Kesgrave: ‘It was survival of the fittest’, claims ex-pupil of abuse inquiry school
18:00 04 February 2013
A FORMER pupil today claimed there was a culture of survival of the fittest at a Suffolk boarding school involved in a child abuse inquiry.
Last week Suffolk Constabulary said it was re-opening a 1992 inquiry in to allegations of abuse at Kesgrave Hall.
The decision followed pressure from ex-pupils and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter.
Matthew Smith went to Kesgrave Hall boarding school for four years.
The 35-year-old said when he was a student there it appeared the most vulnerable of pupils were picked on by some members of staff and other children.
The school catered for pupils who were said to have a range of behavioural difficulties.
Mr Smith, who lives in Surrey, said: “To me was a particularly frightening place, especially when I first got there.
“In my opinion there was violence used openly, and the threat of violence.
“They were low-level assaults, but it had not happened at schools I had gone to previously.
“I was slapped around the face and dragged into a room.
“There was an atmosphere where it was survival of the fittest and if you were at the bottom of the pile you were expected to shut up and not complain.
“Complaining was seen as trouble. It was a fearful environment
“I got some exam passes from there, but It was a difficult place to study.”
Kesgrave Hall was established in 1976.
A police and Suffolk social services inquiry began in 1992 after allegations of abuse at the school.
Four members of staff were suspended while the investigation was under way.
However, in September 1992 the inquiry concluded and no one was charged.
The Crown Prosecution Service said at the time that there was not enough evidence for any prosecutions to be brought.
Kesgrave Hall closed in 1993.
Throughout the past few months various allegations have re-surfaced about the school.
Former pupils have claimed they were victims of either physical or sexual abuse. In some cases ex-students have said they were victims of both.
One of Kesgrave Hall’s former teachers, Alan Stancliffe, was convicted and jailed on two different occasions - 1999 and 2007 - for historic sexual assaults on a total of three pupils.