Trustees of special needs school cleared of wrongdoing over sexual abuse allegations

A Charity Commission report says trustees of the Stanbridge Earls School in Romney, Hampshire, acted properly and governance and management were satisfactory

Stanbridge Earls School
Stanbridge Earls School

A Charity Commission inquiry has cleared the trustees of an independent special needs school of any wrongdoing after allegations of sexual abuse were made.

The regulator launched a statutory inquiry into the administration, governance and management of the Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey, Hampshire in April 2013 after two female pupils alleged that they suffered sexual abuse at the school and the Department for Education rejected the school’s action plan to address failings identified in an Ofsted inspection.

The regulator’s report on its inquiry, published yesterday, says that the commission is satisfied that trustees of the school, which provided boarding for children with special needs aged between 11 and 19 and has since gone into administration, had acted properly.

The regulator concludes that the overall administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees was satisfactory.

It says it was not able to draw any conclusions on how the trustees dealt with safeguarding and leadership issues identified by the schools inspectorate Ofsted because the school had closed.

The school had been registered with the commission since 1964 and shut in September 2013.

A separate police investigation decided in May 2014 that no criminal charges would be brought as a result of the allegations.

The administration process is continuing and the commission said it was monitoring it and talking to the administrators.

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