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Ex-pupils of prestigious state boarding school speak out about abuse

State boarding school pupils claims they were abused by staff

31 July 2014

Former pupils of a state boarding school are taking legal action after they claim to have suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of staff at the school.

Leigh Day are currently representing one of the former pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, Reigate, Surrey, on the Gatton Park country estate,  who has made allegations of physical and sexual abuse suffered by pupils at the hands of teachers employed at the School.  

The school was established in 1959 following the amalgamation of the Royal Alexandra School, and the Royal Albert School, founded in 1758 and 1864 respectively. The School caters for pupils aged 7 – 18, the majority of whom are full-time boarders. 

In November 2013, the school was featured on the BBC Panorama programme After Savile: No More Secrets. The edition revealed the existence of declassified files at the National Archives demonstrating that the government has long been aware of the covering up of abuse in children’s homes and schools across the country.

One of the most detailed files exposed the cover up of seven perpetrators of child abuse who worked at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School between the 1950s and 1980s. 

One of the offenders, ex-assistant housemaster Colin York, 62, was jailed for 28 months in September 2011 for sexually abusing two boys aged between 10 and 13 whilst he was employed at the School in the 1970s. York was convicted of a further 6 charges relating to the sexual abuse of two other boys under his care at the School during the same period.  

Allen Meredith, a housemaster at the School in the 1980s, admitted to Panorama that he had also abused boys during his employment there, but was never prosecuted for these offences. 

Complaints were made to the School about his conduct at the time, but the School failed to inform the police. Meredith was eventually sacked in 1985 following repeated objections by parents about Meredith’s behaviour with male pupils.   

Following his dismissal, Meredith was employed at another state boarding school, the Royal Caledonian, in 1989. 

Meredith was jailed for ten years in 1995 for serious sexual offences, including buggery, against children at this school between 1990 and 1994. Officers prosecuting Meredith at the time reported that repeated allegations of abuse had been made against Meredith when he worked at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, none of which were passed on to the police.

Paul Spencer Ellis, current head teacher at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, has made it clear that the School will fully cooperate with any investigation into further allegations of abuse committed at the institution.

The School has already assisted police to trace victims of Colin York and compile evidence to support the Crown Prosecution Service’s case.

A hearing was held at Redhill Magistrates Court on 13 April 2015 in relation to allegations of sexual abuse by a former teacher and housemaster of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey, who is accused of multiple charges against a number of pupils formerly in his care. The case was adjourned until 1 May where it will be continued in Guildford Crown Court.

The National Association of People Abused in Childhood has encouraged survivors of abuse at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School to seek support by contacting their free confidential helpline on 0808 801 0331, or by e-mailing peter@napac.org.

Former pupils who were subject to and/or witnessed abuse at the school are encouraged to contact the Leigh Day abuse team, please speak to Denise: 020 7650 1241 or Catriona: 020 7650 1232.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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