Will Young says ‘appalling’ experiences at prep school gave him PTSD

Joanna Whitehead
·3-min read
Will Young in 2018 (Geoff Pugh/Shutterstock)
Will Young in 2018 (Geoff Pugh/Shutterstock)

Will Young has stated that his experiences at prep school gave him PTSD, describing the culture as “appalling”.

In a frank new interview with The Guardian, the “Leave Right Now” singer said he had been reflecting on his time at school and “wondering if any of those institutions will be brought to justice for the things that I saw happen.”

When probed about what he witnessed, he said: “Kids thrown against radiators. Other things I can’t talk about.”

He revealed that teachers at the school had “ripped out” the phone that pupils could have used to call their parents or Childline, saying: “That was a big deal for us. It was ripped out twice.”

The podcast host also recalled drunk teachers “rolling around dormitories” and one “you wouldn’t go for a ride with”.

He said: “We weren’t allowed to wear pants under our football shorts, so my dick used to fall out of my football shorts when I got tackled. Less washing. I saw kids being made to change on the football pitch because they had worn pants. Teachers looking at our penises in the shower, in the bath.”

“It was appalling,” he said. “That’s why I’ve got PTSD. There was such a sense of injustice from things that I experienced and witnessed.

“I think I escaped – not that it didn’t damage me.”

The 42-year-old also confirmed that his brother had died by suicide in July 2020, stating that his was a story “which I will tell another time”.

His comments come after a government inquiry into sexual abuse in schools was launched by the Department of Education after thousands of claims of sexual abuse and harassment were posted anonymously on the Everyone’s Invited website in March.

The names of schools where attacks were said to have happened or where the alleged perpetrator attended were also listed.

Ofsted will examine safeguarding policies in state and independent schools and “the extent and the severity of the issue”, and ensure pupils can report their concerns.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “While the majority of schools take their safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, I am determined to make sure the right resources and processes are in place across the education system to support any victims of abuse to come forward.

“This government is committed to ensuring victims feel supported to refer the most serious allegations to the police via the helpline, safe in the knowledge that everything possible will be done to bring offenders to justice.”

NSPCC chief executive officer Sir Peter Wanless said: “This is a watershed moment thanks to those who have found the courage to speak out.”

“At least a third of sexual offences against children are committed by other young people and that must be addressed.

“All children should be able to grow up in a safe community that is free from sexual violence where their rights are respected.”

The Report Abuse in Education helpline can be reached by calling 0800 136 663 or emailing helpnspcc.org.uk

You can contact Rape Crisis via their free helpline on 0808 802 9999 or on their website.

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