Friday 15 March 2013

Paul Hett

There were complaints of abuse from other private residential schools and children's homes in North Wales: Ynys Fechan Hall at Arthog, eight miles from Dolgellau on the coast; Dol Rhyd School, Barmouth Road, Dolgellau; and (confusingly) Hengwrt House at Llanelltyd, near Dolgellau.

All three of these establishments were run by Paul Hett.
The first of these was found by the Welsh Office to be operating as an unregistered school for about a dozen pupils in 1974. According to Hett the property was acquired with the aid of a large mortgage in 1974 and he started the school with three pupils. He was suddenly inundated with applications with the result that he took holiday placements immediately, mainly from Gloucestershire, and he began the academic year with 12 pupils. All the children came from local authorities (primarily in Lancashire initially) and included those subject to care orders, children on remand and emergency placements.

Registration as a school was granted by the Welsh Office in 1975 but this was subsequently transferred to Dol Rhyd School in 1976 as provisional registration. This house, which had formerly been the senior girls' house at the well known Dr Williams' School for Girls, was acquired on 1 December 1975 and, by February 1976, 30 boys were enrolled there, including three of primary school age. It appears that Dol Rhyd took over from Ynys Fechan Hall as the school and the latter became merely a residential annexe until it was destroyed by fire in September 1981; but it was not until 15 February 1979 that the Welsh Office agreed to give Dol Rhyd final registration.
Hengwrt House was acquired by Hett in October 1980, according to his own evidence. It was ten minutes' walk from Dol Rhyd and he had already discussed with the Welsh Office his intention to establish there a junior section of his school for 15 pupils. Thus, he intended to raise the full establishment to about 50 pupils and also to include girls. In the event Hengwrt House appears to have been treated as part of Dol Rhyd until April 1986.
Various concerns about the running of Dol Rhyd were expressed to the Welsh Office during the 1980s, including anxieties about harsh treatment of pupils. At this time Ynys Fechan Hall re-opened briefly in October 1984, after re-building at a cost of £350,000, as a school for dyslexic children but it closed in May 1985, when its pupils were transferred to Dol Rhyd.
It was sold in September 1986 to Barry Young and was registered by the latter with Gwynedd County Council in 1992 as a private children's home for up to 11 boys and girls. It remains open and there have not been any complaints about it during Young's regime.
Hett's aim for Dol Rhyd from 1983 onwards had been to secure approval to admit pupils with statements of SEN under section 11(3)(a) of the Education Act 1981 but this was refused by the Secretary of State in April 1984 and again in April 1987. In the interim period Dol Rhyd had accommodated a reducing number of dyslexic pupils. By July 1987 the school had been discontinued and it was removed from the Register of Independent Schools on 12 August 1987. It was then re-opened by Hett's former wife and her sister as a unit (called Cerrig Camau) for young adults with learning difficulties and registered as such by Gwynedd County Council.

As for Hengwrt House, Hett applied for it to be registered separately from Dol Rhyd and it was provisionally registered in the name of Ysgol Hengwrt on 14 April 1986 as an independent residential school. The application was for up to 20 boys and girls aged 11 to 18 years and Hett had in mind a small, family orientated special school for disadvantaged teenagers, concentrating on vocational courses for the 14 to 16 age range.
The school had a very unhappy history, however, because successive inspectors were critical and there were a number of allegations of sexual abuse that were not satisfactorily resolved. The number of pupils on the roll fluctuated at a very low level and fell to two in January 1990 after Brent London Borough Council removed their six placements at the school.
It was then removed from the register in March 1990, restored provisionally in September 1990 and again removed on 9 December 1991. Registration as a children's home was refused by Gwynedd County Council in October 1992 and the Registered Homes Tribunal dismissed Hett's appeal in April 1993. In his evidence to the Waterhouse Tribunal on 20 January 1998 Hett described Ysgol Hengwrt as "an empty school with a dream" and himself as "headmaster of a residential special school with no pupils since 1993".

Source: All info direct from Waterhouse Report


  1. I wonder what evidence you have of any allegations? Or that any were against Mr Hett.
    I don't particularly like the man, but to brand someone a paedophile with no evidence is just plain wrong.
    I spent time at the school in the 80s, not as a pupil, but as a child who went there to play, and later knew people who worked there, and never heard mention of any allegations against him.

