Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

Bury St Edmunds/UK: Mothers of pupils at Scott Rogers’ dance and performing academy told how they were losing their children

15:22 04 September 2014

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Exclusive strictly copyright Andy Abbott

A swirl of suspicion had enveloped Richard-Scott Rogers when he moved from England to the US in the mid 1990s.

shares

Having founded the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, in 1983 he used it to cultivate and exert control over some of its pupils, particularly the gifted ones.

The chosen ones slept over at his home and some are said to have gravitated away from their families to live at the Rogers’ home.

In 1995, Suffolk County Council was so disturbed at what came out during Mr Rogers 1993 trial it issued a statement warning of a religious cult-style atmosphere at the academy.

In rebuttal to the warning Mr Rogers said some youngsters needed to stay with him and his family at his home with their parents’ consent because their homes were too far away for them to travel every day.

Mr Rogers said: “If people read it (the council statement) it is an opinion. But it’s not a valid opinion”

He then urged the council to carry out a full investigation and claimed parents had nothing to fear, although he did concede there was a strict code of discipline at the academy.

Mr Rogers added: “We influence children to behave in a certain way. That’s the ethos of the arts and to attack that is attacking the way the arts are taught right through to the Royal Ballet.”

After the warning was issued one mother, who could not be named for legal reasons, told how she feared she would never see her son again after he abandoned a promising future to become more involved with the school.

When the family decided to leave Bury St Edmunds in the early 1990s their teenage son said he wanted to stay.

The boy’s mother said: “I don’t feel we did anything wrong. We just did everything to make our son happy.

“We must have been as trusting as everyone else.”

Another mother told how her dancer son moved out of his home and went to live with Mr Rogers’ family.

In December 1995, she said she was concerned about her son after reports that Mr Rogers had gone to the US.

Another woman, whose daughter started classes at the academy when it opened, told how she came close to losing her to the academy.

At the time the headteacher was running a support group for 18 families who claimed their children had suffered “serious” problems at the school.

The mother said her daughter began spending more and more time there.

She said: “Each time she asked if she could start a new class I was made to feel that to refuse would show that I didn’t love her.”

When her concerned mother suggested to her daughter that she cut back her classes she became “hysterical” and ran away for a brief period.

The mother said at the time: “I want parents to know what has happened to other people.

“I don’t want to what has happened to my family to happen to anyone else.”

Her daughter left the academy 15 months after her mother first became concerned.

On December 12, 1995, it was announced that the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts was to undergo a major shake-up.

It was to split into two separate schools with different names.

More than 500 children were part of the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts.

The academy’s teachers also went out to schools including Great Cornard Middle, Mildenhall Upper, and Thurston Upper, as well as RAF Lakenheath.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Early arrivals at the 2015 Suffolk Show.

There are travel delays on some of the main routes to the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park in Ipswich this morning.

Set up of the 2015 Suffolk Show at Trinity Park, Ipswich  Lynne Mortimer

As the final touches were put to this year’s Suffolk Show yesterday, Lynne Mortimer and photographer Lucy Taylor visited the showground to see how things were shaping up.

Jean Sarah at Klinik Marinus am Stein in Brannenburg

A cancer patient who raised £14,000 for alternative treatment abroad has returned feeling “better than ever”.

Set up of the 2015 Suffolk Show at Trinity Park, Ipswich

We are bringing you live updates this morning from Trinity Park as day one of the Suffolk Show gets underway.

Speed restrictions on the A12 for resurfacing

Work to repair the A12 between Ipswich and the Essex border has been delayed again – meaning motorists will continue to suffer from a 40mph limit well into June.

Police outside Portman Road before the Ipswich v Norwich play off first leg

Two Ipswich football fans have admitted threatening behaviour offences following the first leg of Town’s play-off game with Norwich.

The scene at Uncle Sam's American Circus in Chantry Park after the incident

A horror crash which took place in front of a packed big top crowd on Monday will be investigated by safety officers from Ipswich Borough Council.

The lifeboat was called to assist

A motorist had to be rescued by a lifeboat after their van became stuck in mud attempting to cross the Osea Island causeway in Essex.

Abellio Greater Anglia train.

Trains between London Liverpool Street and Norwich are being delayed due to a signal fault.

Joseph Reason is angry he cannot continue on a Level Three BTEC mechanics course at Suffolk New College

Students and parents have voiced anger after conditional places on a mechanic’s college course were cancelled.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages