Paedophile ‘made up stories he was Jonny Wilkinson’s coach’

Keith Ruby. Photo: South West News Service

Keith Ruby. Photo: South West News Service - Credit:

SIDCOT School has said it carried out ‘all necessary checks’ on Keith Ruby before hiring him as a teacher.

Sidcot school, Winscombe.

Sidcot school, Winscombe. - Credit: Archant

In the wake of his sentencing, the school has said its safeguarding procedures were ‘completely compliant’ when he was hired ahead of the autumn term in 2004, and its former headteacher who was at the helm at the time said the school carried out CRB checks.

In a statement, the school said: “At Sidcot School we are all deeply shocked and saddened by the findings of this court case and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the actions of Keith Ruby.

“He has clearly broken the trust placed in him as a teacher by students, parents and the school in his conduct and it is right that he has been called to account through this trial.”

School leaders stressed that the abuse happened away from Sidcot premises after Ruby had left the school’s employment, and added: “Our safeguarding procedures, both now and at the time of these incidents, are completely compliant and all necessary checks on the suitability of Keith Ruby to work with children were carried out by the school.

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“However, unfortunately no vetting system can guarantee that every paedophile is identified. We are confident that Sidcot offers the greatest possible protection to its students and that the school has a justified reputation for the quality of its pastoral care, where staff work tirelessly to protect and nurture the welfare of students.”

Former headteacher John Walmsley, who left the school last year to become principal at Atlantic College in South Wales, explained the decision behind hiring Ruby.

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He said: “The junior school needed a few hours a week of sports coaching urgently.

“Keith Ruby was recommended by a nearby school where he was working.

“Some of our sports teachers had taken teams there to play sport and had heard good things about him.

“After working for the junior school for two terms and impressing everybody with his work we interviewed him for a post in the senior school.

“He had been CRB checked at his previous school and was clear. We CRB checked him and he was clear.

“References were taken up and checks were made to verify his degree qualification.”

However, Mr Walmsley said that although Ruby’s work in the junior school had been ‘excellent’, it became apparent that he was ‘arrogant and could not work in a team’.

Mr Walmsley said Ruby had become ‘petulant’ when he lobbied for expensive new equipment but failed to get it, had started to badmouth the school’s management to students and their parents, and had made up stories that he was coach to England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson, which he told to pupils.

The former headteacher said things came to a head in January when he returned after absence caused by stress.

He added: “I invited him into my office with a parent (who he had invited along as a friend) and he became very emotional and made it very obvious that he did not want to be there.

“The school then agreed to part company with him at the end of January, without making him work his notice. No references were asked for when he left and none were given.”

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