Letter to the Head Master

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

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richardb
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb »

At Husband's sentencing hearing it was said at one point that he resigned. I don't know if this was a slip of the tongue.
TMF
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by TMF »

A characteristic of 'sudden departure syndrome' is that recollections as to whether this was voluntary or involuntary become institutionally and discretely hazy...

...however, Reid has seen 'sudden departure syndrome' at CH close-up and personal, at least twice.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by sejintenej »

jtaylor wrote: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:39 pm Absolutely. Would they dismiss a member of staff today for failing to report abuse, and publicise why they’d been fired? If so, they should be happy to condemn what’s gone before. If not, there’s still a problem today?
The difficulty is "can they prove that the staff member knew and failed...."? Otherwise they lay themselves open to charges of improper dismissal, slander/libel. Just imagine the uproar and legal case if they suddenly put out a news item that "Joe B.... who was a teacher from 19.. to 19.. was aware of gross sexual irregularities but was not reported to the authorities nor sacked"
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Bishbashbosh
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Bishbashbosh »

A letter from the school arrived today. Typed, hand signed by Reid and Perricone.

I have pics of the letter's body, sans my personal info. I can upload if allowed.
richardb
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb »

Bishbashbosh wrote: Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:27 pm A letter from the school arrived today. Typed, hand signed by Reid and Perricone.

I have pics of the letter's body, sans my personal info. I can upload if allowed.
Or you could type the content in if it isn't too long.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor »

sejintenej wrote: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:08 pm
jtaylor wrote: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:39 pm Absolutely. Would they dismiss a member of staff today for failing to report abuse, and publicise why they’d been fired? If so, they should be happy to condemn what’s gone before. If not, there’s still a problem today?
The difficulty is "can they prove that the staff member knew and failed...."? Otherwise they lay themselves open to charges of improper dismissal, slander/libel. Just imagine the uproar and legal case if they suddenly put out a news item that "Joe B.... who was a teacher from 19.. to 19.. was aware of gross sexual irregularities but was not reported to the authorities nor sacked"
Sorry, maybe I should have said “failed to report an allegation of abuse” - that to me seems to be the issue, as it meant that allegations weren’t investigated, potentially-abused pupils weren’t believed, trusted or and supported, and the potential/actual abusers left and went on to other schools potentially to the same to others, even with an in-tainted record and reference. Innocent until proven guilty, but without a proper investigation, high risk of them being guilty and undetected.....
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Bishbashbosh
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Bishbashbosh »

Page 1:
Our main purpose in writing to you is to apologise on behalf of the Council and the whole of Christ's Hospital for the abuse you suffered when you were at the school. It is a source of great sadness to us that our pupils were treated in such a selfish and unscrupulous way by adults who so fundamentally betrayed the trust placed in them. We are greatful for and admire the strength you have shown in bringing your abuser to justice and hope that there is some comfort in the outcome of the trial for you. The impact that such abuse has on survivors long into their adult lives is clear to us and we are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that we can learn from the lessons of the past.

Today, we recognise that the school must face up to its past and cannot hide from it. It is unthinkable now that the wellbeing and prospects of any adult would be given priority over the welfare of a child. We do everything we can to ensure the safety and happiness of our pupils. This includes commissioning an external specialist to review our current procedures to take us beyond compliance with the law to a place where this aspiration can be realised in every aspect of our teaching and care.
e/o page 1, page 2 to follow (just arriving to work)
Bishbashbosh
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Bishbashbosh »

Will update, just been busy with life. Later today I think!
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by MrEd »

The difficulty is "can they prove that the staff member knew and failed...."? Otherwise they lay themselves open to charges of improper dismissal, slander/libel.
It isn't quite like that, legally if a teacher has 2 years service and the right to claim unfair dismissal, then (and I simplify regarding discrimination and 'whistleblowing'), in order to dismiss for misconduct (e.g. failing to report an incident) a school needs to act 'reasonably' in treating that conduct as sufficient reason to dismiss, and if someone is under 2 years, at most they would get their notice entitlement (which might be quite significant) but could be dismissed with simple notice. That however, might be a term, most schools require long notice from teachers for obvious reasons, to avoid disruption.

Generally, even if you have unfair dismissal protection after 2 years service, your employer can dismiss you fairly on the basis of a 'reasonable belief' in misconduct if not reporting (assuming that is an understood duty on the teacher), provided that belief is genuinely held on reasonable grounds (i.e. a fair and thorough investigation, and a proper disciplinary process) even if it can't 'prove' that you 'did it'. So, if a malicious group of pupils (or even one) made a convincing allegation against a teacher of abuse or misconduct, the School could dismiss fairly on the basis of those allegations without other corroboration. Where it gets tricky is with notice entitlements as to deprive any employee of notice, the employer must prove it more likely than not that gross misconduct took place. There can also be issues with improper suspension and claims for career or psychiatric damage if a teacher is wrongly accused, and I am sure that the School would not want to be too trigger-happy in dismissing teachers, who must nowadays dread malicious allegations.

Coming back to Mr Webb's case, I would have thought that at the time, he could and should have been dismissed without notice for gross misconduct, been reported to the police and been given a truthful reference, which might have been 'He was fired for fondling a young boy.', which should have ended his teaching career stone-dead even if the police had decided not to prosecute (the CPS was nascent at best then).

