Action for Children acquires sixth special school

Charity wins tender to run Bessels Leigh School in Oxfordshire

Action for Children has acquired its sixth special school after taking over an Oxfordshire charitable school.

The charity won a tender to take over responsibility for Bessels Leigh School, which caters for boys aged between 11 and 16 who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, after the school's trustees concluded that they lacked the expertise and resources to improve its standards.

The school, which had an income of just under £2.3m in 2007/08, will be extensively refurbished by Action for Children before being relaunched in September under the name of Spires School.

Tony Mulcahy, deputy head of education at Action for Children, said the charity had not had to pay any money for the school. "We have, however, put in place a recovery plan and provided investment to bring the quality of schooling and care up to the same level as our other schools," he said.

Action for Children currently spends about £11.2m a year on its five existing schools, employing about 300 staff. The charity's total income was just under £210m in 2007/08.

Mulcahy did not rule out acquiring more schools. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve education and care services for young people and always welcome any opportunity to assist schools in doing that," he said.

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