CLIFTON COLLEGE’S “WALL OF SILENCE” OVER TEACHER’S ABUSE. Inspectors were faced with a “wall of silence” at a private school where a teacher abused pupils, an inquiry heard.
November 27, 2020
Jonathan Thomson-Glover, who admitted abusing boys at Clifton College in Bristol, was jailed in August 2015.
A senior inspector said the school's "culture of minimisation" had made it more difficult to uncover wrongdoing.
The college formally apologised for "letting down children and their parents" last week.
Richard Johnson told an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing it became clear that there had been an "artificially high threshold" for pupils to make complaints when an inspection took place in 2013.
Mr Johnson, a deputy chief inspector of the Independent Schools Inspectorate, blamed a "lack of candour" amongst staff that meant inspectors were not told of their concerns.
"It seems that Jonathan Thomson-Glover had this sort of charmed life within the school and if someone at the time had said to us 'look, generally, we think we're pretty good but there are a couple of [staff] we're pretty worried about', that would have given us a thread," he told the inquiry.
"But if the school isn't candid or the culture doesn't encourage them to step forward...and you get a wall of silence, it does give us an uphill struggle."
Former Clifton College head teacher Mark Moore said last week it "didn't occur" to him to tell police Thomson-Glover took pupils to a holiday home.
Thomson-Glover was jailed for three years and nine months after admitting to 36 counts of making, taking and possessing indecent images of children.
The 58-year-old secretly filmed more than 120 boys - aged between 12 and 17 - over a 16-year period.
He was later convicted of sexually abusing boys at his holiday home in Cornwall and was given an additional six-month sentence.
Clifton College was founded in 1862 and describes itself on its website as "a leading independent public school". The fee for boarders is about £30,000 a year.
The college's leadership has changed since the incidents involving Thomson-Glover took place.
Clifton College's 'wall of silence' over teacher's abuse - BBC News
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