Troubled Rotherham school facing closure

Abbey School, Kimberworth, Rotherham.
Abbey School, Kimberworth, Rotherham.
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A troubled Rotherham school is facing closure after a damning inspection report which has rated it as inadequate.

Abbey School at Kimberworth, which teaches 87 children with a range of learning, behavioural and learning difficulties, has suffered disruption since a staff restructuring programme was introduced last year.

Teachers took strike action and claim there have been an increasing number of violent incidents involving pupils – including one where a member of staff was headbutted by a student.

This month Abbey, which is now run by the neighbouring Winterhill School, has had lessons cancelled due to staffing problems.

Lee Simpson, of the GMB union, said closure would potentially mean 37 redundancies.

He said: “Consultations are already under way, but we plan to put pressure on councillors to reject the officers’ recommendations.

“This is a school which was outstanding in 2008 and good in 2011.

“Since then, the management team has been changed and somebody has failed the children and the staff there.

“However, we do not believe Abbey is beyond repair, even though it is currently in a very dire situation.”

Dorothy Smith, Rotherham Council’s director of schools and lifelong learning , said the findings of the Ofsted report were concerning.

She said: “The authority has decided the best option for the pupils is to propose closure of Abbey School and transfer the pupils to other special schools across the borough.

“We appreciate this will mean disruption for the pupils and their families.

“However, this difficult proposal has not been taken lightly.

“Our main concern is to ensure the educational needs of all the pupils are fully met and they receive a good education.”

Inspectors found pupil attainment at the school was exceptionally low, while too many youngsters absconded from school, putting them at risk.