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Damning report into failures of Stanbridge Earls School
A DAMNING report has been published into failures at a school for special needs students where a vulnerable teenager was groomed with explicit texts and sexually abused by a fellow student.
The report, drawn up by a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, said Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey, which takes pupils from the south Wiltshire area, had “no understanding of its duties” and its failure to act was “beyond the tribunal’s comprehension”.
It found the headteacher, Peter Trythall’s conduct “borders on contempt for statutory duties” and concluded that “serious concerns” needed to be addressed by Ofsted, the Secretary of State for Education and Hampshire County Council, saying other local authorities should “also consider placement of its pupils at the school”.
David King, headteacher at Appleford School in Shrewton, which is a specialist school for children with dyslexia, who in the past may have gone on to study at Stanbridge Earls, said his school was preparing, should the need arise, to take on extra pupils as a result of recent developments.
He said: “This is obviously a very difficult time for Stanbridge Earls and it would not be correct for me to comment on issues directly affecting parents and pupils of Stanbridge Earls. “Should my school be approached, I can only say that we stand ready to help in any way we can – my duty of care is always to the children and promoting what is in their best interests.
“Here at Appleford, we previously only offered educational provision for students up to the age of 14, but since June we have extended our provision to provide a full GCSE, vocational and extra-curricular programme for pupils up to the age of 16.”
In the past, due to lack of post Year 8 provision at Appleford School many students have gone on to the Romsey school as a nearby school catering for youngsters with particular needs.
Mr King added: “Let’s say that in the worst-case scenario, a number of children with dyslexia will be in need of a place at a specialist school – we are not far away and would always be available to parents.”
A statement issued by Stanbridge Earls said: “This was an unusual and complicated case, which was the first of its kind ever experienced here and is not representative of the way the school normally meets the needs of its pupils. “In the wake of the tribunal’s findings, our chief concern is to apologise to the girl concerned.”