Health

Ampleforth College rated ‘unworthy’ by Ofsted: ‘Serious’ setbacks at Catholic boarding school


A Catholic boarding school with tuition fees of nearly £38,000 a year has been deemed ‘inappropriate’ after a report found student sex, orgies, Class A drugs and concerns surrounding the protection of students from monks.

Several incidents involving Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, were discovered by Ofsted inspectors who visited the school in November.

In one incident last year, it was reported that 81 children, aged 17 to 18, held a ‘graduation’ party in a nearby countryside, with one student found woke up in an orchard after disappearing for an hour and another student was hospitalized for treatment due to alcohol consumption.

School leaders also ordered Class A drugs at a boarding house on the same day as the party, according to the report.

Inspectors also said vulnerable students had sex in the gym locker room during school hours and that school leaders could do little to stop ‘concerned monks’ – including those suspected of sexual abuse – were allowed to live at the neighboring monastery.

The school has been plagued by an ongoing scandal involving abuse by monks and staff for decades and in 2020 was ordered to stop accepting new students due to a ‘serious failure’.

Ampleforth University countered the findings of Ofsted’s report and Chancellor Robin Dyer said it was ‘deeply disappointed that Ofsted should have produced a report based on a number of incorrect and inaccurate assumptions. economics related to our protection’.

Ampleforth University (pictured), which charges nearly £38,000 a year, has been judged 'insufficient' after a report found student sex, rambling parties, class A drugs and concerns around protecting students from monks

Ampleforth University (pictured), which charges nearly £38,000 a year, has been judged 'insufficient' after a report found student sex, rambling parties, class A drugs and concerns around protecting students from monks

Ampleforth University (pictured), which charges nearly £38,000 a year, has been judged ‘insufficient’ after a report found student sex, rambling parties, class A drugs and concerns around protecting students from monks

A new Ofsted report, published today, says: ‘Agreements to protect students, including the most vulnerable, at Ampleforth College remain ineffective.’

Inspectors said they had been contacted by ‘whispers’ before and after the inspection due to concerns about a ‘serious protection incident’.

They say that on their last day of school, 81 grade 13 students left their personal hostel at 2.30am, frustrated that Covid regulations had stripped them of their ‘graduation party’.

According to reports, the students disabled the lock and alarm and followed a pre-planned route to avoid CCTV cameras.

Meeting at an ‘agreed destination’, the report said, ‘these unsupervised students drank alcohol that was brought into the venue secretly’.

The report added: ‘A student was found unconscious and alone in an orchard. Another student was hospitalized for drinking too much alcohol.

‘At the same time, leaders located and alerted the police about Class A drugs found on the school premises.

‘Staff, who had been wary of the possibility of an end-of-term celebration, were not vigilant enough.

‘They have not taken action to stop these dangerous behaviours. Since this incident, leaders have begun using sniffer dogs and thermal imaging cameras to prevent any recurrence. ‘

The new report also reveals that the school, now co-educational, has failed to address reports of sexual relations between vulnerable students.

It added: ‘On another, very recent occasion, a number of young students with identified SEND (special educational needs) engaged in penetrative sexual activity during the school day while not being allowed to do so. full supervision.

‘This sexual activity was witnessed by one of their colleagues. School staff know the risk factors associated with these children.

‘They didn’t take into account the information they had when organizing the change of facilities for physical education lessons.

‘Their risk assessment and follow-up actions are not sufficient to prevent harmful behaviour.

‘They are still uncertain about how to protect vulnerable children who engage in excessive sexual abuse.’

Giving the school an ‘incomplete’ review, Ofsted also announced that there were new concerns about convicted pedophile monks residing at the nearby monastery.

It said: ‘At the time of the final check, in March 2021, the rector had a veto over whether monks may or may not reside at the monastery.

‘This agreement no longer exists. This means there is now little that the leaders can do if the monastery decides to admit monks interested in the Ampleforth Abbey site.

‘Monks of interest will include those who have been charged, and any persons convicted of past child molestation and anyone under investigation.’

In a lengthy statement, Ampleforth University refuted the Ofsted inspectors’ findings.

Ampleforth University countered the findings of Ofsted's report and its principal Robin Dyer said it was 'deeply disappointed that Ofsted should have produced a report based on a number of incorrect assumptions'

Ampleforth University countered the findings of Ofsted's report and its principal Robin Dyer said it was 'deeply disappointed that Ofsted should have produced a report based on a number of incorrect assumptions'

Ampleforth University countered the findings of Ofsted’s report and its principal Robin Dyer said it was ‘deeply disappointed that Ofsted should have produced a report based on a number of incorrect assumptions’

The university said: ‘Ofsted’s conclusions are based on four cases or issues. In each case, Ofsted’s report contained factual inaccuracies and made judgments that were not supported by the evidence base.

‘Ofsted describes a case where two students engaged in ‘penetrating’ sexual activity, albeit contrary to the accounts of those involved and a witness.

‘The police report states “no implication of penetration” and “no other action by the police”. The witness described “a three-second incident in which both [students] laughed”. A third student is in the room.

‘Ofsted says students are not being adequately supervised. They have been dressed for the sport and under normal security procedures, staff are not allowed into the room while students are changing. Staff are on duty in the hallway outside the changing room.

‘Ofsted also said the school knew the risk factors surrounding these children and that our risk assessments were insufficient. However, nothing of the students’ prior behavior known to the school indicates a risk of physical sexual behavior.

‘In the case of the Class 13 incident, Ofsted implied this was brought to their attention by the whistleblowers while the school had fully reported it to the appropriate authority the same day and immediately launched a practice to draw lessons.

‘Ofsted’s claim that a student has been missing for an hour and passed out in an orchard is simply incorrect. A recorded phone call with the student and other evidence demonstrating that they were absent for a total of 15 minutes and were not unconscious.

‘Traces of class A drugs were found in one student’s room but no evidence that drugs were consumed.

‘In recognition that this is the last night for Year 13 students at school and there has been some pressing about Covid restrictions, Boarding House staff stayed up until 1:30am and on duty all night.

‘Established and maintained security procedures were in place including onsite security personnel, CCTV alarm systems, window security guards and other security devices.

‘The students planned and coordinated to leave the hostel after 2am, and also damaged or disabled the security system to avoid detection. This is a very unfortunate matter and they have been disciplined in a way that shows the seriousness of the incident.

‘Long before Ofsted checked, the school mandated and implemented additional security measures. “

The school also said inspectors’ conclusion that monks convicted of sexually abusing children might live in a neighboring monstrous home was ‘inaccurate’.

The school added: ‘Following arrangements made in recent years, the School and the Convent have become two separate premises with clearly demarcated sites and boundaries.

‘This seclusion is monitored and controlled by CCTV, fencing, risk assessment, strong visitor policy and security staff.

‘Nine of the monks at Ampleforth Abbey work on the school as chaplains. They have gone through all the usual checks on employees required by safer employment regulations.

‘The school has no control over who lives in the nearby monastic community. However, to make the protection as robust as possible, the university has agreed with the monastery to draft a protection protocol and enlist the support of local law enforcement agencies to maximize effectiveness. of these measures. ‘

Robin Dyer, principal of Ampleforth College, added: ‘We are deeply disappointed that Ofsted should have produced a report based on a number of incorrect assumptions and factual inaccuracies in relation to the protection our guard.

‘We have repeatedly attempted to correct the facts before the report was published. We are not lightly against our regulator but in this case injustice cannot be allowed to persist.

‘Ampleforth is a safe school. Our students know it and our parents and staff know it too. ‘

Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk



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