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Saturday, 18 March 2017 17:22

Duke of York's Royal Military School - Allegations of Cover Up of Abuse

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report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday was headed 'MoD accused of covering up abuse claims at top Army School'. It reports that “Kent Police has launched a review into the force's alleged failure to investigate dozens of criminal allegations at The Duke of York's Royal Military School near Dover, and at least one detective inspector has been disciplined. The force has set up a dedicated team to review claims about the school". There was a follow-up story on Monday

Duke of Yorks 1

The school website notes

School statement regarding recent inaccurate reporting
Following inaccurate and misleading reports in the Telegraph, the School wishes to make it absolutely clear that it is not under investigation by the police. In addition, the School is taking action against the Telegraph’s deeply flawed articles

See also communication sent out to past students of the school by the school Alumni & Development Manager, below. The school's statement that it is NOT under investigation by the police is incorrect; the existence of an ongoing investigation, Operation Snowdon has already seen its first outcomes - the suspension of several Police Officers. 

The school appears to be facing a crisis of numbers, with just 12 places offered at secondary transfer in March, compared with 36 at this stage in 2016, and 38 in 2015. Whilst numbers do rise through the years as explained below, it would appear that the school is suffering badly from its reputation and one must now question the viability of  this school in its new £25 million premises.   

It would clearly be inappropriate to comment on the abuse allegations until the School’s legal action is concluded (if it has ever started). However, it is reported that a police investigation, Operation Snowdon run by the Police Protection Unit based at Canterbury Police Station, is looking at these allegations. This is headed up by Superintendent Susie Harper who can be contacted through phone number 01227 868310. 

Families who are concerned about issues of abuse may alternatively wish to contact Whistleblowers UK or official channels for advice. 

School Places
Duke of York's offers some of its places through the national school allocations scheme in March each year, but also relies on students applying later on an individual basis, not just in Year Seven but also in older age groups. Whilst the table below may look complex, it shows for example that in 2014, 23 children were offered places on allocation to Year 7 in March, by the time of the October census, numbers had doubled to 48. By Year 8, as measured in the 2015 census, this age group now in Year 8, had risen further due to new pupils joining to 69, and last October now in Year 9 there were 79 pupils in the cohort.  
Duke of York's RMS, Pupil Numbers,
October Census
Year
Year Seven
Allocations
2017 Age
Group
2013
Census
2014
Census
2015
Census
2016
Census
2017 12 Year 7        
2016 36 Year 8       60
2015 38 Year 9     69 77
2014 23 Year 10   48 69 79
2013 39 Year 11 44 56 80 94

For September 2017 admission, the school refused places to 14 first choice applicants, presumably under the criterion they are allowed to use, that of unsuitability for boarding. There may well be a conflict here with the priority given in the admission criteria to "Children with a boarding need, at risk or with an unstable home environment. Such applications must be supported by the child’s home Local Authority or be supported, in writing, by an appropriate professional such as a social worker which demonstrates “why the Child would benefit from attending a boarding school”.  

Whilst each cohort shows a steady increase as older pupils transfer in to the school, in most years, the number of Year pupils arriving in Year Seven is approximately double the March allocations. This suggests that in September, the number arriving could be around 24, although the current  bad publicity is surely bound to reduce this further to a long term non-viable figure. It is also reported, but not confirmed that some families have removed their children from the school which will add to the pressures. 

In spite of the shrinking numbers, the academy's financial position may be secure because of an annual grant from the Ministry of Defence, totalling £891,858 in 2016 for 'Ministry of Defence Military Ethos'. That is an awful lot for ethos!  

The following communication sent out to 'Dukies', former students of the school, has been sent to me by one of them. 

Message sent on behalf of the Principal, Alex Foreman:

Following the Telegraph's recent inaccurate and misleading articles based on the historical allegations made by a vexatious ex-parent and her associates, I want to assure you that the school is NOT being investigated by the police.

Many of you have sent us positive messages of support directly or on social media, and we are very grateful. Such unfounded attacks are disheartening, especially when the School has been forensically inspected and exonerated by Ofsted; indeed, we've had nothing but good reports.

You should also be aware that we are doing everything we can to allay any concerns and we are preparing a complaint for the Independent Press Standards Organisation against the Telegraph.

Unfortunately, we cannot stop this ex-parent repeatedly making allegations, but we can continue to strive to ensure our standards are high in all areas. As you can see in the School's Ofsted reports, we have much to be proud of.  

If you do have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the School.

Best wishes,

Jenny

Jenny Grant

Alumni & Development Manager

The Duke of York's Royal Military School

Dover

Kent 

CT15 5EQ

T: 01304 245078

 

You may wish to visit the final comments on the Needleblog to catch a thought on this. Previous comments there also make quite hairy reading! There is a possibly unrelated and unverified news report here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read 1572 times Last modified on Monday, 10 July 2017 11:05

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 02 May 2017 21:30 posted by Tracy Austin

    I have just been made aware of the school's incorrect letter. As I am named in The Telegraph article, and know it to be accurate, I have forwarded the school letter to my legal team.
    Tracy Austin

  • Comment Link Saturday, 15 April 2017 05:28 posted by Victims Father

    This has been going on for years, see various articles in the Needleblog. The comments are very revealing, for example at https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/the-duke-of-yorks-royal-military-school-serious-welfare-incidents/#comments. Is someone at last going to take action, or will this still continue. Luckily the number of potential students at risk is falling, but why is the Army letting down in its soldiers in this way. Establishment Rules!!

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