Digital copy of Thomas McKeon's Witness Statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences of working at Les Chênes Residential School, later employment as Principal of Les Quennevais School, transfer to the post of Deputy Director of Education, and subsequent assumption of the role of Director of Education. [Some details redacted].

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June 19th 2015 - June 19th 2015

Scope and Content

Provides details of background, noting experience in several teaching establishments prior to move to Jersey in 1977 to establish Les Chênes Residential School. Recalls visit by Director of Education John Rodhouse and Children's Officer Charles Smith to St Edwards School, and subsequent request by the Education Department for Thomas McKeon to appy for the role of Principal at the soon to be established Les Chênes School. Discusses need for remand provision for young offenders in Jersey, noting former policy of admitting those children to Haut de la Garenne or sending the children to Approved Schools in England. Accepted position of Principal at Les Chênes, and provides details of hopes and ambitions for the development of the School in order to benefit the children placed there as much as possible. Discusses establishment of Les Chênes, noting influence by guidelines developed by the Home Office, and independence granted by the Education Committe. Recalls visiting similar remand and residential care institutions in England and France whilst developing Les Chênes. Recalls visiting a regional assessment centre in Birmingham that operated a token economy, similar to the Merit Award Scheme later developed at Les Chênes. Recalls opening of Les Chênes in 1977 with a capacity of four pupils. Refers to subsequent development of the secure suite, day suite, craft area, and other areas in order to enhance the provision available to residents and staff. Provides details relating to the development of the Merit Award Scheme, and system whereby pupils could earn time away from school. Notes initial opposition of the Education Committee to this idea. Discusses staff at Les Chênes, noting recruitment of those from an educational background in addition to those with care experience. Notes support from Educational Psychologist Peter Gilchrist and Clinical Psychologist Jim Hollywood. Discusses guidance issued to staff regarding restraint and child protection. Refers to individuals through which pupils would have been able to raise complaints, and concerns regarding abuse. States not to have receieved a complaint of physical abuse relating to Thomas McKeon during his tenure at Les Chênes. Recalls inspections of and official visits to Les Chênes School by individuals and inspectorate bodies. Discusses processes through which children could be placed at Les Chênes, mentioning appearances before the Juvenile or Royal Courts and subsequent remand orders, and care orders. Notes concerns admitting some children to Les Chênes due to the risk of institutionalization. Comments on the changing demographic of children admitted to Les Chênes, difficulties resulting for both staff and residents. Provides details of the admission system at Les Chênes in relation to a child's initial placement in the secure provision, activies offered during the day following admission, and potential for children to sleep in the secure provision if they did not settle well at Les Chênes. Discusses the relationship between Les Chênes and Children's Services. Notes provision for Child Care Officers to form an external liason point between the child, their home, their family, and their school [either own school or Les Chênes]. Refers to case conferences prior to and following a child's admission to Les Chênes. Comments on discipline at Les Chênes, and lack of training and guidance offered to staff. Recalls incident where a member of staff pushed a child against a corridor wall and was admonished by Thomas McKeon. Refers to need to restrain violent pupils. Refers to corporal punishment recorded in a log book, and function of corporal punishment as an alternative to the Merit Award Scheme when required. Left Les Chênes in 1988 to become the Principal of Les Quennevais School, and subsequentlly moved to the Education Department as Deputy Director. Recalls role of Briefing Officer for the new Jersey Education legislation, in development during the 1990s. Became the Director of Education in 1997, noting development of policies for schools and colleges in relation to training, development and inspection. Helped to develop a restraint policy later implemented at Les Chênes. Discusses decline of Les Chênes as an institution due to changes in the fabric of Jersey society and the changing demographic of children admitted to Les Chênes. Notes increases in the instances of pupils absconding from Les Chênes, and unrealistic demands placed by Courts upon Les Chênes with regards to young offenders. Commissioned a report by Madeleine Davies in 2003 in response to failings and abscondences at Les Chênes. Refers to subsequent inspection of Les Chênes undertaken by Dr Kathie Bull, and recommendations made. [For exhibits TM1 to TM13 as referred to in this Statement, see C/D/AW2/A7/47/WD006487/1 to C/D/AW2/A7/47/WD006487/13].


Advisory Sub-Committee for Les Chênes School
Adolescent Psychiatric Unit
Children's Services
Education Committee
Education Sport and Culture
Education Department
Greenfields Centre
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education Services for Children
Highlands College
Health and Social Services
Haut de la Garenne
Home Office
Juvenile Court
Jersey General Hospital
Les Quennevais School
Les Chênes Residential School
Mont à l'Abbé School
Open University
Probation and After Care Service
Royal Court
St Edmund Arrowsmith High School
St Edward's School
The Priory School
Bull, Kathie, Dr
Davies, Madeleine
Fogarty, J P F, Dr
Gilchrist, Peter
Hughes, Mr
Hollywood, Jim
Le Marquand, Ian
Lambert, David
Lundy, Mario
McKeon, Tom
Rodhouse, John
Smith, Charles
Tomlinson, Mike


Blackburn | Birmingham | Jersey | France | Guernsey | Romsey | Shrewsbury | admissions | Approved Schools | behaviour | Children | childcare | care orders | Child Care Officers | case conferences | Children's Officers | courts | corporal punishment | caning | discipline | directors of education | exhibits | evidence | Education | educational psychologists | headteachers | IJCI | Intercom | Jurats | legislation | Merit Award System | Portuguese | psychologists | probation | principals | restraint | residential schools | residential care | remand centres | remand | staff | secure units | teachers | training | violence | witnesses | witness statements


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