School play research prompts abuse claims
A LEADING girls’ school is facing sex abuse allegations after its drama department asked alumnae to contribute towards a “real-life” Edinburgh Festival Fringe play on the subject.
Two former pupils of St Paul’s Girls’ School, in Hammersmith, west London, have made allegations about historical sexual abuse.
Sarah Fletcher, high mistress at the £24,000-a-year school, wrote to alumnae this week to tell them that she had asked the local authority designated officer to carry out an independent safeguarding inspection at the school, after the claims.
Her letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, said the school had been told by expupils about allegations of “past sexual abuse at St Paul’s”. This month, Liza Coutts, the school’s director of drama, emailed ex-students about a piece of “verbatim/documentary theatre based on real-life accounts of sexual harassment and assault”. They were invited to give an anonymous interview about their experiences, to be used as research for the production.
Ms Fletcher’s letter stated: “Two wrote from personal experience, others about what they had heard from friends. The allegations relate to a period spanning from the Seventies to the Nineties.”
The school, whose alumnae include Rachel Weisz, the actress, and Susanna Reid, the Good Morning Britain presenter, is one of the country’s best performers.
A school spokesman said: “We can confirm that the school recently received some allegations of past abuse. We take any information of this nature extremely seriously and have passed all the details immediately to the relevant authorities.”