Two directors of education have been severely criticised in a
report by the Welsh Children’s Commissioner for the
authorities’ failure to act against paedophile drama teacher
John Owen, writes Craig Kenny.
David Matthews, current director of education at Bridgend
Borough Council, had conducted the initial investigation of Owen in
1991, a teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen comprehensive school, as
an education officer at Mid Glamorgan County Council.
Mr Matthews failed to make a child protection referral despite
having statements from several six form pupils alleging abuse,
including rape and buggery, says the inquiry report by
Children’s Commissioner Peter Clarke: ‘It appears to me
to amount to the criminal offence of misfeasance.’
But, in a solicitor’s statement, Mr Matthews complained
that the report was ‘riddled with inconsistencies and
judgments based on opinions and not facts.’
Bridgend Borough Council said it was still considering the
The inquiry’s harshest criticism was directed at former
director of education at Mid Glamorgan County Council, Edwin
Roberts, who it says obstructed a proper investigation and issued a
misleading statement about the pupils’ complaints.
Mr Roberts allowed Owen to resign and took no disciplinary
action against him – a common reaction to complaints in the
county so as not to upset the trade unions, the report says.
The Clywch (Listen) inquiry recommends establishing four
independent schools disciplinary tribunals for Wales and urges the
Welsh Assembly to set up an independent children’s
The Welsh Local Government Association said it found the report
‘disturbing’ and deeply regretted that the events