Alumni Statement from the Headmaster

In recent months a small number of our alumni have come forward to tell us about their personal experience as pupils of Sedbergh in the Seventies and Eighties.  They have described a harsh and sometimes severe culture, where emotional and physical bullying by some pupils, and in certain cases staff, appears to have been tolerated.  They have also spoken of the lasting damage that such treatment can inflict.

We were distressed to hear of their experience.  I apologise on behalf of the School and wish to offer support in any way we can to them and others who may have been affected.

Their experiences, alongside the testimonies of the many victims and survivors from other Schools who gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales and the Scottish Child Abuse Enquiry (SCAI) in Scotland, will inform our continuing efforts to instill an effective safeguarding culture and we will implement relevant recommendations without delay.

Sedbergh is a very different School today, where safeguarding and pastoral wellbeing are main agenda items at every level of management and Governance.  We strive continuously to improve and operate a zero-tolerance approach to bullying in any form.  In order to identify such behaviour early and ensure appropriate action is taken, we ensure that staff at all levels have the appropriate knowledge and skills and that pupils have discreet ways to raise issues concerning themselves or their peers; kindness is at the heart of the values of the School.

Our well-established success and pride in sporting achievement is now balanced in a caring co-educational environment, and an insistence on good sportsmanship.  Success in the arts and music is similarly celebrated in a community where academic achievement is encouraged for all. 

Having said that, we recognise there may have been more pupils affected by this than we yet know about.  If this applies to you, and you feel it would help you to tell us what happened, we want to hear from you.  Please email me in strictest confidence at headmasteroffice@sedberghschool.org if you would like to discuss this further.

D J Harrison

Headmaster