‘Catholic Eton’ apologises for failing to prevent boys being abused: Ampleforth College issues statement of ‘profound regret and sorrow’ after series of scandals involving perverted staff
- Ampleforth, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’, apologised for failure to prevent abuse
- The Roman Catholic school has been hit by a series of sexual abuse scandals
- Last month Gavin Williamson prevented the school from recruiting new pupils
England’s most famous Roman Catholic school has apologised for its failure to prevent sexual abuse of pupils.
The statement of ‘profound regret and sorrow’ follows a ban on the admission of new children to Ampleforth College which has threatened the future of the 218 year-old school.
Ampleforth, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’, has been shadowed by a series of abuse scandals which culminated last month in a scathing Ofsted inspection report and an order by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that prevented the school from recruiting new pupils.
The ban was to have come into effect on Tues 29 Dec but has been delayed following an appeal by the College.
Ampleforth, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’, has been shadowed by a series of abuse scandals which culminated last month in a scathing Ofsted inspection report
The school’s statement said: ‘The failings of the past have been well documented. We have expressed our profound regret and sorrow and will continue to do so.
‘Our past has been the major driver in a fundamental transformation over the past two years. We are under new leadership, at both operational and trustee level, with a professionalised safeguarding team.’
It added that the school had new management and had severed organisational ties with Ampleforth Abbey, the Benedictine monastery which set up the school in the year in which it was founded, 1802.
Peter Turner, 80, formerly Father Gregory Carroll was jailed for 20 years after he admitted sexually abusing three boys, one an Ampleforth pupil, between 1984 and 1990
Ampleforth said: ‘We are a different college today and are determined to become an exemplar in safeguarding policy and practice.’
The troubles at Ampleforth, which has 488 pupils and charges more than £36,000 a year for boarders, have run alongside those of the wider Roman Catholic church in England.
In November Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, was singled out for criticism by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. A report said that Cardinal Nichols had failed as a leader by allowing the protection of paedophiles in order to protect his church’s reputation.
In 2018 a report by IICSA found that both Ampleforth and Downside, another major Catholic school in Somerset, had ‘prioritised the monks and their own reputations over the protection of children in order to avoid scandal.’
In February 2020 Father Gregory Carroll was jailed for 20 years after he admitted sexually abusing three boys, one an Ampleforth pupil, between 1984 and 1990.
Robin Dyer, the head at Ampleforth College, said earlier this month: ‘I was appointed head at Ampleforth College in August 2019, brought in specifically because of my experience in establishing strong pastoral and safeguarding regimes at another major and successful public school.
Ampleforth Abbey and College, Yorkshire. An order by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson prevented the school from recruiting new pupils
‘Working with my entirely new leadership team and new board of trustees, we have rebuilt the school’s processes and structures and continue to prioritise the safeguarding and wellbeing of all our students. We look forward to a time when this focus is acknowledged as successful by all external parties. We are all enormously grateful to our parent and alumni community for their incredible support for the college and the work we are undertaking.’
The emergency Ofsted report into the school in December said: ‘Leaders have not taken precise enough account of the longstanding historical safeguarding failings at Ampleforth College in their current practice.
‘Despite improvements in the last year, leaders do not take all reasonable, timely and appropriate action to safeguard pupils. They have not established a well embedded safeguarding culture in the school.’