When news happens, text ROMS and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Stanbridge to close after pupil numbers fall
11:23am Monday 19th August 2013 in News
A TROUBLED school in Hampshire at the centre of sex abuse claims is to close.
Management at Stanbridge Earls near Romsey announced on Friday the school will shut its doors immediately after failing to get enough children signed up for classes in September.
The private school catering for youngsters aged 10 to 19 with learning difficulties needed to secure a minimum of 90 children on its roll for next term, but only 82 had been signed up before yesterday’s extended deadline passed at noon.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after staff and pupils celebrated glowing A-level results with 100 per cent A* to E pass rate – six per cent above last year.
Parental support A statement on the school’s website said: “The trustees of Stanbridge Earls School announce with great sadness and deep regret that it will not be possible for the school to reopen for the autumn term, and therefore the school will be closing.
“Despite strong parental support for the school insufficient pledges had been received by midday today to make the school financially and educationally viable.”
It brings down the final curtain on six months of troubles involving sex abuse allegations and financial woes. As previously reported, a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal earlier this year found that the £39,000-a-year school had discriminated against a girl and that staff members failed to tell the youngster’s parents that she had complained of pain in an intimate part of her body.
The tribunal found that a vulnerable youngster had suffered “appalling abuse” at the hands of another student, while the school was slammed by panel members for being “unsystematic, unprofessional, ad hoc and completely inadequate” when it came to protecting the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
A police investigation called Operation Flamborough has already been set up to probe allegations made by two former pupils.
This investigation includes an internal inquiry into whether police involved in previous investigations into sex abuse claims at the school should be disciplined.
Chief Constable of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Andy Marsh, is also facing a police probe from a separate force amid breach of confidentiality and contempt of court claims in connection with the investigation.
The inquiry is being carried out on behalf of Hampshire’s Police Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes.
Meanwhile, negotiations for a takeover of Stanbridge Earls by More House School, in Frensham, Surrey, to run it as a sister facility collapsed earlier this month.
The Department for Education (DfE) has previously confirmed that the school’s registration would be maintained until Christmas.
Bosses were due to submit an action plan, demanded by schools watchdog Ofsted after several emergency inspections, to the DfE this month.
The trustees praised parents for their support and pupil’s “remarkable resilience” throughout the troubles.
Offer of help Management and head teacher Maggie McMurray have promised to help parents find alternative schooling in time for the new term.
In a letter to parents trustees wrote: “We know what Stanbridge has meant to you and to your child and we are profoundly sorry that we have not been able to make it possible for that education to continue.
“We are sure that you will be concerned for their futures and should like to reassure you that we will be doing everything we can to support them through what will be an extremely difficult time for them as well.”
Comments are closed on this article.