Support for Mary Hare School for the Deaf
April 13th 2011:
In light of what we deem to be sensationalised unfair press coverage of Mary Hare, ex-pupils/supporters of Mary Hare have come forward to refute such accusations against the school's reputation. We will not allow the media and a judge to formulate a bad reputation of Mary Hare. We offer our support to Mary Hare School as an outstanding place of education for deaf children in the UK. Like any other school across the UK and most certainly outside of school, underage sex happens, but it is not common place at Mary Hare as has been reported. Pupils who have been caught are dealt with with suspension or expulsion appropriately. As ex-pupils of the school we are best placed to know the workings of the school. We will continue to work with Mary Hare in providing support to deal with this situation, and prevent this happening again. We believe in Mary Hare's capacity in providing the best education, social opportunities, cultural and spiritual understanding, and of course, its well being for deaf students that cannot be equalled anywhere else.
- We refute that Mary Hare is a fee paying school, it is largely LEA funded.
- We refute that there is a promiscuous culture amongst pupils. Pupils behave like any other boarding school across the country, deaf pupils are no different.
- We refute there is freedom of movement at all hours unsupervised. Carestaff and teachers work very hard to maintain our health and safety and well-being, but they are not able to guard our movements 24/7 like hawks, like any other boarding school in the country.
- Relationships between pupils of large age differences are actively discouraged.
13th April 2011: PRESS STATEMENT FROM TONY SHAW, PRINCIPAL OF MARY HARE SECONDARY SCHOOL
A statement by the Principal, Tony Shaw
I have been responsible for the education and care of more than 750 hearing impaired pupils at Mary Hare over a 19 year period. Before this court case there have never been charges brought against a pupil of the school.
Mary Hare works closely with Social Services in West Berkshire and is inspected annually by Ofsted Care. Our inspection reports are published on the web and confirm the quality of our work. Our Ofsted Care Inspectors knew of the court case when they inspected us in January. They rated us as Good for safeguarding which we are proud of.
After pleading guilty, the defence team made statements about Mary Hare to the Judge in mitigation. We do not know who made these as we were not involved in these proceedings. We were not given an opportunity to challenge them in court. Complaints of this nature have never been made to the school by parents, raised by West Berkshire Social Services or identified by Ofsted Care through their confidential surveys of both pupils and parents. In July we announced that an independent review of our work in care would be undertaken when the court case was over. The outcome of this review will be shared with all the relevant agencies and stake holders.
In this matter, the leadership and staff of the school have the unequivocal and unanimous support of the Board of Governors.
April 15th 2011: A statement from Martine Laverty
We wish to clarify that we do not condone or endorse Aeron Madija's actions of having sex with underage girls whilst at Mary Hare School. It goes without saying that child protection and child abuse is a serious matter, and Tony Shaw is no doubt fully investigating this to ensure it never happens again. Our petition and the review being undertaken at Mary Hare is mentioned here; www.newburytoday.co.uk/News/Article.aspx?articleID=16478
Ex-pupils and supporters alike of this petition fullly understand the severity of the situation, and feel this isolated incident should not tarnish the excellent education and care that Mary Hare provides for deaf children.
April 18th 2011: Former Head Boys and Girls write to Kenneth Clarke QC MP
A letter has now been sent to Kenneth Clarke QC MP, the Secretary of State for Justice from Stephen Dering (former Head Boy 95-96) on behalf of former Head Boys and Girls over the years at Mary Hare in support. This petition is mentioned in the letter, so your signature and your support is meaningful and is making a difference!
April 25th 2011: The dust settles, but behind the scenes...
We have featured in Newbury Weekly News, and Stephen Dering will let us know the outcome of his letter to the Secretary of State.
See the article; http://www.maryhare.org.uk/index.php?cID=124&cType=document
Lastly, Tony Shaw has sent me a statement to share with you guys;
"The press coverage of Mary Hare School last week would have overwhelmed an ordinary school but Mary Hare is no ordinary school. Pupils, families, alumni, staff, governors, foundation members and friends of the school rallied to our support and the articles published in the Newbury Weekly News this week show what a difference this level of support can make. On behalf of everyone who loves Mary Hare, thank you.
We still have a way to go to right this wrong but already we are being heard. Mike Granatt, our Chairman of Governors, hopes to announce the name of the person who will lead the independent review (of our safeguarding work) by the end of next week. This will be another crucial step in ensuring that our credibility and integrity is restored in the public eye. Further steps are to follow and I will keep you informed as and when developments occur.
Thank you for standing by us in our time of need.
Again, we stress that we do not in any way support or endorse Aeron's actions and we take child protection, child abuse and safety very seriously to ensure this never happens again.
Martine Laverty (ex-Head Girl 2003-2004) Contact the author of the petition