Highgate School announces details of sexual abuse review

Highgate students have called for an end to male violence “once and for all"

Highgate School has announced further details of an independent review into sexual abuse allegations. - Credit: Polly Hancock

A review into complaints of a “rape culture” at Highgate School will investigate whether the school responded properly to past complaints.

The school said today that the review, led by Dame Anne Rafferty DBE, would identify reports made to the school and, where possible, draw conclusions as to whether its actions “were appropriate”.

The £7,000-a-term institution was the subject of hundreds of whistleblower testimonies this year on a website called Everyone’s Invited.

Several people claimed they had reported sexual assaults by fellow pupils and felt they were not properly dealt with.

Headteacher Adam Pettitt said he was “truly sorry”.

The school today said it wanted “to deliver meaningful, sustained changes in attitudes and behaviours”.

It has announced two safeguarding advisors who will work under Dame Anne.

They are Alexandra Colclough, headteacher at Scott-Broadwood CofE Infant School in Surrey, and Lando Du Plooy, headteacher at Dersingham Primary School in Newham.

A school spokesperson said this week: “The review team have already started going through the Everyone’s Invited testimonies and the testimonies that alumni sent in to the governors."

The Ham&High contacted Highgate School this week after receiving complaints that the only way to contact the review appeared to be to go through the school.

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Concerns were raised that this would deter former pupils and staff from cooperating.

The school said that it had since written to "all staff, senior school pupils, parents/carers and former pupils”, with details of how they could contact the review directly.

However, the school said it is not making those contact details public.

It said it was also "engaging with" former staff.

Dame Rafferty was the first female chair of the Criminal Bar Association

Dame Rafferty was the first female chair of the Criminal Bar Association - Credit: Highgate School

It added that it had “agreed an information sharing protocol” with the review, under which some details might be “returned to the school for secure safekeeping on a restricted basis... with any appropriate safeguard made to protect identities”.

“Any personal data that is not so deemed necessary to keep will be immediately and securely destroyed or deleted by the panel,” the school said.

Dame Anne will aim to produce a report by the end of July, the school added.

For more, read:

'Tip of the iceberg': Warning after Highgate School 'rape culture' reports

Calls for law change after Highgate School sexual abuse allegations

Dame Anne Rafferty to lead Highgate School 'rape culture' review

'We will not be silenced': Highgate School pupils walk out after 'rape culture' allegations