Stanbridge Earls School: Government makes closure threat

Stanbridge Earls School Stanbridge Earls will get a "final inspection" in May

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The government has threatened to close a private school following allegations of sexual abuse.

A tribunal raised safety concerns after examining the way the Stanbridge Earls School dealt with claims a girl had been raped twice by other pupils.

Ofsted has since visited, and the school has produced an action plan.

But the Department for Education (DfE) has rejected the plan and "set out the immediate action" to be taken by the school in Romsey, Hampshire.

A DfE spokesman said there would be a "final inspection" in May.

He added: "If rapid progress is not made the department will consider removing the school from the register of independent schools [which would mean closure]."

'Progress made'

A spokesman for Stanbridge Earls, which caters to pupils aged 10 to 19 with special educational needs, said many of the DfE's concerns had already been addressed and Ofsted recognised progress had been made.

"The DfE's rejection of the plan in its current form does not seem to take account of all this activity," he said.

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said "massive strides" had been made by the school but "more needs to be done".

The January tribunal found the school had failed to protect the "vulnerable" pupil who made the rape allegations.

On Monday police announced a "comprehensive review" into alleged sex offences at the school and the way they were investigated.

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