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Malcolm Layfield leaves ‘untenable’ RNCM position

- 20 February 2013

Malcolm Layfield, one of a reported nine former or current teachers at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music who are under investigation by Greater Manchester Police in the aftermath of the conviction of Michael Brewer, has left his position as head of strings at the RNCM.

A joint statement released yesterday evening by the Royal Northern College of Music and Malcolm Layfield read in its entirety: ‘Professor Malcolm Layfield has left his post as Head of School of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music, his position at the College having become untenable.’

Last week Layfield stepped down from his position on the RNCM’s board and it is believed that he and the RNCM have since been consulting employment lawyers over his position.

Layfield’s appointment at the RNCM as head of strings, which he took up in 2002, was the subject of correspondence between the college and its then head of keyboard studies, Martin Roscoe, published by the Guardian on the evening of Michael Brewer’s conviction.

Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
Photo: David Dixon

Roscoe was concerned about relationships which he had been told Layfield had entered into with pupils at Chetham’s, and called his appointment ‘disgraceful in itself and a disaster for the reputation of the RNCM’. He subsequently resigned from the college.

A petition for an inquiry into ‘sexual and other abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist music institutions’ set up by former Chetham’s pupils Ian Pace, Tim Horton and Paul Lewis had yesterday received more than 650 signatures, including pianists Kathryn Stott, Lisa Batiashvili and Imogen Cooper, cellist Steven Isserlis, tenor Mark Padmore, oboist Nicholas Daniel, conductor Daniel Harding and composers Richard Barrett and Sally Beamish.

A letter published in today’s Guardian from the petition’s signatories said: ‘It is clear that there should now be a full independent inquiry into the alleged sexual and psychological abuse by Chetham’s staff since the establishment of the institution as a music school in 1969. Such an inquiry would ideally extend to other institutions as well, some of which have also been the subject of allegations of abuse.’

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