Thursday 23 November 2023

More on public schools

(Earlier post here.)

Anyone who thinks that paying for a child to go to a public school will buy them a ‘good’ education needs to read the diary extracts supplied to the Covid Inquiry by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser (2018–23): Eton-educated Johnson was confused by graphs and data and watching him try to ‘get his head round stats is awful’. Johnson struggled to understand basic scientific concepts ‘and we did need to repeat them – often’.

And then read this: ‘Man claims £1m damages over Loretto boarding school “abuse”’: ‘For me, we're talking about thousands of assaults over more than 2,000 days.’ These are allegations of torture. In the 1990s. The current headmaster of the school has stated in an email that ‘the defence of the legal proceedings is being handled by our insurers and their lawyers’.

I was at that school in the 1960s. The normalisation of violence, bullying and abuse was already in place – see the 200-page report on the school published earlier this year by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. The SCAI is an ongoing inquiry into the care of children in Scottish boarding schools and other institutions. To date, the inquiry has announced 112 investigations and has completed 11 case studies. No such inquiry exists in England: it would be too expensive, it would never end.

The result of the case mentioned above will be important. Potentially, thousands of historic abuse claims for damages against public schools may follow. At the very least, the cost of the insurance policies taken out by the schools to protect themselves against such cases will rise steeply.

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