Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 27/01/2003, pg. 4

THE headmaster of the Toowoomba school which sparked a national debate over the Governor-General’s handling of child sex abuse complaints received Australia Day honours for his services to education.

Bruce Howden, who received an OAM, was headmaster at Churchie Prep from 1984-95 before taking on the job of headmaster at Toowoomba Preparatory School in 1995.

Mr Howden has served on the Queensland School Curriculum Council and the education committee of the Association of Independent Schools of Queensland.

He said yesterday the school had “moved on” from the disastrous revelation that several girls had been sexually abused by former boarding master Kevin Guy who later committed suicide.

When Mr Howden arrived in 1995, unaware of what had happened in 1990, he found the school facing closure because it was struggling financially due to falling enrolments.

From a low ebb of 267 students, Mr Howden has implemented his vision for the school as a village environment.

With primary-aged boarders living at the school for 38 weeks a year and only being at home for 14 weeks, he wanted the school to be a “home away from home” with its own church, hospital and village green.

His vision captured the imagination of parents who have boosted school enrolments to begin classes this year with a record 475 children, including 142 boarders.

He said the award was good for the school and the city of Toowoomba.

Copyright 2003 / Courier Mail