Scottish boarding schools apologise for alleged historic abuse following inquiry

Boarding schools across Scotland have offered an “unreserved apology” for the alleged sexual, physical and emotional abuse students faced.

Fettes College, one of Scotland's boarding schools.
Fettes College, one of Scotland's boarding schools.

The latest phase of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, heard before Judge Lady Smith, is focusing on the alleged abuse carried out in Scottish boarding schools.

The boarding schools praised survivors who had come forward, saying they hoped fully recognise the abuse pupils suffered.

Mr Jonathan Brodie QC, representing Fettes College in Edinburgh, said: “We want to offer a full and unreserved apology to those who suffered abuse while at Fettes College.

“While words of apology may have limited worth, we fully accept and recognise in the past there was sexual, physical and emotional abuse of pupils while at Fettes College. That has been the result of certain members of staff and by failing to prevent peer-to-peer bullying.

“The school recognises that on occasions it did not act responsibly or appropriately, when evidence of abuse came to light. It is a matter of profound regret. What the school seeks to do now is to listen.

“That there have been past occasions of abuse is evident in the review of school records, and speaking with former teachers and with former pupils.

“Two former teachers admitted sexual abuse and were required to leave.

“Former pupils have come forward with courage to speak to both the school and the inquiry. Some have been remarkably forgiving and all have been insightful. They have provided insight about how abuse may occur and how it was concealed by perpetrators.

“The school promises to listen and reflect on what is contained in the account and all evidence in the inquiry.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.