Menuhin and Purcell schools under scrutiny in child sex inquiry

Menuhin and Purcell schools under scrutiny in child sex inquiry


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2019

Yesterday was the turn of the Yehudi Menuhin School and Purcell School to face up to past failures to protect pupils from paedophile teachers, in appearances before the the UK Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse.

You can read a transcript of the day’s proceedings here.

Details were revealed of a late-night discussion session with pupils which led to the summary departure of Purcell head Peter Crook.

Apologies were in short supply.

More follows.



  • purcell alum says:

    The main points after quick scan of transcript, which we always knew but are now in writing.
    1) A girl having a ‘relationship’ with a teacher was asked to leave. Crook didn’t seem to understand how there could be something wrong if she was over 16 [this was my year and it definitely started before 6th form]. A police officer actually pointed out to him that maybe they should consider the fact that he was an adult and she was a child. There were later allegations about the same member of staff.
    2) After a couple were found in a common room, Crook questioned them at 9.00pm, asking ‘did you fuck her yet, did you put your cock in her mouth’. I have to say this was a pretty standard incident at Purcell and would also include other staff, many of us experienced similar.
    4) There was brief mention of the (rampant) peer to peer abuse at Purcell which was standard, no mention of the alumni who would also come to ‘visit’
    3) The ‘PSHE’ lesson with year 9 boys which most already knew about.
    4) There was another relationship between a girl and another teacher, and Crook found them on the field. He didn’t believe the girl because she was prone to dramatics.
    5) Crook generally demonstrated his repulsive misogyny very nicely

    Looking forward to an apology.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Absolutely dreadful. And I thought the Catholic Church was the exclusively evil empire when it came to pedophiles. They need to screen teachers far more thoroughly, it seems to me.

      I watched the film “Mona Lisa Smile” recently and it was set in the early 1950s. A teacher in that film was openly having relationships with the female students (over 18) and that was considered not unusual. What is the story with students above the age of consent and does it simply come down to professional ethics in these cases?

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Menuhin school already had a controversy in the past, if I remember correctly.

  • Lewes Bird says:

    Phew. Reading the headline I feared the performances of Dido and King Arthur I’m attending at the Berlin Barocktage in November had been cancelled, because ol’ Henry was caught with his trousers down back in 1690.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    I can think of a another very famous music college whose principal had a very questionable approach to such matters.
    A former professor was jailed a few years ago for raping two of his students in soundproofed teaching studios.
    The mother of one of the victims was told by the principal at the time that the best solution was that she enrol her daughter at another college.
    (This is all in the public domain).

    • Ian Pace says:

      That Principal’s successor told another victim of the same teacher (the range of whose offences beggars belief) that if she dared go to the police, she could kiss goodbye to a musical career. The same individual said something similar to another student who was violently sexually assaulted by another teacher at the same institution.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Indeed, I have been told that the professor in question wasn’t the only sexual predator at that particular college.