North Devon school at centre of abuse probe will close

A North Devon school at the centre of an abuse investigation is to go into liquidation today (Wednesday).

Staff at Chelfham Mill School who had not already resigned during the initial lay-off period have received letters informing them of their redundancy, the Gazette understands.

In July, education watchdog Ofsted suspended the school’s registration to operate amid a police investigation into abuse claims.

Last month, school principal Katy Roberts had said the private residential school, for boys aged seven to 18 with emotional and behavioural problems, hoped to re-register following the conclusion of the investigation.

One member of staff told the Gazette: “It’s a shame that after nearly 60 years the school has to close.

“As we understand it there has been no real progress with the investigation and as of the end of August no-one had even been interviewed.

“Local police have said it was a ‘low priority’.

“That has been a knock-on effect – people need to earn money to live; they can’t be laid off for ever.”

No-one at the school, near Bratton Fleming, was available for comment.