Exclusive Catholic school barred from taking new students

Ampleforth College

The UK government has ordered one of England’s most prestigious Catholic boarding schools to stop admitting new pupils as a result of “very serious” failings.

Ampleforth College is a £36,000-a-year Catholic boarding school. It claims to be “the world’s foremost co-educational Catholic boarding and day school for students aged 11 to 18”.

Scandal has surrounded the private school in recent years.

An independent inquiry into child sexual abuse published a highly critical report in August 2018. The report said: “appalling sexual abuse [was] inflicted over decades on children as young as seven”.

The school was found to have “prioritised the monks and their own reputation over the protection of children”.

Cuthbert Madden, the abbot of Ampleforth Abbey (which is attached to the school), stepped down from his post in 2016. His resignation followed allegations he indecently assaulted pupils. Madden has denied the claims.

In February 2020, former Ampleforth College monk Peter Turner, 80 was jailed for more than 20 years. He was found guilty of sexually abusing a number of students in the 1980′ and 90’s.

The Department for Education (DfE) sent a letter to the North Yorkshire school’s proprietor on Nov 27 as part of an enforcement action. In the letter Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the school to stop accepting new pupils to “safeguard the education and well-being of children”.

“The SoS [Secretary of State] also had regard to the fact that that the school is failing to meet the ISS [Independent School Standards], including standards relating to safeguarding and leadership and management, and in his view, these failings are considered to be very serious.”

The letter did say the school had “some willingness” to improve since 2018 – including adding new leadership. But, Mr Williamson ruled the college’s progress had been “too slow” and “insufficient”.

Ampleforth has said it will appeal against the ruling because the order is “unjustified and based on incorrect information”.

A spokesperson for the college said, “We will be appealing this on the basis that we believe it is unjustified and based on incorrect information.”

“As far as we are concerned, we will continue to educate our students to the very high standards they are used to in a safe and supportive environment. We have lodged a complaint to Ofsted and await the outcome of that complaint.”

In February 2020, former Ampleforth College monk Peter Turner, 80 – who continued to abuse young boys after confessing to having sexual contact with a pupil – was jailed for more than 20 years.


The Tablet

The Guardian


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,