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Newham College accused of ‘cover-up’ over homophobia investigation

PUBLISHED: 10:44 30 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:26 30 April 2014

Mark Walcott

Mark Walcott

Archant

EXCLUSIVE: Newham College has been accused of a “cover-up” over its refusal to provide any information about its investigation into a homophobia scandal that saw its principal resign.

An independent probe was launched by the college in December after a recording of a senior lecturer saying gay teachers were “indoctrinating” male pupils “with their gay mentality” was published online.

Head of performing arts Mark Walcott was sacked for his remarks, made in a long speech recorded by staff members who felt an earlier college probe had gone nowhere.

College principal Denise Sackey-Browne, who was in charge of that first inquiry, resigned three weeks later.

However, four months on, the college has not named the QC it says is heading the investigation and has declined to say what is being looked at.

Richard Shannon, a former Drama lecturer who resigned over Mr Walcott’s behaviour, said: “The fact that Newham College has refused to comment on the progress of their investigation into corruption and the cover-up of serious homophobia suggests that the college is hoping these issues will simply be forgotten.”

Mr Shannon, who lectures at the University of East London, added: “If the college continues to resist disclosure, both the local authority and government need to take action.”

Campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has followed events at the College for years, called on the education secretary to intervene.

He said: “The internal inquiry and non-disclosure of its outcome is not good enough. It smacks of a cover up. What is needed is an Ofsted investigation.

“Michael Gove should intervene to ensure an independent inquiry.”

Mr Tatchell added: “The allegations involve much more than Mark Walcott’s homophobic rant.

“An external investigation is vital to establish the truth and to ensure that any guilty persons are bought to justice.”

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