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Shocking goings on by Megan Stammer's school

(90 Posts)
Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 15:48:44

If all the press reports are accurate.

The school and County Council / LA claim they have been investigating the relationhip between Forrest and the girl since a pull brought it to thier attention, and reports say he was to be suspended on Friday. And yet the girls mother had not been told of any of this, and thought she was simply attending maths coaching. Why would they investigate an inappropriate relationship between a child and a staff member and not tell the child's parents?

The school has recently been involved in a 'grooming' and unlawful sex case involving 2 other girls and a male teacher.

One of the Governors was charged in June with numerous (38) sex offences involving children and young teens dating back to the 60s and 70s. Despite the fact that he was suspended by the CoE when these allegations came to lighht, he was allowed to remain a school governor - "At the time the headteacher at the school Terry Boatwright reassured parents that the allegations were historical, dating back more than 40-years in some cases and were not connected with the school."

Terrible, terrible safeguarding lapses all round.



JaneH99 Tue 25-Sep-12 23:01:15

You may wish to read tomorrow's Daily Mail. I understand there is a substantial article providing its not bumped. The school, the LA, and the Governors have many difficult questions to answer. But for now the priority is Megan and Mr Forrest.

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 23:10:13

Not a chance in hell I will read tomorrow's Daily Mail, or the next day's or any other. Do you know them? Just seems odd to refer to him as Mr Forrest.

clam Tue 25-Sep-12 23:22:22

Slightly off-topic I know, but can anyone tell me how it would apparently be OK for the school to prescribe, via a school nurse, the morning-after pill without my knowledge, but refuse to administer paracetamol even if I've verbally sanctioned it over the phone?

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 23:28:22

Don't really know but am guessing one was sanctioned by a medical professional who was then responsible for their action and trained. The other would be administered by a teacher or TA who would not be trained and might be uncomfortable with you diagnosing over the phone.

clam Tue 25-Sep-12 23:33:11

But my point is that I have to give written permission for them to give paracetamol to dd (who suffers from migraines), yet it would appear that not only do they not need my permission for the morning-after pill, but they actively will not even inform me that she might have had it.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 10:52:47

Jane - all v informative.

I doubt there is any assumption that it could not happen to any of us - our concern is exactly that it COULD, As well as concern that is has happened to this girl. And I do not see that discussion, which illuminates these issues, and asks questions, is in any way an impediment to the urgency of finding Megan.

As for reading a school's safeguarding policy, I can read my child's school's policy online, and will do so to check it's consistency with what you say. However, it seems, if the BBC are reporting accurately, that the school in question was not so transparent here

And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?

I think it is important to raise these questions as they arise - because once it is all quiet agian, hopefully soon, with Megan safely back at home, the long drawn out behind the scenes investigations and recommendations will not get the publicity. Whereas now, many many organisations and parents will be thinking 'there but for the grace of god' and checking their policies and practices.

Debate or discussing apparant and alledged breaches in practice is not a witch hunt.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 11:17:27

Yes, there is a big article in the DM - here

It suggests / alledges that police ahd already interviewed Megan and Forrest and asked for their phones.

Can the police interview minors and take their property without parents knowing?

amidaiwish Wed 26-Sep-12 11:52:52

clam don't start me off
in the summer DD2 has bad hayfever
i have to come to the school at lunchtime to administer it to her myself! like i have nothing better to do...
they will only give it to her if on prescription, the doctor will only prescribe benadryl which is useless. piriton is the only one that gives her any relief. grrrrrr

amidaiwish Wed 26-Sep-12 11:57:44

so the school knew
her friends knew
the police knew
everyone but her parents
@&%$! i would be going ballistic. something is seriously wrong with this policy regarding a 15 year old, no? It's illegal for starters.

meditrina Wed 26-Sep-12 12:03:55

"Can the police interview minors and take their property without parents knowing?"

Yes, to interview (but an appropriate adult must be present): property, I don't know.

I think that the burgeoning number of incomplete accounts is unlikely to add clarity to what on earth happened before they vanished. I hope there will be a proper investigation idc.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 12:05:23

Interesting that a school can and will contact SS at the merest hint of abuse at home (and righfully so - IMO) but can apparantly have detailed knowledge of unlawful treatment of a minor by one of their own employees and the parents can not know!!

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 12:08:56

"I think that the burgeoning number of incomplete accounts is unlikely to add clarity to what on earth happened before they vanished"

True - and there is the need to protect Megan's privacy, too, plenty needs to remain rightfully confidential.

But I think many of us will be wanting to understand our rights and responsibilities wrt safeguarding, and what we can expect from a genuinely robust system.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 13:20:57

Oh sh*t, so the Mail thinks they ran away the day after they were questioned by police? Really hope that's an exaggeration. Otherwise the police will have an awful lot of questions to answer as well as the school and county council...

