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(UK) Nottingham: Special school, damning report

Sept 20, 2023, BBC News: Pupils at closed Nottinghamshire special school 'left traumatised'

E. Midlands

Parents have said their children were scared to go to a special needs school which closed after a damning report.

Ofsted rated Harlow Academy in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire - then run by the Evolve Trust - inadequate following a visit in January.

Three women have now described how their children became more aggressive, were in tears at drop-offs and lost mobility due to being strapped down.

Authorities admitted serious failings and have pledged to make changes. The school has been renamed and taken over by another trust Harlow Academy catered for pupils aged three to 18 with severe or profound learning difficulties. Many also had additional physical disabilities.

Ofsted's report said: "Staff do their best to care and provide for the complex needs of pupils but there are not enough staff to make sure that all pupils are properly cared for.

"The lack of staff leaves pupils at imminent risk of harm."

In June a review by the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP) spoke of a "shocking picture of the decline of the quality of care of children", which went "to a point where the school was not safe for the children"….

The school closed following the report but has since reopened as Fountaindale School, under a new trust.

But the legacy of what happened is still affecting three families, who spoke to the BBC…. Another parent who asked to remain anonymous said: "In order to keep people safe my child had to stay strapped in their wheelchair all day, despite being capable to walk around the classroom.

"As a result their physical mobility deteriorated significantly and their muscles have all tightened to a point where they now find it much harder to walk and we need to have more equipment in place to stretch out their muscles."

She said parents went to several official organisations but concerns "fell on deaf ears"….

Lindsay's son Kye has the same condition as Aaron and also has ADHD and autism.

She said "There was no response from anyone. It was a brick wall constantly.

"No-one will take responsibility."

"Just because the children can't tell us what truly happened, it can't be ignored," she added.

The NSCP said: "All of those who are involved in commissioning of services or providing care for young people with complex needs has a duty to provide good standards of care and keep children as safe as they can be.

"We would like to reassure families that the partnership is committed to making sure that children are kept safe….


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