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Sexual abuse allegations 'covered up' at school

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:12 30 July 2019

Red House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Photo: Archant

Red House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Photo: Archant

Archant

Allegations of sexual abuse at a children's home were covered up according to a former pupil and staff member.

Red House School in Buxton, pictured in 1980. Photo: ArchantRed House School in Buxton, pictured in 1980. Photo: Archant

The latest revelations about the Small School at Red House come after this newspaper published claims last week of physical and sexual abuse from ex-pupils in the 1980s and '90s.

Councils sent their most difficult children to the residential school near Buxton for an "alternative education" with outdoor activities and trips abroad.

But our investigation found they ignored warnings about the school, which was run by a group linked to a controversial Danish organisation called Tvind.

Simon Floyd, a theatre producer from Norwich, volunteered at the school for a year in the 1990s, aged 23.

Simon Floyd was a volunteer at Red House in 1992 and alleged the school covered up an abuse allegation. Photo: Nick StoneSimon Floyd was a volunteer at Red House in 1992 and alleged the school covered up an abuse allegation. Photo: Nick Stone

He alleged that on a trip overseas a teacher was sent home after sleeping with a vulnerable 13-year old pupil.

"I remember one morning a teacher called us in and she said something bad has happened.

"She told us a teacher had gone into a pupil's bed and slept with her (the pupil). I just couldn't believe it.

"She said it was inappropriate but it was being dealt with and we shouldn't worry.

"The teacher was reassigned somewhere else and the pupil stayed at the school but it was not reported to police or authorities.

The 51-year-old added: "They absolutely covered it up.

"I have always felt guilt about not telling anyone at the time.

"I remember all of this very clearly and I remember feeling something was very wrong and I just shut up. I didn't say anything. I saw some terrible things there but I was naive and didn't call them out."

Three other ex-pupils we spoke to also allege they suffered sexual abuse at Red House from older pupils.

One of those, a woman who was there from 1996 to 1998, said the school ignored her when she told them a pupil had raped her.

The woman, who we can not name for legal reasons, said: "One of the staff who lived in my block pulled me aside and asked why I was having sex with people when I am so young.

"I said I didn't want to, but he (the pupil) would not get off. She told me it was best to keep quiet and let them forget."

We have tracked down the principal of the school during the 1990s to a hotel in a remote part of Norway but she has not responded to requests for comment. The school was shut in 1998 amid concerns for pupils' welfare.

We have also passed on allegations to Norfolk police.

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