Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds/UK: Mothers of pupils at Scott Rogers’ dance and performing academy told how they were losing their children

15:22 04 September 2014

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Exclusive strictly copyright Andy Abbott

A swirl of suspicion had enveloped Richard-Scott Rogers when he moved from England to the US in the mid 1990s.

Having founded the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, in 1983 he used it to cultivate and exert control over some of its pupils, particularly the gifted ones.

The chosen ones slept over at his home and some are said to have gravitated away from their families to live at the Rogers’ home.

In 1995, Suffolk County Council was so disturbed at what came out during Mr Rogers 1993 trial it issued a statement warning of a religious cult-style atmosphere at the academy.

In rebuttal to the warning Mr Rogers said some youngsters needed to stay with him and his family at his home with their parents’ consent because their homes were too far away for them to travel every day.

Mr Rogers said: “If people read it (the council statement) it is an opinion. But it’s not a valid opinion”

He then urged the council to carry out a full investigation and claimed parents had nothing to fear, although he did concede there was a strict code of discipline at the academy.

Mr Rogers added: “We influence children to behave in a certain way. That’s the ethos of the arts and to attack that is attacking the way the arts are taught right through to the Royal Ballet.”

After the warning was issued one mother, who could not be named for legal reasons, told how she feared she would never see her son again after he abandoned a promising future to become more involved with the school.

When the family decided to leave Bury St Edmunds in the early 1990s their teenage son said he wanted to stay.

The boy’s mother said: “I don’t feel we did anything wrong. We just did everything to make our son happy.

“We must have been as trusting as everyone else.”

Another mother told how her dancer son moved out of his home and went to live with Mr Rogers’ family.

In December 1995, she said she was concerned about her son after reports that Mr Rogers had gone to the US.

Another woman, whose daughter started classes at the academy when it opened, told how she came close to losing her to the academy.

At the time the headteacher was running a support group for 18 families who claimed their children had suffered “serious” problems at the school.

The mother said her daughter began spending more and more time there.

She said: “Each time she asked if she could start a new class I was made to feel that to refuse would show that I didn’t love her.”

When her concerned mother suggested to her daughter that she cut back her classes she became “hysterical” and ran away for a brief period.

The mother said at the time: “I want parents to know what has happened to other people.

“I don’t want to what has happened to my family to happen to anyone else.”

Her daughter left the academy 15 months after her mother first became concerned.

On December 12, 1995, it was announced that the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts was to undergo a major shake-up.

It was to split into two separate schools with different names.

More than 500 children were part of the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts.

The academy’s teachers also went out to schools including Great Cornard Middle, Mildenhall Upper, and Thurston Upper, as well as RAF Lakenheath.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

And depending how significant the prize, or the emotional attachment to it, their fates can range from living out their days in a dusty draw to taking pride of place on your (or your parent’s) mantelpiece.

Police are appealing for witnesses and information after a nine-year-old girl reported being approached by two men on bicycles in Ipswich.

Police allegedly stopped a driver on the A14 this afternoon at Sproughton who was going at 107mph.

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

Members of a Suffolk-based fitness team have raised more than £7,000 for Ipswich Hospital’s neonatal and paediatric wards after completing the Three Peaks Challenge in just 22 hours.

Opened up in 1938, Broomhill Pool was, for decades, one of the most popular attractions in Ipswich.

A nursing home where an elderly man fell to his death has been put into special measures after inspectors gave it an overall rating of “inadequate”.

A Suffolk man who was the “inside employee” in a £37,000 fraud at an Ipswich grain terminal has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Education provision has been criticised at a small Suffolk prison but independent inspectors say it has a “generally humane, enabling and purposeful culture”.

Building a massive new estate in open countryside on the edge of Felixstowe would bring more benefits than the harm it would cause, according to the developers.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24