Scottish Daily Mail
Top school ‘ banned from taking pupils’ af ter abuse scandal
A LEADING Catholic boarding school at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal has been banned from taking new pupils.
Education Secretary Gavin Wi l l i a ms o n yesterday launched enforcement action against Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.
The school, which charges £36,486 a year for boarders, has been accused of failing to safeguard and ‘promote the welfare of pupils’ and will be prevented from taking new pupils from December 29.
Ampleforth last night attacked the decision as ‘unjustified’ and said it would appeal.
The I ndependent Schools Inspectorate visited the school in March 2018 and found a ‘number’ of independent school standards (ISS) were not being met.
Ampleforth College, which boasts alumni including actor
Rupert Everett and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, submitted an action plan – which was rejected by Mr Williamson.
Ofsted carried out an ‘ emergency inspection’ in September, which found failings around the ‘welfare, health and safety of pupils’, the safeguarding of boarders and the ‘quality of leadership’.
The enforcement document said ‘the St Laurence Education Trust, the proprietor of Ampleforth
College, is required to cease to admit any new students to that school, and this relevant restriction shall apply immediately after the expiration of the 28-day period for making an appeal’.
An accompanying letter said Mr Williamson considered the failings to be ‘very serious’.
It added that the school has ‘ shown some willingness to improve and has made some progress since March 2018’ – but said it ‘has been too slow’ and ‘insufficient’. Two weeks ago, Ampleforth was heavily criticised for its response to claims of sexual abuse over a number of years carried out by some of its Benedictine monks.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse highlighted that five individuals – mostly monks – connected to Ampleforth, have been convicted or cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with children or pornography.
The report claimed Abbot Timothy Wright, who was in charge of the college from 1997 to 2005, had ‘ an immovable attitude to allegations of child sexual abuse’.
A school spokesman said last night: ‘We will be appealing this on the basis that we believe, and have been advised, that it is unjustified and based on incorrect information.’