Surrey

Charterhouse School contacts ex-pupils over 'harassment' concerns

Cathy Newman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cathy Newman spoke about her school experiences as part of an anti-bullying campaign

A public school where Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman was sexually harassed is asking its ex-pupils "to share concerns" from their school days.

Since Ms Newman highlighted her experiences at Charterhouse, more women have spoken out in the media about sexual harassment and bullying there.

The £40,000-a-year school has accepted girls in the sixth form since 1971 and will be fully co-educational by 2023.

The Surrey independent school said it had robust safeguarding policies.

In a statement, Charterhouse said: "Although some time ago, the events described remain truly shocking, and have no place in any school at any time.

"Charterhouse is a very different place today and we are in the process of contacting all our former pupils encouraging them to get in touch (anonymously if preferred) should they wish to share concerns they have from their time at the school."

Ms Newman spoke out to the Sunday Times earlier this month as part of an anti-bullying drive, revealing details of an incident in the lunch hall at the school in Godalming when she was 16.

She said one pupil unzipped his flies and forced her to touch his penis, leaving her feeling "humiliated" and "embarrassed".

Image copyright Geograph / Tim Knight
Image caption The school plans to be fully co-educational by 2023

Since the revelations, other ex-pupils have told the newspaper about experiences including a humiliating initiation ceremony at the school and flashing and groping incidents.

The school said previously it had not been aware of Ms Newman's allegations but had reported them to police.

In a new statement it backed any initiative encouraging pupils to speak out about bullying and harassment, and the headmaster commended the bravery of those who had come forward.

Charterhouse will admit girls into Year 9 in 2021 and will have girls in every year group from 2023.

The school said it "has robust safeguarding and anti-bullying policies which combine preventative education and pastoral care with clear reporting guidelines to protect all of our pupils".

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