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Governors resign from top Derbyshire school over handling of sex assault allegations

today6 September 2022 1

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Governors have left a top Derbyshire school over its handling of allegations of sexual assaults, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Stone, a former police chief and a top criminal law barrister, quit after Repton School declined to sack a teacher despite claims made by a former pupil.

The school, where boarders pay more than £40,000 a year and which counts Roald Dahl and Jeremy Clarkson among its ex-pupils, said its handling of the matter has been backed up by two expert independent reviews.

READ MORE: Stories about Crime by Derbyshire Live

A letter written by Sue Fish, former chief constable of Nottinghamshire, to the chairman of governors, Mark Shires, said she had no option but to resign due to the teacher’s continued employment, the Mail said.

The document, according to the Daily Mail, said the decision means the school’s “safeguarding of pupils past, present and future is now in jeopardy and lacks credibility”. Repton has strongly denied this.

In a separate case, a former teacher was jailed for seven years and 11 months in March for abusing pupils at the school in the 1990s. Simon Clague, 55, admitted charges of indecent assault. He had intimate relationships with three teenage girls, Derby Crown Court heard.

Repton said it was “profoundly sorry” for failing to protect his victims, adding any former pupils looking to contact the institution “will be taken extremely seriously”.

This, the Mail said, prompted one to allege a teacher still there had engaged in sexual activity with two friends at about the same time. It is understood the former pupil did not name these friends, was not willing to speak formally to the police and the school received no further evidence.

Mrs Fish claims the teacher’s files revealed “an appalling catalogue” of alleged past misconduct. It is understood Repton felt the allegations to which she referred were unsubstantiated rumours that had been fully investigated. The school is also thought to have considered any risk to pupils and legal advice suggests dismissal would be unlawful.

The third governor who resigned was Tim Hannam QC. He and Mrs Stone did not respond to requests for comment and Mrs Fish declined to comment further.

A statement issued by Repton School said: “We have no greater duty than safeguarding pupils in our care and simply would not take risks with their safety and wellbeing. When a former student who was a third party to the matter shared an allegation with us, we immediately notified the police and all relevant agencies, and we promptly investigated. Our handling of the issue was reviewed by two external expert organisations – a law firm and an independent safeguarding authority – both of which concluded we had not erred in the outcome we reached.”

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