Residential care stopped at Shropshire autism school

Cruckton Hall School
Image caption Ofsted has suspended the registration of the children's home at Cruckton Hall School

A private school for children with autism has been ordered to close its residential care with immediate effect.

Ofsted said the decision to shut the children's home element of Cruckton Hall School had been made because of concerns around safeguarding.

The school, near Shrewsbury, said it was working to the address the problems "quickly and thoroughly".

A school spokesperson said the closure only affected the residential side and not day-to-day teaching.

Parents will be given help to find new placements, Shropshire Council said.

Cruckton Hall has 33 pupils, with autism spectrum disorder and Asperger syndrome, 20 of which are residential pupils.

They will still be able to be educated at the school, but will need accommodation elsewhere.

"Our primary focus at this time is to ensure all of the young people at the children's home are properly supported and cared for," the school said.

Image caption The school itself is operating as normal while the residential aspect is suspended

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was "shell shocked" after being told on Thursday, but said it had not surprised him.

He said there had been problems with care and education sections at the school acting separately and said he felt his son was not getting the help he needed.

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said they have had problems contacting the school when their son is there.

It comes after the Department for Education issued a warning of "serious regulatory failings" to the school, saying it needed to submit an action plan to address problems by 11 January.

It was sent after an Ofsted inspection highlighted concerns about educational standards, student welfare and leadership.

Shropshire Council, which is not responsible for the school, is now making arrangements for county pupils, with pupils from elsewhere being helped by their local authority.

Councillor Nick Bardsley said the closure would be a "real blow" to families, but added: "We are not surprised, we could see it coming but we didn't realise it would be quite as quick and as sudden as it has proved to be."

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites