Ballet West Scotland closed after grooming scandal

Ballet West Scotland has closed with immediate effect. The school’s vice principal, Jonathan Barton, has been accused of grooming teenage pupils for sex.

The allegations were first reported in an ITV documentary 13 August. The claims go back to 2004 and continue up to 2018.

Barton resigned from his position on 11 August. Meanwhile his mother, Gillian Barton, who was the school’s founder and principal, was suspended. Police are investigating the claims.

It is not known how many victims are involved, but ITV said that “more than 60 students, staff and parents claimed the school’s vice principal Jonathan Barton had groomed teenagers and went on to have sexual relationships with them.”

After the documentary was broadcast a number of organisations withdrew their accreditation, including the Royal Academy of Dance and Scottish Qualification Authority. As a result the school – which was named Best British Ballet School at the 2019-20 Ballet Grand Prix – could no longer continue to operate.

The school’s board issued the following statement: “As a board, we endeavoured to investigate the allegations regarding the vice principal and principal, who is suspended from her post, as fully as possible in the short time available and we have told Police Scotland that we will make all possible information available to them. We will also do the same with any regulatory bodies.

“We wholeheartedly support the police investigation. We are, however, now constrained by these investigations on what we can comment on publicly.”