Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire police face probe over Stanbridge Earls School

Stanbridge Earls School
Image caption Ofsted inspectors found Stanbridge Earls School failed to meet minimum standards in leadership

Hampshire's police and crime commissioner has ordered a probe into the county's force over a complaint relating to a scandal-hit school.

Simon Hayes acted after receiving a formal complaint about the investigation into a pupil's rape claim at Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey.

Mr Hayes's office has refused to reveal details of the complaint, saying it would be "inappropriate".

However it confirmed another force has been asked to probe the allegations.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said the force was "aware of the complaint".

The force is already probing its officers' handling of a pupil's allegation that she was raped twice by fellow students.

'Comprehensive review'

Hampshire Constabulary said it thoroughly investigated the allegations but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute.

The force has started a "comprehensive review" into its handling of the case and is investigating sexual abuse claims by another girl.

Stanbridge Earls, which caters for children with special educational needs, is under scrutiny from the Department for Education, which gave it until the end of the month to present an "action plan" after recent findings by Ofsted.

Last year, the watchdog described the school as "outstanding", but a review of the inspections has found they failed to get "underneath concerns".

A tribunal in January found the school, which caters for pupils aged 10 to 19, had failed to protect a "vulnerable" pupil.

Her parents started legal action on discrimination grounds when she was excluded, after making the allegation of rape.

The tribunal heard the school believed she had consented and excluded her for breaking rules by having sex on its grounds.

Three Ofsted inspections since the tribunal's findings have revealed serious concerns about safeguarding.

Meanwhile Stanbridge Earls has extended its deadline for parents to register pupils for next term in a bid to avoid closure.

The board of trustees said 82 children had so far been enrolled for September, but a minimum of 90 were needed "to be viable for next term in financial and educational terms".

A proposed takeover of the school recently fell through amid concerns over pupil numbers next term.

Parents have now been given until Friday, 16 August, to pay their fees .

The school had 189 registered students in June.

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