Failing Bexhill St Mary's School cleared to take new pupils

St Mary's School and Sixth Form College, in Bexhill, East Sussex Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption St Mary's said it was encouraged that its changes were moving in the right direction

A failing school for children with speech, language and communication difficulties has been told it can start taking new pupils.

St Mary's School and Sixth Form College, in East Sussex, was rated inadequate after an Ofsted inspection in November.

Funding for new students was withdrawn but has now been restored by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

Chair of governors, Don Young, said the developments were very encouraging.

'Fit for purpose'

Since being put into special measures, the school in Bexhill has put together improvement and action plans.

A new Ofsted inspection on 5 March found the plans were "fit for purpose".

Inspector Lesley Farmer said since November, several staff had left and new staff had been appointed, including a social worker, a head of therapy, health and well-being and heads of literacy and numeracy.

But Ms Farmer said the school may not appoint newly-qualified teachers before the next monitoring inspection.

Mr Young said Ofsted had recognised the school was doing a lot of good work.

"There is still a long way to go but it is clear we are moving in the right direction," he said.

"We are aware there is a small minority of parents who are still very negative about St Mary's and that is something we deeply regret.

"Communication with our parents is a high priority. This report hopefully sends out a message of positivity to them all."

East Sussex County Council said local authorities were now able to make placements at the school.

"We will consider any requests on an individual basis, according to the needs of the young person," said a spokeswoman.

"We will continue to work with the school as part of the ongoing action plan and improvement board."

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