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(UK) Dorset: $12M special school for 37 students struggles to find teachers

Nov 30, 2022, Bournemouth Daily Echo: £10million Dorset school struggling to recruit staff £10million [$12M] Dorset school struggling to recruit staff

SW England

Several keys positions remained vacant after the school opened and then, shortly afterwards, shut again, re-opening this term with only a third of the pupils originally anticipated in the business plan.

A new permanent head has now been appointed, Darren Harte, who will take up the post in January 2023 with the managing director’s post taken up by Andy Holder, who has been in post since November 18.

Both men as said to have wide experience of working with children who have special educational needs.

A report to councillors next week (Dec 5) says that the school’s governing body has not had a finance committee since June after not being able to recruit suitably qualified non-executive directors and having no a finance manager, although that post has just been filled.

The delay has meant work has not been completed on re-forecasting the budget and modifying the business plan, although an update is now expected on both by the end of December with monthly reports from then on.

The report to the Dorset Centre of Excellence Board says that while work continues to fill back office positions the school is also “experiencing challenges” in recruiting further permanent teaching assistants and more teachers - although now has enough staff to offer classes fulltime, with adequate numbers of permanent teachers for the 37 pupils at the £10million school.

As the recruitment drive continues agency teaching staff are expected to fill vacancies….

Said the report, which councillors will discuss on Monday December 5: “Pupil attendance has increased, and pupil behaviour has improved with a significant reduction in major incidents. There have been no suspensions (fixed term exclusions) or permanent exclusions.”

The report says most of the building works have now been completed, although there are still some minor delays, and the kitchen and dining room has been providing hot meals for lunch since mid-November, delivered by a contractor.

It is hoped that the school’s swimming pool may be offered for limited community use early in the New Year but the costs will have to be fully covered in addition to guaranteeing pupil safety.


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