Birmingham & Black Country

'Inadequate' Walsall school shut due to sickness

The Jane Lane School in Walsall Image copyright Google
Image caption The decision to close had "not been taken lightly", the school said

A special school, recently rated as inadequate, has closed with staff sickness being blamed.

The Jane Lane School in Walsall said in a letter on Tuesday that to open without sufficient staff would "compromise" health and safety.

The school said it was unlikely to reopen before half term starting on 18 February.

It said it understood the news "may present challenges" for parents, carers, children and young people.

Ofsted inspectors rated the school as inadequate in a report published on Thursday.

The school said the decision to close had "not been taken lightly" and it was working "to identify solutions" that would mitigate the impact and ensure education was reinstated for all children as quickly as possible.

Meetings have been arranged for Wednesday with parents and carers, with the purpose of sharing findings from the inspection, explaining reasons for closing and providing an opportunity for people to share concerns.

Zara Sands' 13-year-old son Joshua, who has learning disabilities and autistic traits, was one of those affected by the closure.

"He can't cope with change" said Ms Sands, who lives in Walsall.

"Knowing my son's struggling, not going to school, makes me upset as a mom."

Image caption Zara Sands' son Joshua said "I'm missing out on my education and I'm missing out on my friends"

The school in Churchill Road, which has 143 pupils aged seven to 19, said it would ensure officers were there "to respond to any specific concerns parents and carers may have and offer advice and assistance".

Ofsted inspectors rated the school as inadequate in all five areas assessed.

Pupils' health needs were not adequately understood by staff and the curriculum was "weak", the report said.

But it stated many staff had positive relationships with pupils, most pupils behaved well and the leadership team had recently been strengthened.

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