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New head wants to see justice for pupils

The first school in south Wales to be designated Welsh medium should have been a great prize for an ambitious or aspiring headteacher.

But with the Clywch inquiry in the background, it was perhaps not surprising that the governors of Rhydfelen school in Pontypridd had to re-advertise their vacant headship.

Now 18 months in post, head Peter Griffiths says he was attracted by plans to create a new campus for the secondary, a feeder primary, and community and lifelong learning centres.

"I knew the school had a good reputation and that wasn't going to be spoilt completely by the actions of one person," he said.

He believes there has been a sea-change in child protection procedures since the early 1990s, when allegations of sexual abuse were made against former drama teacher John Owen.

"Pupils, parents, staff and governors need to know there are strategies and systems in place whereby people can talk freely, knowing they will be listened to and believed."

The 930-pupil school has also been looking at ways of identifying the characteristics of a paedophile. But Mr Griffiths is most concerned that the Clywch report helps Owen's victims.

"The young people involved went through a traumatic experience. It is important that they have some kind of justice," he said.

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