Open letter in response to abuse at Whitefield School

People with thumbs down

An Open letter to the Children's Commisioner about how Sheffield Voices feels about the horrific abuse at Walthamstow school as reported last week by the BBC between 2014 and 2017


F.A.O   Dame Rachel De Souza

Dear Madame 

We are writing to you today to express our upset and outrage at the abuse we have read about at Walthamstow Special School. This is an open letter that we have shared on our social media. 

We are a learning disability and autism self-advocacy project and we have been meeting over the last few years with other groups to discuss abuse of people with learning disabilities as it is unacceptable that these horrible events happen. 

We were particularly shocked by the fact that the perpetrators of this abuse were still working at the school and even more shocked that this abuse had not been reported to the DBS. Our group feel that If organisations don’t report crimes like this to DBS then how safe are other people going to be in the future from these abusers. 

The only reason this has been found out is because this was exposed by a whistle blower, and this is just not right. There needs to be proper checks on all services like this and strong action taken. 

Unless we start taking abuse of people with learning disabilities seriously, we are going to have these incidences. We know that this happens in additional needs schools as it has happened to many of our members when they were growing up. 

Schools that educate children with learning disabilities should be specialist trained in how to properly care for children. They should have specialist knowledge on how to deescalate situations and not report to physical restraints of any kind before all other avenues have been explored. 

As a group of people with learning disabilities, we have all suffered from various levels of abuse as children and young adults and we know more than anyone that locking children away and abusing them has long lasting traumatic effects and stays with them for a long term. 

This is not normal and should not be accepted. 

People in Sheffield Voices are deeply upset about this and its brought back really awful memories 

There needs to be robust quality checking services that are present, talking to pupils and staff on a regular basis. These need to be independent people going in and talking to people and reporting things that they feel are of concern. 

There needs to be cameras present so parents can log in and check that their child is safe as clearly the school cannot be trusted to protect children. 

In addition to this, people found to be abusing vulnerable people should not only be punished but be properly reported so that they cannot continue to work in that sector.

Sheffield Voices wants people to know what action you as Children's Commissioner are going to do about this situation. 

This is happening far too often, in schools, hospitals and in care and it needs to stop. We are worth more than this and the Government need to support strong action to prevent further incidences happening. 


We look forward to hearing from you


Yours sincerely 

Sheffield Voices 

Published by : Andrew Smith

More Blogs

Long Covid Poster

Long Covid Project

Sheffield Voices has been working in partnership with Healthwatch Sheffield to create information for people with learning disabilities .

Read Morefor Long Covid Project

Contact Information

If you would like to contact us, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us by phone, email, contact form or write a letter to us. Thank you.

Sheffield Voices
The Circle
33 Rockingham Lane
S1 4FW

Phone : 0114 253 6750

Contact Form

Sorry Contact form not available in your country