Inquiry opens today into alleged abuses at English music schools

Inquiry opens today into alleged abuses at English music schools


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2019

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will hold hearings from 30 September to 11 October into allegations concerning residential music and special schools.

The first week will focus on residential music schools. Chetham’s School of Music, Wells Cathedral School, Yehudi Menuhin School and Purcell School are the ones named.

The hearings will take place from 10am to 4.15pm at 18 Pocock Street, London SE1 0BW.

Full details here.

You can watch the inquiry on livestream here.

Proceedings will be live-tweeted at . At the end of each day there will be a transcript of the day’s hearings.


  • Esther Cavett says:

    This comment on the transcript doesn’t bode well:

    “The original police file has been lost…”

  • Anonymous says:

    And meanwhile these institutions continue to fuck kids up non-sexually. But seemingly that doesn’t count, for no-one shows any actual interest in these less journalistically titillating forms of destructive teacher/student, and student/student, relationships: abusive and destructive relationships that are still taking place in these misguided hothouses. Having passed through one of these hell-holes myself in years gone by I was, last month, asked to listen to and speak with the still distraught daughter of a friend of mine who had left, more recently, the same institution I had attended, after having experienced a period of great distress brought about by constant bullying and almost ritualised humiliation from staff and, separately, from some other students. She will survive as she is a strong young woman, but she has vowed never to go near her musical instrument again, and she continues to worry for her few friends still incarcerated in the establishment where self-harm is (currently) extremely commonplace and where several of her generation – as well as many from previous generations – have attempted suicide. I also worry, not only for these youngsters, but likewise for the bullies amongst the students who, I’m sure, were they to be experiencing adequate educational standards, a proper element of pastoral care, and a richer social environment, would far better be able to deal with their own issues without making the lives of others a misery. However, as it seems in general the likelihood is that neither they, nor my friend’s daughter, have actually been touched up, everything is presumed to be just fine and dandy. So that’s alright, then.

    • Nicholas Ashton says:

      I agree completely with this very moving and perceptive comment on the way that the landscape of abuse has moved, from the obviously appalling circumstance of sexual and psychological abuse of children by teachers in specialist institutions, to the more insidious – and invisible – issue of bullying (perhaps by some isolated staff, but far more worryingly by students), within a culture where competiveness and negative comparison is encouraged, however carefully and concealingly it is dressed up.

      I also come from the same background as this commentator, and I have spent my career in teaching, some of which has been situated directly in putting back the pieces of fragmented and deeply unhappy (traumatised, in fact) former students together.

      It is laudable for the inquiry to concentrate on an analsyis of historic abuse, but I feel that the media concentration on the obvious may not penetrate more forensically to the daily, unfortunately seemingly mundane fact of more subtle forms of abuse, especially that of student-on-student.

  • Former musician says:

    I am a former student of Purcell and am horrified and amused to see the witness list, as I was just discussing with another class mate. After 10 years this is what we get? What a joke.