share their experiences, and a link is given on this page.

Presently I will also add links to the bottom of this page of media and online reports of the hearings.

Chetham’s issued the following statement just preceding (27 September 2019) the week of the hearings:

Statement regarding the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
27 September 2019

Chetham’s School of Music is giving its full co-operation into the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

It is a matter of deep and profound regret to Chetham’s that former teachers at our School betrayed and manipulated the trust that had been placed in them in order to harm children for which we are truly sorry.

Chetham’s Principal Alun Jones ensured Chetham’s applied for Core Participant status so it could participate as fully as possible in the Inquiry. He has made it clear that the School will help the Inquiry as much as it possibly can.

Chetham’s will be one of four residential music schools providing evidence to the Inquiry due to the police investigations and convictions of child sexual abuse relating to the School. These include the conviction of its former Director of Music in 2013 and the high profile police investigation into child sexual abuse by a former violin teacher.

The School overhauled its building and safeguarding practices and procedures. Chetham’s is sorry it did not do more to provide emotional support to the victims and survivors of abuse and their families.

Mr Jones said: “I inherited a school with a troubled past, but which thankfully was in exceptional health when I arrived. In terms of the School building and safeguarding procedures we’ve made huge improvements and continue to keep them under review.

“I welcome this Inquiry. Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse need to know that they are being listened to and that changes happen as a result of what they say. As Principal of Chetham’s I have a duty of care to our current and future students to make sure we also do everything possible to learn from victims and survivors’ experiences.”

Further enquiries: Alun Jones, Principal
Via Lesley Haslam, PA: lesleyhaslam@chethams.com, 0161 838 7214

 

Following the hearings on 1 October, the Principal, Alun Jones then issued the following:

Comment from Chetham’s Principal Alun Jones after attending Day Two of the Residential Schools Hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA)
01 October 2019

“What I have heard today has been shocking and distressing and it is clear that serious errors of judgement were made at our School.

“My task as the current Principal of Chetham’s is to make sure we learn all possible lessons from what we heard today.

“I am deeply and truly sorry that teachers at our School abused their position of trust to hurt young people. Current parents and students would not recognise what was said at the Inquiry today as the School they know – but this is of no consolation to victims and survivors.

“As the head of a school you have responsibility for what happens under your leadership. No amount of musical ability comes before the wellbeing of my students. I regularly speak to students about the importance of speaking up and out if they believe something is wrong. Parents, staff and students know Chetham’s is a telling school where everyone looks out for each other. This was clearly not the case at the School in the past – as we heard today. Students should have been supported and listened to and their concerns acted upon.

“I am deeply sorry the School did not do more to provide emotional support to the victims and survivors of abuse and their families. I would welcome any victims and survivors of abuse at Chetham’s getting in touch with me if they feel it can help to rectify some of the appalling mistakes of the past.”

Please follow this link for the preceding IICSA statement, published by Chetham’s on 27.09.19

Further enquiries: Alun Jones, Principal
Via Lesley Haslam, PA: lesleyhaslam@chethams.com, 0161 838 7214

 

I have assembled a range of testimonies from former Chetham’s students who have watched and read about the hearings, often with incredulity. I will continue to add to this as others send their own reflections.

 

The following articles relating to the hearings have been published during the course of this week:

Helen Pidd, ‘CPS could and should have extradited paedophile music teacher’, The Guardian, 30 September 2019.

‘Inquiry into child sex abuse at local schools has first day – as it happened’, Somerset Live, 30 September 2019.

Elise Britten, ‘Wells Cathedral School offers “full apology” to sex abuse victims’, Somerset Live, 30 September 2019.

Judith Burns, ‘Music school pupil abused by violin teacher at 15’, BBC News, 1 October 2019.

Nigel Barlow, ‘Witnesses tell of sexual abuse by Chetham’s Violin teacher’, About Manchester, 2 October 2019.

‘Chetham’s principal apologises for historic sexual abuse’, BBC News, 2 October 2019.

Damon Wilkinson and Pat Hurst, ‘Chetham’s principal apologises for “appalling mistakes of the past” after inquiry hears details of teachers’ sexual abuse of pupils’, Manchester Evening News, 2 October 2019.

