of widespread and systematic bullying at a Perthshire boarding school
for the sons of servicemen are rejected
in a report by HM Schools Inspectorate,
report says that the allegations made public in December by former
Harrison, exaggerated the situation at
the 283 pupil Queen Victoria School in
Dunblane, but confirms that "persistent
problems caused by a small minority of boys" do exist.
When all other options
are exhausted, the school may have to expel regular or serious misbehavers,
the report adds.
Harrison, who resigned
last summer, wrote to parents claiming that younger boys
had been kicked between the legs, punched in the stomach while their
mouths were held closed, forced to eat shower gel and hit so hard
that their noses were broken. In one case, said Mr Harrison,
a boy was kicked so hard he blacked out.
The report by inspectors,
brought in at the instigation of the school's commissioners, calls
for the school to carry out a thorough review of "pastoral
In what appears to
be a partial vindication of Mr Harrison,
who said the school's management seemed to be "a law unto themselves,"
the report stresses, "For real progress to be made there will
have to be changes in management style and in the attitudes of some
members of staff."
The report refers to
"divisions and tensions" between teachers, and teachers
and management, and says a significant number of staff regretted
the abolition of corporal punishment, and looked for some other
kind of sharp and summary deterrent.
But with many parents
living at a distance, the option of suspension as a punishment was
constrained, while among the boys themselves there was a feeling
that punishments such as detention and "gating" were ineffective.
The inspectors refer
to "an unrealistic expectation" among some staff that
swift and summary sanctions would work with problem pupils.
The inspectors add
that senior school prefects and monitors had too much of a supervisory
and disciplinary role with regard to younger boys, and contrast
the case which a pupil could be disciplined for a very basic misdemeanour
with the lack of any co-ordinated reactions to patterns of offending.
Hankinson acknowledged the reports findings that the
number of adults involved in "pastoral care" at particular
times might have to be increased.
"The school is
a very old building, largely built as a barracks, and geographically
it is difficult for staff to supervise unless the numbers are increased,"
he said, "but by no means whatsoever has discipline broken
"What the report does indicate
is that there are some boys who do have social
and behavioural problems."
said that teachers all over the country had found it difficult to
find alternative sanctions following the abolition of corporal punishment,
and the problem was awkward in a boarding school for service children
where pupils could not be easily expelled or suspended.
"This is a problem
that we have been wrestling with for the last two years, and hope
with the aid of this report to be able to solve," he added.
~ Had the Inspectorate considered the
housemaster's complaints in all conscience, the Dunblane
massacre would never have happened!.]
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