ArtsEd investigates ‘historic misconduct’

ArtsEd is investigating ‘very serious allegations of historic misconduct.’  Director of Development Sue Sandle told The Chiswick Calendar:

“As we understand, they relate to incidents that took place between 2012 – 2017 in the Higher Education institution”.

There is to be an external investigation and while that happens the Principal of the performing arts school Chris Hocking is standing down.

On Monday 7 June Arts Ed posted a public statement on its website saying:

‘ArtsEd can confirm that we have been made aware of allegations of serious historic misconduct. As we understand, they relate to incidents that took place between 2012 – 2017 in the Higher Education institution, with students 18 or older.

‘While we do not yet have the full detail of the allegations, the Trustees of the school have opened an external investigation into the matter and have engaged an independent QC, Rebecca Tuck, to lead that process.

‘In order to ensure this investigation is as rigorous and independent as possible, our Principal Chris Hocking (pictured above) has agreed that it is appropriate for him to temporarily stand down. We support his decision and have appointed our current Deputy Principal Jane Morton to take on the role of Principal while the investigation is carried out.

‘The welfare and safety of our students is our highest priority, and we have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination or abuse. We have robust policies and procedures in place to protect the welfare of our students, and as part of this process, we encourage staff and students to bring any incidents, of any kind, to our attention.

‘Any information that comes to light within this investigation will be shared with the relevant authorities and we are already working to make contact with the appropriate stakeholders’.

ArtsEd did not confirm whether the allegations concern Chris Hocking personally.

Spate of allegations published about abuse in schools

There has been an outpouring of allegations of abuse and bullying in schools from current and former students and at universities, following the publicity around the death of Sarah Everard. Latymer Upper School, St Benedict’s School, and Notting Hill and Ealing High School were all listed by students on the Everyone’s Invited website as places where students had made accusations against staff.

Last week the Telegraph published an investigation into drama schools, including East 15, Guildford School of Acting and the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, which revealed accusations of sexual harassment, bullying and assault.

The journal of professional theatre, The Stage has also exposed harassment and bullying in theatre. A report published by The Stage in 2018 found one in five students reported having experienced sexual harassment.

ArtsEd is a hugely popular institution with an outstanding academic record and has continued to be popular with students and parents despite the lack of prospects in the performing arts during the pandemic. In 2020 the ArtsEd schools were over-subscribed. They are also very successful at placing students in West End shows and film and TV work.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London schools names in students’ accounts of sexual abuse

See also: ArtsEd ‘over-subscribed’

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