Hattie Williams, ‘Hallmarks of grooming “overlooked” by staff at Wells Cathedral School’, Church Times, 3 October 2019 (this article also includes significant material relating to Chetham’s).

‘Inquiry hears Wells paedophile teacher had ‘duped staff’, BBC News, 3 October 2019.

Nazia Parveen, ‘Former Chetham’s headteachers accused of ignoring abuse’, The Guardian, 11 October 2019.

 

There have also been several short pieces by Norman Lebrecht for the Slipped Disc blog:

‘Distressing Evidence at Sex-Abuse Inquiry into English Music Schools’, 2 October 2019.

‘Chetham’s regrets past abuse, Wells says ‘We couldn’t see’, 3 October 2019.

‘Menuhin and Purcell Schools under scrutiny in child sex inquiry’, 4 October 2019.

‘A guide to the child abuse inquiry at English music schools’, 6 October 2019.

‘Chetham students add horror to sex abuse hearings’, 10 October 2019.

‘More testimonies of hell at English music school’, 11 October 2019.

At some point in the future, I will try and collate all links to articles about Chetham’s since the Michael Brewer trial in 2013 in one blog post. In the meantime, many links can be found in the following earlier articles:

Reported Cases of Abuse in Musical Education, 1990-2012, and Issues for a Public Inquiry (30 December 2013) (this post is in need of some updating to mention other cases during the period in question).

New stories and convictions of abuse in musical education, and the film of the Institute of Ideas debate (11 January 2014) (also in need of updating)

The Trial of Michael and Kay Brewer and the Death of Frances Andrade, and the Aftermath, 2013 (12 August 2014)

Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions (original version – each version has a different long list of comments) (16 February 2013).

Petition for an Inquiry into Sexual and other Abuse at Specialist Music Schools – The List of Signatories (19 February 2013).

Re-opened until May 31st, 2013 – Petition for an Inquiry into Abuse in Specialist Music Education (9 May 2013) (the final version).

A further call to write to MPs to support an inquiry into abuse in musical education (26 November 2013).

In the Aftermath of the Brewer Sentencing – A Few Short Thoughts and Pieces of Information (27 March 2013).

Michael Brewer – a powerful Director of Music, not just a provincial choirmaster or music teacher (28 March 2013).

Reports from the Malcolm Layfield Trial (2 June 2015).

Chris Ling’s Views on Sexing Up Classical Music (11 February 2013).

Robert Waddington, Former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, and Chetham’s School of Music (12 May 2013).

The 1980 Department of Education and Science Report into Chetham’s School of Music, National Archives ED 172/598/2 (20 September 2015).

Publication of Reports into Chetham’s by ISI and MCC – Senior Management and Governors should consider their position (3 April 2013).

New Surrey Safeguarding Report on suicide of Frances Andrade draws attention to dangers of music education (10 April 2014).

Alun Jones to be new Head of Chetham’s – and a list of SMS Heads and Music Directors (13 December 2015).

Marcel Gazelle and the Culture of the Early Yehudi Menuhin School (7 May 2013).

Craig Edward Johnson, the Yehudi Menuhin School, Adrian Stark, and wider networks? (8 April 2014).

Philip Pickett arrested on 15 charges, and interview with Clare Moreland in The Times (14 February 2014).

Abuse minimisation as an example of the writing of history as kitsch (14 July 2013).

New article in Times Educational Supplement on abuse in musical education – and public debate on October 19th, Barbican Centre (3 October 2013).

A message from another victim of abuse at a UK music school, calling for others to come forward (25 November 2013)

 

 

Some other earlier articles I published may also be of interest:

‘The culture of music education lends itself to abuse’, Times Educational Supplement, 8 May 2013.

‘Does elite music teaching leave pupils open to abuse?’, The Telegraph, 20 February 2015.

‘Music teacher sentenced to 11 years in prison as abuse film Whiplash prepares for Oscars’, The Conversation, 20 February 2015.

‘Safeguarding’, Music Teacher, April 2015.

 

 

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