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‘Improve or shut’, King's Lynn special school warned

A Lynn special school has been told that it must improve or face being closed down.

The warning to the Fen Rivers Academy follows an “inadequate” Ofsted rating last month, in which inspectors said there were too many occasions when physical restraint was used against pupils.

But the school’s sponsors say the issues raised in the report are already being addressed.

Classroom picture
Classroom picture

In a letter to the school’s sponsor, the Catch22 Multi-Academies Trust, regional schools commissioner Sue Baldwin said funding arrangements can be scrapped when an academy is deemed to require special measures.

She said a number of serious concerns had been highlighted by the inspection and called for documents to be submitted setting out how they would be addressed.

The weaknesses set out by the inspectors included low attendance rates, poor pupil behaviour and a lack of strategic planning and assessment.

The letter added: “There are too many incidents that result in staff using high-level restrictive physical intervention and leaders cannot show how they are preventing this high level of intervention from reoccurring.”

Catch22 chief executive Jane Reed said: “We acknowledge the concerns raised in the September Ofsted report and are actively addressing the issues raised.

“We have already commenced improvements to behaviour management and leadership processes, ensuring we are individually meeting the needs of each of our pupils. We are also delivering an ongoing programme of training to ensure all our staff are routinely upskilled to meet the specific SEMH needs of all our pupils.

“We are pleased to see the praise for our safeguarding procedures and for our students’ progress.

“Our school has been in operation for just over a year and we are confident that with the initiatives we are putting in place, along with our dedicated and experienced staff, we will see rapid improvement.”

Fen Rivers currently caters for children of primary school age at its premises on Kilhams Way, North Lynn.

However, the school is currently expected to expand into the current St Edmund’s Academy building when the latter moves to its new site off Greenpark Avenue next year in a multi-million pound project.

The expansion is intended to enable the academy to take pupils of seconadry school age as well.

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