Kent

Investigation into Gillingham school isolation room use

Brompton Westbrook Primary School
Image caption Children are alleged to have been kept at an isolation room at Brompton Westbrook Primary School

An investigation is under way at a Kent school amid claims pupils were put in an isolation room for hours at a time.

A former employee at Brompton Westbrook Primary School in Gillingham and two parents have made the allegations.

Medway Council said it had investigated and passed the issue to school trustees - but parents said they wanted to see the council report. The school said an investigation was still taking place.

The school became an academy this month and is no longer under council control.

BBC political editor Louise Stewart said the council investigation had found four members of staff at the school had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

'Not prisoners'

Patricia Wilkins, who said her daughter was held in the room, said: "It's extremely important that we know what's in it [the report] and what they're going to do to stop it happening to other children, because I know there has been extensive damage done to others - not just mine."

She claimed children were put in the room for two to three days a week and only allowed out for two supervised toilet breaks a day.

Image caption Alison Lovett claims her son was kept in the isolation unit for hours

Alison Lovett, said her son, nine, was kept in the room, unsupervised for hours.

She said: "They are not criminals, they are children, they have not broken the laws, they are not prisoners."

Investigations began in June after a former employee complained to Ofsted about the use of the room at the school - which became an academy on 1 October.

On Monday, Department for Education and Medway Council officials met school trustees to discuss the council report.

'Recommendations made'

Medway councillor Adam Price said he had asked to see a copy but added: "The initial response from the council is that they are governed by safeguarding and criminal legislation in terms of who they can share the report with."

A Medway Council spokesman said the authority had made recommendations, but because the school was an academy and not under council control, it was up to the school's trustees to decide what to do next.

In a statement, the trustees said: "The investigation is continuing following an allegation made by an individual concerning procedures for safeguarding children and the use of an isolation room.

"Medway Council has completed its investigation and has given its report to the trustees of the school for consideration."

It said the school was unable to pre-empt the outcome.

A Department of Education statement said: "If there is any evidence of misconduct, we expect the school to take the appropriate action and we will be monitoring the case closely."

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