Ruthin School head teacher sacked after text allegations

Published
image captionAllegations have been made against school principal Toby Belfield

A private school head teacher accused of sending inappropriate text messages to female pupils has been sacked.

The Times and Mail reported the claims against Toby Belfield, principal of Ruthin School in Denbighshire.

The allegations came days after a report found pupils were "at risk of harm" because of safeguarding failures.

In a statement, the school said Mr Belfield's contract had been terminated immediately and it was working to review its safeguarding arrangements.

He was accused in the national newspaper reports of sending inappropriate messages to six girls.

BBC Wales has attempted to contact Mr Belfield for a response.

image copyrightDavid Medcalf/ Geograph
image captionA report highlighted "serious shortfalls" in the school's safeguarding of pupils

The school said: "This has been, and remains, a highly sensitive and challenging situation.

"A number of external investigations have been conducted over some months, and the school's council of management has worked with relevant agencies throughout and continues to do so.

"The school's council of management received a verbal interim report on 31 January from the external person we appointed to independently review Mr Belfield's conduct, and on the basis of that report has decided to terminate Mr Belfield's employment with immediate effect."

The school was inspected without notice in November by Estyn and a separate report by Care Inspectorate Wales highlighted concerns about the safety of pupils at the school.

The head teacher had previously warned pupils against teenage relationships, saying they could hamper their education.

Llyr Gruffydd, assembly member for North Wales, said: "This is the right decision to make and that resolves the immediate problem, but wider questions remain about the governance of this school and the overall supervision of the private school sector in Wales.

"It's clear there are gaps in terms of oversight and accountability, which need addressing and I will be raising these concerns with the minister this week."

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