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Digital copy of the Witness Statement of John Rodhouse to the Inquiry providing an account of his role as Director of Education from April 1973 to December 1989. [Some details redacted].
July 22nd 2015 - July 22nd 2015
|Scope and Content|
Provides details about his background, mentioning his employment as a teacher in secondary modern schools before moving into the field of educational administration in Essex and Bedford including as Divisional Educational Officer in Thurrock. Describes applying for the post of Director of Education (Designate) for the States of Jersey in 1972, taking up the appointment in April 1973. Details difficulties comparing society and the education system in Jersey to that of the United Kingdom. Recalls transitional period between April and December 1973 as Director of Education (Designate) whilst his predecessor Charles Wimberley remained in post, detailing his involvement in producing an acceptable plan for the introduction of a comprehensive secondary education system. Includes an explanation of the secondary education system before and after the reorganisation. Describes his role as Director of Education from January 1974, and beginning of his awareness about Children's Services. Describes accountability to the Education Committee, recalling individuals who were Presidents of the Education Committee during his service as Director of Education. Includes comments about Education Committee meetings and details responsibility of the Education Department for primary, secondary and higher education, the Children's Service, libraries, sports and recreation and the Youth Service. Includes comments about Children's Services, recalling role of Charles Smith as Children's Officer and details of the structure of Children's Services. Comments on the level of interaction between the Children's Office and the Education Department and details his contact with Charles Smith. Includes recollections of Haut de la Garenne, recalling structural changes to the Home during his early years as Director of Education. Describes problems at Haut de la Garenne during this period, referring to Jim Thomson's appointment as Superintendent upon the resignation of a married couple as Superintendent and Matron. Includes remarks about Jim Thomson's drinking habits and comments about a staff party in 1977. Includes comments about visitors to Haut de la Garenne, details of his personal contacts with Haut de la Garenne and remarks about his opinion of Haut de la Garenne. States that he cannot recall any incident to cause him any concern about the management of Haut de la Garenne, nor was aware of any inappropriate behaviour or abuse at the Home. Includes comments about non-accidental injury, referring to the establishment of an index of children at risk in the late 1970s. Details his role in the investigation of non-accidental injury, recalling his involvement in multi-agency panel meetings to discuss possible cases of non-accidental injuries. Also includes comments about the use of corporal punishment, recalling incidences of dealing with complaints about teachers using excessive force. Recalls corporal punishment being banned in all schools, remarking on whether there was similar discussions about the use of corporal punishment in children's homes. Describes the move towards the closure of Haut de la Garenne, referring to reports by Jim Thomson and John Pilling. Comments on role of Haut de la Garenne as a place of remand for juveniles under arrest and criminal investigation, referring to the use of two detention rooms. Recalls visiting England and observing move away from approved schools towards community homes where education was provided on site in the late 1970s, noting decision taken to build an approved school and small remand centre later known as Les Chênes, recalling recruitment of staff including Mario Lundy. Includes his recollection of inspections of the children's homes and visits to the children's homes by members of the Children's Sub-Committee and other individuals including teachers and a clergyman. Includes remarks about staff training and problems associated with staffing of the Education Committee's services at the professional level and the recruitment of staff form the United Kingdom during the 1980s due to issues regarding housing qualifications. Includes comments about various aspects of a report of an inspection by David Lambert and Elizabeth Wilkinson in 1981. Includes comments about the placement of children in care, commenting on social context of Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s with regards to welfare provision and workers' rights. Recalls the placement of children at Haut de la Garenne, voluntary homes including La Préférence and Brig-y-Don and Family Group Homes, and remarks about fostering and adoption in Jersey. Refers to Anton Skinner's secondment to the United Kingdom following Charles Smith's retirement, recalling recruitment of Terry Strettle as Children's Officer on secondment from the Home Office Inspectorate. Refers to Anton Skinner's appointment as Children's Officer in 1986 and details discussion with Terry Strettle and Anton Skinner about the issue of non-accidental injuries and child abuse. States that he was never made aware of any complaints or allegations of child abuse within the childcare system in Jersey, recalling five instances when he was informed of allegations of abuse or potential abuse within the school system, detailing action taken in each case noting his reporting of these incidents to the States of Jersey Police and the Department for Education in London. Recalls one incident involving a volunteer youth worker about which he feels uncomfortable, commenting on role of Philip Bailhache in the matter. States that he was never informed about events at Clos des Sables in respect of abuse by Les Hughes. Details his retirement from active involvement in the Education Department in July 1989 and engagement in writing a report for the Education Committee outlining the scope of legislation required to underpin education in Jersey until February 1990. Notes his recommendation upon his retirement that steps should be taken to set up an integrated Social Services Department. Describes learning through the media in 2007 of allegations of child abuse made by former residents at Haut de la Garenne, commenting on his involvement in the police investigation. Finishes with concluding thoughts, expressing his concern and surprise regarding the allegations of child abuse at Haut de la Garenne during his service as Director of Education. [For Exhibits JR1 to JR27 referred to in this Witness Statement, see C/D/AW2/A7/29/WD007083/1 to C/D/AW2/A7/29/WD007083/27].
Bedford | Brig-y-Don, Coast Road | 108, Clos des Sables | Essex | Greenfields | Haut de la Garenne | Highlands | Kent | La Préférence, St Martin | Les Chênes, Five Oaks | Thurrock | United States of America | abuse | alcohol | allegations | Approved Schools | child abuse | childcare | Children | children's homes | children's services | complaints | corporal punishment | Education | evidence | IJCI | inquiries | inspections | investigations | legislation | non-accidental injury | Police | policies | secondary schools | sexual abuse | teachers | witness statements | witnesses
1 pdf file
|Level of description|
PDF file - please click on the link to download