Directors under fire from commissioner

Two directors of education have been severely criticised in a
report by children’s commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke for their
authority’s failure to act against paedophile drama teacher John

David Matthews, current director of education at Bridgend Council,
conducted an initial investigation of Owen, a teacher at Ysgol
Gyfun Rhydfelen comprehensive school, when he was an education
officer at Mid Glamorgan Council in 1991.

Peter Clarke claims Matthews failed to make a child protection
referral despite having statements from several sixth form pupils
alleging abuse, including rape and buggery. “It appears to me to
amount to the criminal offence of misfeasance,” Clarke

In a solicitor’s statement, Matthews said Clarke’s report was
“riddled with inconsistencies and judgments based on opinions and
not facts”.

Clarke’s harshest criticism, however, is directed at Mid Glamorgan
Council’s former director of education, Edwin Roberts, who he says
obstructed a proper investigation and issued a misleading statement
about the pupils’ complaints. Roberts let Owen resign and took no
disciplinary action against him.

Owen was allowed to go on working with children for the next 10
years. He committed suicide before his case was due to come to
trial in 2001.

The Clywch Examination, set up to look at allegations of child
sexual abuse in a school setting and to make recommendations to
safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children,
recommends the establishment of four independent schools
disciplinary tribunals for Wales and an assembly-funded independent
children’s counselling service.

– Full report from 

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