The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IISCA) heard Alun Jones, the principal of Chetham’s School of Music, apologise for the appalling mistakes of the past after hearing details of former pupils being abused.

The IISCA are currently investigating abuse which took place at Residential Schools. Chetham School is Manchester and is regarded as one of the UK’s leading music schools. Mr Jones, who joined the school in September 2016 attended the second day of the hearings.

At the hearing a former pupil described how she was sexually assaulted at the age of 15 by her violin teacher Chris Ling. The witness said that Ling ran special courses for pupils in a house in Manchester and this is where the abuse took place.

Evidence began to emerge about Ling’s sexual assaults on up to another 11 female students which led to a police investigation. Ling who moved to the US in the 1990’s shot himself dead in 2015 when the Police arrived at his home to arrest him for extradition to the UK. Greater Manchester Police were planning to charge him with 77 offences.

The head teacher of Chetham’s from 1974 to 1992, Mr Vallins said that:

“he was unaware of the extra-curricular courses rang by Ling and that he had no part in appointing Ling who was hired directly by the music department.”

He admitted that at the time Chetham’s had no written child protection policies.

It was heard that seven individuals have been convicted or were likely to have been convicted if alive, or have admitted to sexual relationships with pupils whilst Mr Vallins was head teacher. Mr Jones said;

“what he had heard had been shocking and distressing”

“My task as the current principal of Chetham’s is to make sure we learn all possible lessons from what we heard today.”

“Current parents and students would not recognise what was said at the Inquiry today as the school they know – but this is of no consolation to victims and survivors.”

He added that he welcomed any victims and survivors of abuse getting in touch with him if they feel it can help to rectify some of the appalling mistakes of the past.


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