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Parents of special needs children at Park House School in Newbury slam Greenshaw Learning Trust

A SCHOOL is continuing to generate complaints that a reported ‘zero tolerance’ regime is failing pupils with special needs.

Last September the Newbury Weekly News revealed how a bid to turn around the failing establishment was causing anger and upset among some parents.

It followed the takeover of Park House School in Newbury by the Greenshaw Learning Trust.

A previous Ofsted inspection had found the quality of education, behaviour and attitude of pupils, leadership and management to be inadequate.

Chief executive of the Greenshaw Learning Trust, Will Smith, said at the time that the trust “has a proven track record of improving schools from a similar starting point as Park House and has the skills and capacity to deliver the necessary improvements at the school”.

But some parents have been unhappy with the new regime, branding it inflexible and extreme, with detentions given for minor transgressions.

Many others were supportive, however, and said the strict new regime was necessary.

In the past few weeks the NWN has received fresh complaints from several parents of children with special educational needs.

One parent said: “My son is struggling with his mental health and it is being made 10 times worse by the new rules and regulations.”

Another said: “The new rules and behaviour policies are not fit for purpose if they are used on a child who has not been assessed by the school for additional needs.”

A third parent complained of breakdown in communication between staff after her child was reportedly threatened with suspension by one teacher for truanting – all the while they were in another class.

Yet another said her child had refused to return to classes after he was placed in detention for wearing trainers, despite having a medical condition which prevented the use of appproved school shoes.

She added: “One teacher told him it was fine to wear trainers because of his condition and then, when he did, he was placed in detention.”

Because of his condition he was so upset he has refused to return, the parent said.

The trust has proved controversial at some of its other schools across the UK, too, with some parents comparing the regime to the military.

Many parents have been supportive of the trust at Park House School, however, and believe the next Ofsted report will vindicate the stricter policies concerning uniform, equipment and behaviour.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “As always, any parents with concerns should contact the school directly, who will look forward to working with them to best support their child.”

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