/Head teacher text allegations prompt concerns

Head teacher text allegations prompt concerns

Toby Belfield

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Allegations have been made against school principal Toby Belfield

Serious concerns have been raised over a private school following allegations the head teacher sent inappropriate text messages to female pupils.

Two national newspapers have made the claims against Toby Belfield, principal of Ruthin School in Denbighshire.

They have come just days after a Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) report found pupils were “at risk of harm” because of safeguarding failures.

Both the school and Mr Belfield have been asked to comment.

Reports in The Times and Daily Mail newspapers claimed Mr Belfield sent inappropriate messages to six girls.

The head teacher had previously warned pupils against teenage relationships, saying they could hamper their education.

The school, for pupils aged 11 and over, has not confirmed whether he has been suspended.

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David Medcalf/ Geograph

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A report highlighted “serious shortfalls” in the school’s safeguarding of pupils

Llyr Gruffydd AM said action was needed to reassure parents and urged the Welsh Government to strengthen controls on independent schools.

“Had this been a local authority-run school then I’m sure prompt action would have been taken immediately concerns were raised,” he said.

“The Welsh Government urgently needs to look at how it can strengthen accountability of private schools to give parents and the public confidence that safeguarding standards are as robust as any other school.

“Child safeguarding is paramount.”

CIW found the school was not meeting its safeguarding responsibilities, in a surprise inspection last November.

The report said pupils were “discouraged” from coming forward for mental health support due to fears of losing their school or university place.

The school said it was already addressing the issues raised.

It added: “The work we are doing will ensure the school’s governance and operational procedures continue to keep pace with modern requirements.”

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