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:09:34

'And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?'

Out of everything, this is the thing that horrifies me most of all. I'm a governor, and I cannot believe for one second that anyone on my governing body would remain if someone else on the body had been facing such allegations. Even if they turned out to be innocent, I cannot understand why any headteacher/head of governors would allow them to remain in post. It would make a mockery of safeguarding and child protection policies.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:10:33

'so the school knew
her friends knew
the police knew
everyone but her parents'

I'm not convinced that they didn't know. I find it impossible that they would not.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:11:33

Just realised my post sounds a bit confusing. What I mean is, I can't imagine anyone on my governing body would want to remain in post if the person accused of sex offences was retained.

JaneH99 Wed 26-Sep-12 14:36:04


And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?

It has already been reported in the link that follows, that Rideout's CRB indicated he was a risk to children in 2010.

Rideout's CRB report clearly indicated to the school that he was a risk. But the decision to appoint him as Chairman of Governors falls to the school having accounted for the information in the CRB. Surprisingly perhaps, a poor CRB does not automatically bar a candidate from a job - it is for the school / setting to decide. And lets not forget the Chairmanship of Governors requires an enhanced CRB providing maximum detail, and Rideout was arrested in 2002 about multiple complaints.

He was appointed as Chairman of Bishop Bell School with the Board knowing that this made him statutorily responsible for child protection at the school. It is an example of spectacular incompetence.

A great deal more will likely emerge when Megan Stammers is found.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 14:39:03

Someone further down the thread said the (CofE) school is in a diocese that was stripped of its responsiblity for safeguarding after a series of failures. Maybe that context is relevant in the governors choosing a chair who was accused of sex offences. I'm a governor and I'm astonished this happended.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:49:47

Me too Edam. Astonished that it happened, and astonished that it wasn't commented on in an Ofsted report, as Ofsted must look at safeguarding policies. Also astonished that he could have continued, given that the allegations against him could have easily been known by any parent or teacher at the school.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 17:37:00

Jane: I agree. And the situation wrt the Canon is worse than I originally thought, as your link demonstrates.

I did know that it is for an employer or other body to do a risk assessment on the outcome of a CRB check rather than it being a ban per se. Indeed I have been presented with a less than squeaky clean enhanced CRB and in accountable consultation and decision making come to the conclusion that the material disclosed is indeed of no relevance or risk in the context of the role. But for a school to take that decision about someone investigated for multiple sex offences and about the person with ultimate responsibility for safeguarding robs them of any credibility whatsoever.

There must have been parental disquiet, surely ofsted would have been, or should have been aware?

It will all come out. idc.

gallifrey Wed 26-Sep-12 22:24:32

I am horrified, I live near Bishop Bell school and it has a really good reputation and is one of the best schools in eastbourne.
I shall certainly think about whether I want to send my daughter there now.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 23:13:36

The parents of children at Bishop Bell presumably didn't know that the chair of governors had a dodgy CRB check that revealed accusations of multiple cases of abuse.

Council spokespeople and the local MP (who refused to investigate when tipped off by a child protection expert that the school were refusing to publish their safeguarding policy) are claiming Ofsted said that safeguarding policy was great. No idea whether that's true but even if it was, it's just another arm of officialdom that has failed the children at that school and Megan in particular.

When I've worked on patient safety, experts have spoken of the swiss cheese analogy - that you need a system that stops the holes in the cheese lining. Things will never be perfect, but your system should make sure individual failings don't add up into something huge. This school - senior staff and governors - council, police force, MP, Ofsted, all seem to have been dangerously complacent about safeguarding. Repeatedly.

MissM Thu 27-Sep-12 09:41:26

Absolutely Edam. Presumably the headteacher did know about the CRB check, or at the very least the local authority did. The complacency is horrifying, especially in light of what's in the news today about the Rochdale case.

meditrina Thu 27-Sep-12 09:50:03

If the governor was exonerated from previous charges, then there is no reason why he should not continue. What I find baffling is that he was not suspended whilst further charges were pending (trial soon, isn't there?)

Not having their policy on line isn't a key point. Nor is not sending it out on demand to a campaigner unconnected with the school. The key point is whether it exists, is adequate and was followed. We don't know the answers to any of those yet (though there are assertions that it exists, and I tend to believe them as OFSTED would have noticed a total absence). It's adequacy, and whether it was followed must surely be investigated now. And it is in the public interest for findings to be published, but I've no idea how long that would reasonably take.

diddl Thu 27-Sep-12 09:54:54

Bit OT here-sorry, but if she has gone with him willingly-is it still kidnap because she´s only 15 & no consent from parents?

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