Highgate’s Governing Body has commissioned an immediate external review of the sexual abuse and harassment allegations, raised by pupil testimonies on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website and in an open letter sent to Governors this week. The review will be led by The Rt Hon Dame Anne Rafferty DBE PC, former Lady Justice of Appeal and the current Chancellor at the University of Sheffield. Dame Anne will be considering other members and expertise for her panel over the Easter period, and we will provide an update early next term.
We are deeply shocked and horrified by the allegations that have recently come to light. The Highgate they describe runs entirely contrary to the values of our whole community and we echo what our Head, Adam Pettitt, has already said in apologising to any victim of sexual harassment or abuse who was not properly supported during their time at Highgate. We are truly sorry.
Dame Anne Rafferty said “These accounts grieve the reader. That is as nothing compared to their effect upon those involved, directly or indirectly. This review, which I am privileged to chair, will ask tough questions wherever it thinks an answer might be revealing. Highgate School asks for candour, and so will the panel.”
The school is working on an anti-sexism plan which will be published shortly. It reflects the input of the pupils’ anti-sexism group, and has been informed by the listening exercise which is ongoing. Whilst our approach will consider wider societal issues, our focus is on our pupils and their needs. We are inviting parents, alumni, and the wider staff body to contribute to the plan early next term.
Safeguarding every child in our care continues to be at the heart of what we do as a school. We fully support and commend the actions of our pupils, standing in solidarity with all victims of sexual harassment or abuse, and we are encouraging all of our pupils, past and present, who wish to share their experiences, or to give feedback anonymously, to contribute to the review. Their voices will be heard.