130 private schools in child abuse scandal

Teachers at 130 independent schools have been implicated in sex crimes against hundreds of children, an analysis has revealed.

Experts warn of a looming scandal over the abuse of boys in boarding schools during the past half century. The list features dozens of Britain’s leading public schools as well as 20 elite prep schools that regularly send children to Eton College. Included are 64 mainstream private-sector establishments, most of them boarding schools, where at least one male teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing boys, and a further 30 at which a member of staff was sentenced for possessing child abuse images.

Analysis of past crimes, scandals and police investigations at 130 schools reveals a significant surge in criminal prosecutions since 2012, often for offences that happened many years ago. Should the pattern continue, it is likely to damage schools’ reputations and finances. With annual boarding fees averaging £27,000, many are increasingly reliant on income from the 25,400 foreign pupils who occupy more than a third of boarding school beds. Across the UK, about 6.5 per cent of schoolchildren are educated in the independent sector. One specialist linked the significant growth in complaints to an increasing national awareness of the lasting damage caused by such crimes. Britain’s middle classes had belatedly decided that it is “socially respectable” to discuss childhood abuse, it was claimed while the head of a victims’ campaign group suggested that traditional male “stiff upper lip” attempts to shrug aside sexual trauma were increasingly viewed as outdated. In the past 20 years, one or more men who taught at 62 independent schools, including Haberdashers’ Aske’s, Ampleforth College, Wellington College, King Edward’s School Birmingham and The Oratory School, Reading, have been convicted of sex crimes — from indecent assault to gross indecency and buggery — against 277 male pupils.

Prosecutions involving 18 of those 62 schools came to court in the past two years. Former teachers from a further four independent schools have been charged and are awaiting trial. Eton, Marlborough, Millfield, Oundle and onbridge are among 30 other schools where a male teacher has been convicted of possessing child abuse images. Downside School, Somerset, features in both categories. Another 36 private-sector schools have been linked to child abuse. They include as-yet unresolved prosecutions, civil actions for damages following an alleged abuser’s death and police investigations that led to arrests but no charges. In this category are Harrow, Sedbergh and Durham Schools, all raided in the late 1990s during a nationwide investigation into an alleged paedophile network of teachers at six leading public schools. teacher at each school was questioned and material including photographs, videos, letters and computer equipment was seized. No one was prosecuted because of the lack of evidence. ourt orders prohibit naming some schools. They include two leading London public schools.

If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist historic child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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