A £20,000-a-year private school has been accused of being a "hotbed for sexual violence" in a letter that went public this week.

An open letter to the headmaster at King’s College School in Wimbledon was published online, claiming that male pupils sexually assaulted and harassed current and former students, as well as pupils from nearby schools.

The author, a former Wimbledon High School pupil called Ava Vakil invited girls to speak on their experiences following the UK-wide discussion on women's safety.

Vakil's online invitation was shared far and wide which urged many pupils to come forward with testimonies.

The 11-page open letter described how the school has acted as a "breeding ground" for the behaviour which had become a "deep-rooted culture" at King's.

In her letter, Vakil accused male pupils of violent and drunken sexual assaults, circulating nude photos of girls without consent, and telling rape jokes and threatening rape.

Students at King's were also accused of catcalling and verbal abuse, including wolf-whistling and being called 's**g', 's**t' and 'w**e'.

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The letter also highlighted reports of racial and homophobic abuse, including the use of the 'n-word', anti-semitism, homophobic slurs 'and much more'.

Vakil went onto say that the problem of entitlement and a lack of accountability "manifests in more ways than one".

Speaking to Wimbledon Times, Ms Vakil said: "I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the moment seeing all the news about violence against women.

"I felt completely powerless. But then I realised that we all have the potential to make change, and the best place to make change is right on your doorstep.

"King’s is an institution local to me which I felt needed to address its culture of misogyny, which is why I decided to write the letter.

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"I want to see an acknowledgement of this problem and a full action plan including an independent review in an effort to tackle it.

"I understand this is difficult and for many people this is their institution, and they want to feel proud of it. Accept the problem, work to change it, and be proud of that.”

King's College School has acknowledged the "deeply shocking" testimonies and said they have established a system to ensure experiences can be shared in confidence.

A spokeswoman for King’s College School said: “The testimonies published recently are deeply shocking and have had a profound impact on us all.

"The behaviour they describe has no place in our society and is expressly at odds with our school’s ethos.

“We have established a system to handle disclosures made by pupils, past or present, and to ensure that they can share their experiences in confidence, and we are supporting anyone who comes forward to us. 

"The governors are appointing a panel of independent experts to carry out a forensic review of the school’s policies, practices and values.

“King’s College School will listen to, learn from and act on these serious disclosures.”