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Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich cleared after 'serious concerns' over leadership and safeguarding

09 November, 2016 - 07:51
Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich.

Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich.

A special school in Ipswich rated outstanding by Ofsted has been cleared after "serious concerns" over safeguarding or leadership were raised.

Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich. Acting headteachers left to right, Sandra Davy and Sarah Stott.Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich. Acting headteachers left to right, Sandra Davy and Sarah Stott.

The education watchdog carried out an unannounced monitoring inspection at Thomas Wolsey School “in response to complaints which raised serious concerns”, it said.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw was concerned about the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements, aspects of the effectiveness of leadership and management, including governance, and the welfare of pupils at the school, the education watchdog added.

The school currently has two acting headteachers after former headteacher Rupe Hosie left in September. The reasons for her departure cannot be disclosed for legal reasons, a school spokesman said.

The special school academy, attended by 97 pupils aged from three to 16 in Defoe Road, has started a recruitment process to appoint a new headteacher.

Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich. Acting headteachers left to right, Sandra Davy and Sarah Stott. Centre is Hannah Mitchell.Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich. Acting headteachers left to right, Sandra Davy and Sarah Stott. Centre is Hannah Mitchell.

But in a monitoring inspection report published this week, Mary Rayner, Her Majesty’s inspector, did not find any problems with the school’s leadership or safeguarding.

She concluded that safeguarding procedures are effective and leaders and the governing body are effective in fulfilling responsibilities with regard to safeguarding and pupils’ well-being.

The inspection took place on October 4.

In a letter addressed to acting headteachers Sarah Stott and Sandra Davy, she said: “Staff have great confidence in your leadership. You have used your experience and shared skills to identify the correct areas for improvement and prioritise these.

“Pupils say they feel safe and are kept safe by staff who care for them and listen to their concerns. Those who spoke to me agree that they are happy and secure in this safe environment.”

Pupils at the school have physical disabilities and complex needs including medical needs, sensory impairments and autism.

The acting headteachers said in a statement: “We are delighted with Ofsted’s report. It states staff have great confidence in the leadership and the provision for the safety of pupils is well-led.”

Meanwhile, an online fundraising page has been set up to help the Thomas Wolsey School create a sensory cabin.

The school was given £25,000 of sensory equipment for the cabin by BT and the Lord Taverners, but grant applications to build the cabin itself were turned down.

And after seeing a plea from the school on the Ipswich Star’s website, 37-year-old Claire Martin from Colchester was inspired to help by setting up a Go Fund Me page.

“I thought it was a little bit heartbreaking and there’s got to be something we can do,” she said.

“You see on the news people start up these pages and it’s a good way of getting funding.”

The cabin would use specialist film projections called IRIS combined with sounds, vibrations and wind machines to simulate actual environments such as forests or the seaside, which many of the pupils may not ordinarily experience.

So far the page has raised £190, alongside £2,137 from Ipswich School’s summer ball.

The school’s business manager Teresa Snowling added: “There are some really kind people out there who want to help our school achieve our goal of a sensory cabin for use by all our special children and the wider community. So far we have received the sum of £2,557 and have been approached by a charitable trust who will hopefully supply us with a grant to the value of £2,000 in January. I am touched by the generosity of people and the kindness they have shown. I would like to personally thank everyone who has donated so far and give special thanks to Claire Martin who has given up her time to set up the Go Fund Me page for us. There are a few other prospective donors in the pipeline and the school is hoping that with the use of social media and newspaper coverage we will achieve our dream and we will have this wonderful sensory space up and running soon.”

To help the school and donate visit www.gofundme.com/thomas-wolsey-school-sensory-cabin.

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