The Evening Standard can reveal that a London private school is at the centre of a police investigation, with a man arrested over allegations of voyeurism and possession of indecent images of children.
The arrest came weeks after a report by the education watchdog raised concerns about the potential use of personal electronic devices to take pictures of pupils at Hall School Wimbledon.
The Ofsted report, which followed a snap inspection, was published on March 15. Six days later the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command launched an investigation.
On April 4, a man was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children and bailed until next month. It is understood that allegations were first made to the Department for Education, which then ordered the Ofsted inspection.
The Hall’s headteacher and founder, Timothy Hobbs, sent parents a letter dated April 18. He wrote: “We believe that the allegations were malicious and have no foundation. Whilst we are not clear as to the exact nature of the allegations, we understand that they were made by an unnamed individual direct to the Department for Education.
“This triggered an emergency one-day Ofsted inspection of the school on 23rd February 2017 and the subsequent opening of a police investigation. This was a surprise to us all as no complaints were raised with the school directly, nor have we received any other recent safeguarding concerns from parents, pupils, staff or others.”
The Ofsted report said safeguarding policy met independent school requirements but staff, including designated safeguarding leaders, “have an inconsistent understanding of the school’s procedure for managing concerns or allegations against senior leaders”.
The Standard approached the school but it declined to comment.
Personal mobile phones being used to photograph pupils. Acceptable under certain circumstances or never? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin
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