Ex-teacher is accused of sex abuse - again

PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 17:01 23 June 2011

Views of Sidcot School

Views of Sidcot School

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SEXUAL abuse allegations have been made against a former teacher at a 
private school in Somerset - five years after a similar allegation against the same man was dismissed.

The man, who cannot be named, is currently on police bail after a former male pupil claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the teacher at Sidcot School, near Winscombe, seven years ago.

A similar accusation was made against the same man by a colleague back in 2006, but an investigation cleared the teacher of any wrongdoing.

The teacher who made this allegation - and a number of other, unrelated claims, described as ‘vexatious’ by headteacher John Walmsley - was later sacked. His dismissal was upheld by an industrial tribunal.

The school is one of several Quaker establishments around the country, and currently has 515 pupils aged between three and 18.

Allegations about sexual abuse by the former teacher were made by a member of staff in 2006 which led to an arrest.

However, a lengthy police investigation did not result in criminal charges being pressed against the accused individual.

In a letter sent to parents, Sidcot headteacher John Walmsley this week confirmed a new police investigation is under way, saying: “The police anticipate that he [the former teacher] will remain on bail for some time while their enquiries are carried out.

“Whilst we are deeply concerned by this news, we want to reassure you that we have always employed strict child safeguarding measures.

“For all potential candidates we pursue references from previous employers and obtain enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks during the recruitment process.

“In 2006 we had an audit that found our systems to be the most robust in the county. We have since had two Independent Schools Inspectorate inspections, both of which endorse our recruitment procedures and wider child safeguarding measures throughout the school.

“The most recent inspection was in January this year and found us completely compliant.”

The man arrested has been told to have no contact with the alleged victim and surrender his passport. He also has to make regular, planned visits to his local police station in Burnham.

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