Ampleforth and Downside

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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Observer
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Ampleforth and Downside

Post by Observer »

CH management might be feeling relieved that the Karim sentencing story was rather overshadowed by the publication of the IICSA report on serious child safeguarding failings at Ampleforth and Downside. However, CH would do well to follow closely how these two institutions are responding. I would suggest they are fighting for their very survival (cf Douai Abbey).

Certain placatory phrases will sound familiar to those following events at CH. Would a prospective parent be reassured?

From the Downside website
We would like to reiterate our sincere and unreserved apology to all victims and survivors of sexual abuse suffered as a result of the actions of some within the Downside community. The Abbey and School fully acknowledges the serious failings and mistakes made in both protecting those within our care and responding to safeguarding concerns. We have reflected deeply and will continue to listen with the ear of the heart going forward to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. It is helpful that IICSA’s report recognises some of the significant steps we have and are continuing to take in order to address safeguarding challenges at Downside.

Downside recognises and appreciates the enormous task undertaken by the Inquiry and the efforts of those involved. The Abbey and School are very grateful to all those involved in the Inquiry and in particular the victims and survivors who demonstrated such bravery in coming forward and providing their evidence.  The Inquiry process has provided an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and to look forward with safeguarding as the foundation of everything we do. Since Downside representatives gave evidence to the Inquiry in November 2017, there have been a number of developments in relation to safeguarding at Downside. Significant changes have been implemented to date, such as monks no longer holding key positions in the School, and work continues to ensure we attain the highest standards in safeguarding.
From Ampleforth's website
At Ampleforth, we are committed to providing the highest possible standards when it comes to looking after those entrusted to our care and have welcomed the opportunity to work with IICSA on this wide-ranging inquiry into the best ways to protect children.    
We have publicly accepted responsibility for past failings on many occasions, and the Ampleforth of today has never been afraid to learn difficult lessons.   
We would like to thank Professor Jay and her team for the hard work that has gone into this comprehensive and extensive report and we will review it to identify anything that could inform our constant drive for improvement.  
In the meantime, we remain completely focused on the safety and wellbeing of those entrusted to our care and our commitment to implement meaningful change.  
We are in the process of developing our first ever Safeguarding Charter with Emma Moody of Womble, Bond and Dickinson, a nationally renowned specialist in charity law, education and expert in safeguarding.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by J.R. »

Could almost have been written by the same person.
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by marty »

Ampleforth is currently described as below on its Wikipedia page:

Ampleforth College is a disgraced, coeducational independent day and boarding school

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampleforth_College
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by richardb »

The press coverage will do the school untold harm.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by Observer »

Marty
Thanks for drawing my attention to Ampleforth's recently amended Wikipedia page.
They might like to edit this quote published on the same site
The Good Schools Guide called the school an "Unfailingly civilised and understanding top co-educational boarding Catholic school that has suffered from time to time as a result of its long liberal tradition." The Guide adds also that there is "A refreshing openness and honesty about the place these days."
Can CH claim to have 'A refreshing openness and honesty about the place these days'?

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by marty »

The Good Schools Guide says about CH:

"The pupils know they're lucky to be here. For every student who gets in, four or five are turned away. Most pupils love to sing and the cathartic feeling of their voices joined together, soaring past the frescoes in the chapel is one of the moments they squirrel away in their hearts. They are proud of their uniform, don’t mind being taunted as Harry Potter lookalikes on trains (they prefer references to The Matrix), are delighted to be recognised by Old Blues on the tube and smile wryly when…"

Who on earth is writing this stuff?!
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by marty »

Observer wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:29 pm

Can CH claim to have 'A refreshing openness and honesty about the place these days'?
Er, no. Unfortunately.
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by Observer »

the cathartic feeling of their voices joined together, soaring past the frescoes in the chapel is one of the moments they squirrel away in their hearts.
I've squirrelled away a few memories (best left squirrelled) but this is not one of them.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by Observer »

don’t mind being taunted
You are joking.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by richardb »

Has anyone read the CH wikipedia page recently? I am thinking particularly of the section on sexual abuse.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by marty »

Yep. Whoever put it all on there has stuck to known facts, presumably so the school cannot object to its inclusion.
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by J.R. »

marty wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:46 pm
The Good Schools Guide says about CH:

"The pupils know they're lucky to be here. For every student who gets in, four or five are turned away. Most pupils love to sing and the cathartic feeling of their voices joined together, soaring past the frescoes in the chapel is one of the moments they squirrel away in their hearts. They are proud of their uniform, don’t mind being taunted as Harry Potter lookalikes on trains (they prefer references to The Matrix), are delighted to be recognised by Old Blues on the tube and smile wryly when…"

Who on earth is writing this stuff?!

J.K. Rowling.

There's nowt like a good bit of advertising

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by bakunin »

They should reintroduce the bizarre medieval anchorite practice of sealing monks into tiny rooms without doors or windows until they die, that way the School would be safe from the Abbey.
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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by jakew »

As it happens I know someone who boarded at Downside during the relevant period. In order to safely uphold the family tradition, he has resorted to the rather drastic - in my view - action of moving to Somerset, so that his kids don't have to board.

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Re: Ampleforth and Downside

Post by Observer »

And the Governor at Downside with special responsibility for safeguarding was:
Lady Gillian Rees-Mogg, the MP’s mother, was the school governor with responsibility for child protection at Downside for some of this period. Her role, mentioned in evidence at the IICSA inquiry, is recorded in a July 2009 Downside school pamphlet on child protection and a subsequent Downside school parents handbook for 2010-11.

From The Guardian 20/3/18
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