Matravers School, a prominent co-ed secondary school in Wiltshire in the UK, is currently under fire for allegedly hiding special needs students from Ofsted inspectors while they visited and assessed the school.
According to SWNS, parents are accusing Matravers officials of removing children with learning disabilities — including those with autism and dyslexia — from essential classes like english, math, and science while officials from Ofsted, the educational department of UK, inspected classes and school premises. One parent, Martin Gillingham, says his 15-year-old dyslexic son, Jamie, had been booted out of english and math classes and was transferred to mechanics lesson for two days.
Gillingham said, “I’m furious. My son didn’t mind that he was moved classes as he does well in motor mechanics as to him that’s the easy subject, but obviously the other subjects like English are the ones he struggles in.”
“Not only does this give a false impression to Ofsted but my main concern is that he is now missing out on lessons where he needs the extra teaching,” he added.
Gillingham became more enraged when he was told that the students were moved because the administrators feared that Jamie, along with four other students possibly with similar conditions, might cause disruptions during the Ofsted inspection.
The 46-year-old father, an ex-soldier, said, “Their reason is completely unfounded without any justification and purely based on an assumption.”
Another parent, according to the Daily Mail, says she was called by school officials shortly prior the Ofsted visit to urge her to suspend her own child from classes while school inspectors visited the campus. Gillingham, who was able to talk to the unnamed parent, says she was not given an option to bring her child to school instead.
“They didn’t give her an option, they were telling her not asking. She asked if that was allowed and was told it would be an authorized absence,” said Gillingham.
Russel Hawker, school governor and a councilman for Wiltshire, admitted that a selected number of “troublesome pupils were removed.”
“Two types of students have been involved in this, one of which was those who are very autistic children whose parents or carers were contacted by the school because of the Ofsted visit and because of the change in routine they would be kept at the Link Centre [a support unit for special needs children]. The second group were children who had a history of being disruptive in class, that’s my understanding. I’m very sure that no staff would try to tell children to stay at home.”
Officials from Ofsted have also recently commented on the alleged hiding of special needs children during their inspectors’ visit to Matravers School.
One spokesperson said, “When Ofsted visits a school, inspectors gather evidence about how well individual pupils and particular groups of pupils, such as those with special educational needs, are learning, gaining knowledge, and making progress.”
[Image from SWNS.com]