Brynteg School and Bridgend County Borough Council issue statements on independent investigation into allegations of historical abuse

Following an independent investigation into allegations of historic sexual abuse by former Head of Art, Clive Hally, both the school and the council have issued statements on the sitation.  We share these in full below:

A statement from Brynteg School re: the results of an independent investigation into allegations of historical abuse

Brynteg School offers a full and unreserved apology to all who have been affected by this deeply distressing situation.

Clive Hally was a former head of art who was employed at Brynteg School between 1975 and 2011. He died in 2019 while on police bail facing allegations of historic sexual abuse.

Before his death, Mr Hally admitted to some of the allegations that had been put to him. He died while a decision was being made on whether to charge him or not, and a coroner’s inquest later found that Mr Hally had taken his own life.

However, this was not the end of the matter.

South Wales Police continued to interview those who had come forward, and Bridgend County Borough Council launched an urgent independent investigation to ascertain what had happened.

The independent investigation was carried out by Servoca in conjunction with Brynteg School, and we have offered them our full participation and support throughout this process.

This investigation has now concluded. Based on the available evidence and balance of probability, it has found that Mr Hally abused and engaged in inappropriate behaviour with several male learners during the period that he was employed at the school.

The independent investigation has also concluded that while no complaints or allegations were formally made during this period, staff at the school had expressed informal concerns about some of Mr Hally’s behaviour to members of the senior management team who were in post at that time.

Determining why those concerns were not elevated further or taken forward more formally has been complicated by the fact that a significant period of time has now passed, and the individuals concerned are no longer employed at the school.

As a direct result of the independent investigation, a series of recommendations have been developed, and we are working alongside Bridgend County Borough Council to ensure that they are implemented in full.

This includes providing fresh training on how staff and teachers can detect early warning signs of abuse, ensuring that staff remain vigilant and aware of their reporting responsibilities, and making sure that we have a robust, long-term means for storing school records electronically.

We are also making sure that teachers, staff and pupils are aware of how they can report any concerns, complaints or allegations that they may have on any and all issues, and that school governors receive new training to enable them to play a more active role.

Parents, carers and guardians can be reassured that we are committed towards making sure our safeguarding procedures remain fit for purpose and resilient, and that we will be working closely with the council and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board to strengthen and improve them further

We also want to acknowledge the bravery of the former pupils who came forward to reveal what Mr Hally did.

Childhood abuse has a devastating effect on the emotional well-being and mental health of survivors, and it is thanks to their tremendous courage that his abhorrent actions were ultimately revealed.

What Mr Hally did remains a matter of huge concern, great sadness and regret for all concerned.

Brynteg School has always been a strong, caring, close-knit community, and we are resolved to do all that we can to prevent this from happening again.

 

Statement by Bridgend County Borough Council

Bridgend County Borough Council has received the results of a confidential independent investigation into allegations that a former head of art at Brynteg School engaged in historical abuse and inappropriate behaviour with several pupils.

The allegations against former head of art Clive Hally first came to light in 2018–2019 when several of his former pupils contacted police and made claims against him.

Mr Hally later admitted some of the allegations when interviewed by police, but took his own life while awaiting a decision from the Crown Prosecution Service on whether charges would be brought against him.

There is no record on file of any complaints being received or of safeguarding concerns having ever been raised with either Bridgend County Borough Council or its predecessor, Ogwr Borough Council.

As a result, the Education and Family Support Directorate, in partnership with Brynteg School, commissioned Servoca to carry out an independent investigation into the matter.

Following the examination of more than 100 documents, 29 interviews and contact with everyone identified as being a potential victim, that investigation has now concluded.

On the balance of probability and based on the available evidence, the report concludes that prior to his retirement in 2011, Mr Hally abused and engaged in inappropriate behaviour with several male learners during the period 1980 to 2009.

No formal complaints or allegations were made during this period, and safeguarding procedures were not implemented by the local authority as the matter was not brought to the attention of either Ogwr Borough Council or Bridgend County Borough Council.

During this period, Estyn inspections also rated child protection procedures at the school as ‘good’.

Staff at the school had expressed concerns to the school senior management team around Mr Hally’s behaviour. As such, the independent investigation has concluded that there were opportunities where the school’s senior management team could have elevated these informal concerns to the local authority’s child protection officers.

The fact that this did not take place is, of course, a matter of great concern, and while none of the senior management team of that period continue to work at the school, the independent investigation has made a number of recommendations to ensure that this cannot be repeated.

Among the recommendations are measures for providing fresh training on how staff and teachers can detect early warning signs of abuse, ensuring that staff remain vigilant and aware of their reporting responsibilities, and enabling all complaints, allegations or concerns to be reported through appropriate channels.

The recommendations also endorse the development of new electronic storage processes for recording key school documents, and embedding a protocol for safeguarding children within the selection and recruitment processes for new school staff.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board has agreed to monitor the implementation of the recommendations. This is currently underway, and both the school and the council have made a commitment towards ensuring that they are completed in full.

As part of this, the council is seeking to discuss how such processes could look at the culture of staff within a school environment, and to consider how they can adhere to national, local and school-set policies and procedures at all times.

The council’s safeguarding leads will maintain an oversight of the delivery of the recommendations with partners, and will report to the safeguarding board through the Local Safeguarding Operational Group.

Bridgend County Borough Council believes that organisations at all levels have a duty to listen to children and young people, and to protect them. We continue to encourage any and all survivors of abuse to come forward so that they can receive help and support.

Reports can be made anonymously via 101 or online to Crimestoppers, to South Wales Police via their website or to the Bridgend Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.

You can also find more information, advice and links to a range of support services at the South Wales Police and CTM Safeguarding Board websites, or through the Truth programme, which supports adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.