Fight to save Royal School for Deaf Children

The BBC is reporting that campaigners are fighting to save a specialist school for deaf children which closed suddenly last week. 

Parents were informed on Friday evening that the Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate, Kent, would close with immediate effect…

Campaigners say the school is one of a very small number that cater for deaf children with complex additional needs such as autism and learning difficulties. 

At the time of closure, there were about 150 children at the school and college.

“Many parents will be unable to work, as they will now have to care for their highly vulnerable children,” the British Deaf Association (BDA) said. 

Six children had no home to go to over Christmas, because their families were unable to meet their needs at home, the organisation added. 

BDA chairman Dr Terry Riley, a former governor of the school, said he was “saddened” by the closure. 

The school, which opened in 1792, was the oldest school for deaf children still operating in the UK, he said. 

“These are children who have been marginalised by society for being ‘unteachable’,” he said.

“Yet, through the perseverance and dedication of the staff, parents and family, they had hopes. 

“It is an extremely worrying situation for pupils and their families to see these hopes shattered.”

Dr Riley said the BDA had requested urgent meetings with the administrators and with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and still hoped to have the decision reversed…

More at: Fight to save Royal School for Deaf Children

 

Let’s hope a suitable outcome can be reached here because it sounds like the closure will have a signifiant impact on many of the children who have been attending the school.

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Comments

  1. The school is run by the John Townsend Trust.  This was the subject of a critical Care Quality Commission report in November concerning Westgate College for Deaf People and the Road Project in Margate.  CQC tool ‘rare’ action against the Trust which is reserved for ‘exceptional’ circumstances.  Perhaps this has some bearing on the school’s closure.  http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/statement-john-townsend-trust

  2. Trust accounts for y/e 31/8/14 said:
    ‘In 2014 the school changed its residential registration from a Residential Special School to a Special School
    with registered Children’s Home. This was to meet the needs of pupils requiring 52 week care provision. The
    first inspection in 2014 under the more stringent Children’s Home regulations rated the provision as
    “inadequate”, however, on re-inspection February 2015, it was rated as “Adequate”.’

    Ofsted June 2015 said it Requires Improvement.
    This Ofsted judgement combined with CQC criticism are likely to have contributed to the sudden closure.

    References: accounts can be downloaded from Charity Commission;  I had to do an on-line search for Ofsted’s June 2015 report as it didn’t seem to be available on Ofsted’s website (?).

  3. Ofsted judged this non-maintained special school as Good in February 2014 (although the Children’s Home requires improvement).  One way to save it would be to allow it to become a free school.  That said, funding would not likely cover boarding.  Children at the school came from 31 LAs (as at Feb 2014). LAs pay fees – accounts for the trust y/e 31/8/14 said the John Townsend Trust (see below) was facing income pressure due to reduction in funding to LAs.  If the EFA funded non-boarding education, this would reduce current LA fees – they would only have to fund boarding.
    Despite the pressure on income, however, trust accounts show the Trust’s CEO was paid £95,250 plus employer’s contribution of £13,430 into her teachers’ pension.

  4. pompeyanne SchoolsImprove Auditors of the accounts (y.e 31/8/14) of the Trust which runs the school noted:
    ‘…the existence of a material
    uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern…’

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