What is CH other than a collection of assets directed towards providing an education to many poor wenches, incorporated by a Royal Charter and run by fallible and sometimes gullible or devious human beings? There can never have been any reason to protect the 'good name of School' by concealing abuse, this could not be noble cause corruption, the successor to the very King who founded the School is there to uphold the laws that make abuse illegal. The School was founded to provide for education, not founded to provide a career of choice and escape committee for perverts and paedophiles. If the School had fallen into the hands of those who chose to make it the latter, then it must be held to account for that. It is not as if in the 1980s child abuse allegations were not taken seriously, they were, that's why there was the cover-up, there wouldn't be a cover-up if a teacher had done something less serious, e.g. stolen the takings from the Grecians' Club.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by sejintenej »

MrEd wrote: Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:45 pm

Generally, even if you have unfair dismissal protection after 2 years service, your employer can dismiss you fairly on the basis of a 'reasonable belief' in misconduct if not reporting (assuming that is an understood duty on the teacher), provided that belief is genuinely held on reasonable grounds (i.e. a fair and thorough investigation, and a proper disciplinary process) even if it can't 'prove' that you 'did it'. So, if a malicious group of pupils (or even one) made a convincing allegation against a teacher of abuse or misconduct, the School could dismiss fairly on the basis of those allegations without other corroboration. Where it gets tricky is with notice entitlements as to deprive any employee of notice, the employer must prove it more likely than not that gross misconduct took place.
It can all too easily come down to "he says, I say" and in those days how many organisations had a formal procedure unless forced to have one by the unions? It was simply up to the boss-man.
There can never have been any reason to protect the 'good name of School' by concealing abuse, this could not be noble cause corruption, the successor to the very King who founded the School is there to uphold the laws that make abuse illegal.

Quite the converse; if the school had clearly sacked a teacher they could make the point that "we will not tolerate improper behaviour" then that could have been a publicity benefit. However I suspect that their legal eagles would have advised against unless there was clear and irrefutable evidence from third parties such as video/film or several adults who personally witnessed the acts - an unlikely proposition!. Things were different in those days and note that it is the CPS who are preferring the charges today, not the school.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by TMF »

The institutional reason for things being handled ineffectively (in my view) is that the bad behavior patterns of the school were interlinked. You can see this in the lengthy analysis and discussion on these forum pages: bullying, corporal punishment, grooming, and child abuse are favorite topics - with reams of memories and analysis. These 'activities' are interlinked. An abuser once caught indicates that he himself is actually a victim and threatens the authorities with revealing more about the school than is desirable, and so is treated with 'compassion' and a parting helper trip to the Norfolk Broads.

It is difficult for most people to make the connections between the various bad activities but they are linked. The second rate AE Housman wannabes (c.f. Buck), for whatever reasons, were hot heads (or could not control their impulses in modern terms), risk takers, who coveted boys, and liked to beat people (like Peter Roebuck). Not an easy lot to relate to. It is all extremely sad, and I think that the school is utterly failing people at this point.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by MrEd »

There can never have been any reason to protect the 'good name of School' by concealing abuse, this could not be noble cause corruption, the successor to the very King who founded the School is there to uphold the laws that make abuse illegal.

Quite the converse; if the school had clearly sacked a teacher they could make the point that "we will not tolerate improper behaviour" then that could have been a publicity benefit. However I suspect that their legal eagles would have advised against unless there was clear and irrefutable evidence from third parties such as video/film or several adults who personally witnessed the acts - an unlikely proposition!. Things were different in those days and note that it is the CPS who are preferring the charges today, not the school.
I think that we are at cross-purposes here. My very point is that by sacking any abusers (and as I have suggested previously, sticking the press cuttings up in the Common Room and House noticeboards,) the School would have shouted from the rooftops that this was not a place for pervs and paedos.

If the legal eagles had suggested not dismissing a teacher who had been found in the dormitory with his hands on a child's genitals then they should be disbarred for gross professional incompetence, it was obvious to everyone that an appalling crime had been committed, there would be no reason for a cover-up if there had not been a crime.

The CPS was only founded in 1985 (Webb left before that) so it might have been something for the nascent CPS but at the immediate time, the Sussex Police would have brought any charges in the name of the Crown. The CPS (which I have worked for briefly) is something of a red herring, I was simply referring to it for historical accuracy.
It can all too easily come down to "he says, I say" and in those days how many organisations had a formal procedure unless forced to have one by the unions? It was simply up to the boss-man.
I have suggested that the School disclose any advice sought at the time, but it does not really come down 'he says, I say' in employment law, it comes down to the though-process of the employer assessing the evidence obtained from a fair investigation, and one of the peculiarities of unfair dismissal law is that an Industrial Tribunal (as they then were) is not there to act as a final layer of appeal and decide if a dismissal is right or wrong in an unfair dismissal claim, but to decide if it was 'fair' in terms of being a reasonable decision achieved by a reasonable procedure. Even if a Tribunal thinks it's a tough rap, they are not allowed to substitute their own decision for that of the employer, but are there to see if a reasonable employer could have come to such a decision. Had the School been properly advised, (and that's assuming it ever asked, as asking for advice creates a trail), then it could have dismissed Mr Webb and almost certainly would have won an Industrial Tribunal unfair dismissal claim and a claim for his notice. If he had made a case out of it, then he would only have been putting out evidence that should have been before the Crown Court some time in 1984.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by wurzel »

The usual method is school is the accused teacher is placed on suspension on full standard pay until the investigation is complete with no contact with vulnerable people - if only because if they are found not guilty then no compensation for lost earnings is needed. From Safeguarding courses I have been on You have to remember 3 things (in order)

1. There is a need to protect all possible victims
2. Innocent until proven guilty
Particular to caring professions
3. Risk of damage to reputation (of the accused)

Suspension on full pay immediately upon accusation is the current way of doing things
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb »

According to the Court of Appeal transcript (para 9) Webb admitted what he had done to staff at the school in 1984.

An employer can only suspend on full pay if the contract of employment allows it. For some reason, very few do.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by wurzel »

I meant the common practice now - I have no idea what was common practice in 84
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