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‘They have failed our children': Parents protest after special school closure

By Jamie Brassington | Walsall | Education | Published: | Last Updated:

Angry parents protested outside a council house after a special school was closed following an Ofsted inspection.

The Jane Lane School, which teaches 143 pupils aged between seven and 19, was rated Inadequate by the education watchdog.

Inspectors said the school, on Churchill Road, Walsall, was failing to provide an “acceptable standard of education” after a recent visit.

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Parents protested on the steps of Walsall Council House ahead of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening, citing concerns for the welfare of their children.

They also complained about a lack of communication between the school and parents.

Zara Sands, whose 13-year-old son Joshua attends the school, said: “They have failed our children. They never give us any proper communication and keep us in the dark.

“All the parents are so livid and upset. We have to deal with this day to day. It is the lack of communication and safety of our children which concerns us."

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'Trust has been broken'

Gill Ogilvie, a parliamentary candidate for Walsall North, said: “The council refused to let the parents have an advocate at a meeting with them and the trust with parents has been broken.

"The communication from the school has been dire. Parents feel the council has dismissed their points of view.

"The concern of the parents is not just about the Ofsted rating, but it is about the fact that, in as three times in as many months this school has been closed overnight.

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“The children don’t know what they are doing. Some of the children are having meltdowns because they are anxious about what it is happening.

"It is not just the case about a bad Ofsted report, but a failing by of the local authority and allowing the school to get to this point.”

As a result of the recent Ofsted inspection, the school on Churchill Road has been placed into special measures.

Inspectors found problems with risk assessments and said staff were unaware of health needs.

Walsall Council’s education chief Chris Towe said at the time that the local authority recognised “many of the weaknesses highlighted by Ofsted."

He told the Express & Star: “Prior to the inspection, we had spoken to the school’s leadership team and governing body requiring them to take rapid action.

“The inspectors recognised this, as well as acknowledging the positive relationships the staff have with the students."

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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