More details of child sexual abuse at Bridlington's Headlands School revealed

More details of how a Bridlington School will be examined as part of a national sexual abuse probe have been revealed.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 10:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 10:40 am
Headlands School.

Independent Inquiry - Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) held its preliminary hearing on Tuesday ahead of a two-week inquiry which will include analysing past events at Headlands School.

The hearing heard that six former members of staff had been convicted of sexual offending.

Science teacher Steven Edwards was convicted of sexual assaults against four female pupils, between 2001 and 2004, in 2007.

The hearing heard that social services had undertaken an investigation about his behaviour with a pupil back in 2004 but the pupil refused to disclose that anything untoward had happened to her at that stage.

“Despite social services investigating, there was no suspension of Mr Edwards during this investigation, nor were investigations undertaken of allegations and rumours which had been circulating about him prior to 2004,” Fiona Scolding QC told the hearing.

Former Head of Art Ian Blott pleaded guilty, in 2006, to four counts of sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 17, between 2003 and 2004.

“Rumours had circulated of his previous relationships with pupils at least from 1993, and in one case concerns had been raised in 1984, but no investigation was undertaken at the school about those concerns,” said Ms Scolding.

“When the victim disclosed those concerns at the school, she experienced harassment and distress by individuals disbelieving her and not wishing her to pursue her complaints further.”

Terry Mann was teaching at Headlands while living with a former pupil in 2001.

The young woman was 19 and he was 47. She denied that the relationship began when she was at Headlands School.

He left this school and then went to teach at another school. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to possessing indecent images of children, as he had pictures on his phone of a 15-year-old girl engaging in masturbation and also a video of him and the young woman kissing.

Ms Scolding told the hearing that another teacher at Headlands moved to a school in the southwest of England in the early 2000s. He resigned from his post at that school in 2003, after having admitted having sexual intercourse with a pupil.

She said: “All these four teachers had concerns raised about them while teaching at Headlands, but no action, or certainly no effective action, was taken.”

While a major inquiry - commissioned by the local authority - was ongoing, two more individuals came to light.

Lindsay Collet - a cover supervisor - pleaded guilty in August 2008 to kissing a 15-year-old pupil.

Her replacement, Christopher Reen, pleaded guilty in 2010 to a number of sexual offences relating to a child who was at the school.

Ms Scolding said: “The issues raised by this school are multiple, but plainly include: the training of staff; the management of governors; the oversight of the local authority; how one deals with low-level concerning behaviour; how one creates a safe organisational culture; and the extent to which inspection and monitoring can, and do, identify child protection deficits.”

The inquiry - which will also examine two other schools - will sit for two weeks in May.

The first phase of the investigation examined music and special educational needs schools. This phase will take a broader look at safeguarding procedures within the schools sector.