    1. Evidence?! Try living with an ex pupil of this 'school'
      At 45 hes still so badly affected by the abuse he suffered at Dolrhyd back in the 80's it disrupts our daily life.The staff who took pleasure in sexually and physically abusing little boys,deserve more karma than they'll ever get unfortunately,so if your looking for 'evidence' im sure theres many many more men like my partner who could give you it.
      Claire (Jamie's partner)

    2. Ty Claire, for your insight.
      The site admin fully recognise and understand the lack of support for both the survivor and their loved ones.
      The Inquiry that held promises of Justice and answers is proving not fit for purpose, and survivors are now having to band together and support themselves and each other.
      Some of the evidence was presented to Waterhouse, who in turn chose to ignore it.
      As I stated before, this site only runs with Evidenced information.
      Hence why I'm still here several years later.
      I hope Jamie can one day understand, accept it was never his fault, and move beyond the point where it controls Every day x

  2. the info above is direct transcript taken from the Gov Documnt Lost in Care, following then inquiry conducted by Sir Ronald Waterhouse.
    All material © Crown copyright 2000 First published February 2000. Amendment issued October 2000 HC 201 ISBN 0 10 556660 8

  3. I knew a friend there who was not nonced up - but was beaten up by Hett, who used to have his tongue pressed comically against his bottom lip as he went to work with any poor bastard who had 'done wrong' - then there was another sweetheart called Maurice Catherwood who wanted to be 'one of the hardmen' - this one was a bit of a wanker, but he put the shits up the more terrified; more violence. Then there was the worst one - this bastard was either in the army at one time or in some organisation - he was called Ken Clark, and he gave me friend a going over a fair few times, with one time picking him up by the cheeks (of his face). The only person who looked dodgy was this American who turned up now and then - If I remember, Terry said his name was 'Monty'. He left the home in 1978 and burnt it down a couple of years later, with the authorities really going to town on him. Nine years.
    Later, when he turned up at the Waterhouse tribunal, years later, he was giggled at as he described Clark showing off to the other elder boys by lifting him up by his cheeks in the dining room before laying into him like he was an adult, as well as Hetts frequent softening antics, with Catherwood thinking - 'Yep...I'll have some of that too!', which was how things went in Dol Rhyd. And to think - my friend was sent there after being sexually abused in a home in England, and the social workers who were 'looking after' him thought the home in Wales would 'calm him down'.

    1. hi can you tell me who your friend is im an expupil of dolrhyd

    2. i was there to witness the going over that ken Clark gave to your mate terry..i remember hes dad coming up the school..hes face was out like a baloon...i saw every thing...god that poor chap took a beating that day..its a big shame that they were not in the school at the time of the burning down..if i saw any of them now ill do bird ive been robbed of my education and it has effected me in a big way the beating i had from those cunts.

  4. oh my god you said it petfectly I WAS a pupil and trust me theres loads more the report dont know about

    1. im an ex pupil of dolrhyd and yns fechan all of what you say is true ..and more .does anyone remember going to the isle of white ....i would love to see some of the old boys i spent 3 and a half years there. i was there when man alive did there documentary on dolrhyd and ynys fechan and i have a copy on dvd i must say my stay at dolrhyd was not good but i do miss some people and would love to know what happened to them

  5. Hi Victor mate, I remember you well from Ynys Fechan, about 1974/5 ish if my memory hasn't totally gone. They really aren't worth wasting the memory on mate, not a single one of them was worth a jot. Like a lot of other kids, I got Chinned by Hett a couple of times and got a good slapping and a free haircut off him before I "absconded". The social services didn't listen to absconders as we were regarded as unreliable. I Don't know if Hett was a paedophile or not and don't really care, but he was most certainly an abuser of children.

  6. My name is Craig,I was their believe me a lot lot more went on.

  7. So was i.Who remembers Charlie stone ? He was a nonce and tried beating me up but i got the better of him & he got sacked, i know the 4 boys who he abused. I remember Maurice Ken Jones Terry Jones & quite a few other staff members. What a hell hole that school was.

  8. I worked there in the 80s the girls that where there was very distraught and frighten. Things there were not right the duty of care was to be desired. There was no understanding what so ever. Later I had dealings with hengwrt Hall where boys where supposed to be looked after. They where in it for the money not the care of the kids. I felt really sorry for them.


Thanks for your time and interest