Cranbrook: Scandal-hit private school reveals details about probe into child safety concerns

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Sarah Blake
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Along with an external law firm, respected senior school educator Dr Amanda Bell will review any new complaints to the school, which has endured a tumultuous fortnight that saw longtime principal Nicholas Sampson (pictured) abruptly resign four days after an expose on the ABC’s Four Corners program.
Along with an external law firm, respected senior school educator Dr Amanda Bell will review any new complaints to the school, which has endured a tumultuous fortnight that saw longtime principal Nicholas Sampson (pictured) abruptly resign four days after an expose on the ABC’s Four Corners program. Credit: Cranbrook School

Scandal-hit private school Cranbrook has announced new details about how it will investigate complaints to the school amid an external probe of serious child safety matters during the past 15 years.

Along with an external law firm, respected senior school educator Dr Amanda Bell will review any new complaints to the school, which has endured a tumultuous fortnight that saw longtime principal Nicholas Sampson abruptly resign four days after an expose on the ABC’s Four Corners program.

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In a message to the school community on Thursday afternoon, school council president Geoff Lovell said Dr Bell was selected after holding “significant leadership roles as Principal of The Women’s College within the University of Sydney, Principal of Brisbane Girls Grammar School, and interim Principal of Kambala”.

“Dr Bell and the law firm will ensure that the review is conducted rigorously and independently of the School,” he wrote.

“They will provide advice to the School Council on the School’s response to the relevant matters of concern.”

The group would also advise on the school’s policies and procedures “relating to child protection, workplace health and safety, whistleblowing, and discrimination and bullying, to ensure these are in line with best practice”.

Mr Sampson quit last Friday after the school council learned he had promoted a teacher at the school despite being aware since 2015 of allegations the man had sent multiple lewd messages to a former female student from a school at which he formerly taught.

Last Friday, the school council described “an irrevocable breakdown of trust between the headmaster and the school council” and Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said his department would “investigate the issues raised in the media relating to Cranbrook and take any appropriate action”.

On Thursday, Mr Lovell sought to assure parents that the school would react appropriately to any new claims.

“The School will take appropriate action on relevant matters of concern on a timely basis, and it is expected that this external review process will be completed by mid-year,” he wrote.

“Further details about the external administration of the School’s process for reporting serious matters of concern will be announced shortly. Any such reporting can be done on a confidential basis and will be handled sensitively and appropriately at all times.”

“The School Council reiterates its abiding concern and priority for the safety and wellbeing of the School’s students and staff.”

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