UK public school calls police as pupil tries to use phone as spy camer
One of Britain’s oldest public schools called in the police after boy tried to set up his phone as a spy camera in a girls’ changing room
- EXCLUSIVE: Parents claim they were ‘kept in the dark’ about the incident
- And pupils say they were threatened with ‘sanctions’ if matter was discussed
One of Britain’s oldest public schools has called in police after a pupil tried to use his phone as a spy camera in a girls’ changing room.
The incident horrified parents at £12,000-per-term Durham School with some claiming there was an attempt to cover up the incident, a suggestion hotly denied by the school.
Durham – which counts Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings and Pointless host Alexander Armstrong among its former pupils – says it acted quickly and the boy is no longer at the school.
However the incident is a blow to the reputation of a school established in 1414 by the Bishop of Durham, Thomas Langley, and refounded in 1541 by King Henry Vlll.
Parents claim they were ‘kept in the dark’ about the incident.
They claim the incident took place in the changing rooms at the school’s swimming pool while girls in Year 8 – aged 12 – 13 – were getting changed into bathing suits.
The incident horrified parents at £12,000-per-term Durham School with some claiming there was an attempt to cover up the incident, a suggestion hotly denied by the school
The incident horrified parents at £12,000-per-term Durham School. It has been claimed that there was an attempt to cover up the incident – a suggestion hotly denied by the school
Pupils, they say, were threatened with ‘sanctions’ if the matter was discussed either inside or outside the school.
A Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation spokesman said: ‘A pupil left the school in February following an investigation into reports of filming in a girls’ changing room. The matter was immediately referred to Durham Constabulary.
‘The boy, in the same year group as the girls using the changing room, tried to set up his mobile phone to record. It was discovered before any filming of pupils occurred.
‘The girls, both those immediately affected and others, were offered pastoral support. The School pastoral team liaised closely with the girls and their parents as well as the police.
‘It is categorically untrue that pupils were told not to speak further of the matter.’
Kieran McLaughlin, Headmaster of Durham School, said: ‘This incident was thoroughly investigated in line with our behaviour policy and the pupil in question left following this investigation. We worked closely with pupils, parents and police to support pupils in the aftermath of this upsetting incident.’
Parents were unhappy with the way the incident was dealt with. One said: ‘The school has covered up and kept information away from parents. Teaching staff have told the pupils not to say anything as they don’t want it getting out.
A Durham police spokesman said: ‘Earlier this year we looked into an isolated incident in which a young boy left a phone video recording in an empty changing room.
Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings is among the famous former pupils at the school. Former pupils of the establishment are known as Old Dunelmians
‘Having reviewed the circumstances and spoken to several pupils it was concluded that no crime had been committed and there was no sexual motive.’
In 2021 Durham School merged with the prestigious Durham Chorister School, based in Durham Cathedral, which counts former Prime Minister Tony Blair among its former pupils.
Durham is the 18th oldest public school in Britain, although it may be even older than the established 1414 foundation date.
Historians believe the first school may have its roots in the ‘community of Cuthbert’ which was established in 995.
At that time LIndisfarne Priory was moved from Holy Island to the city of Durham to escape marauding Viking invaders and a centre of learning was established along with it.
The school remained on its site on Palace Green, outside the cathedral, when it was refounded by Henry Vlll as part of the dissolution of the monasteries during the protestant reformation.
Former pupils of the establishment are known as Old Dunelmians, a reference to Durham’s latin name, Dunelm.
Other ex pupils include actor Michael Gough – best known as Alfred in the Batman movies – and England rugby star Geoff Parling (pictured above)
Other ex pupils include actor Michael Gough – best known as Alfred in the Batman movies – Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, commander in chief of the British Army after The Duke of Wellington, architect Anthony Salvin, poet Christopher Smart ,Granville Sharp, founder of Sierra Leone and England rugby star Geoff Parling.
A third of Durham’s pupils go on to Russell Group universities and the school excels in the sporting field.
The school rugby club is the 5th oldest in the world and its boat club is the 3rd oldest in the world.
It is also one of 8 national academies for the Modern Pentathlon, which involves Swimming, Fencing, Horse Riding, Running and Shooting.
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