Ofsted suspends school’s permission to operate while investigation gets underway

Chelfham Mill School near Barnstaple has been closed while police investigate claims of physical abuse.

The private school for boys aged seven to 18 with emotional and behavioural had its registration to operate suspended yesterday (Tuesday) by education watchdog Ofsted.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Ofsted is liaising closely with Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon County Council as the investigation progresses.

“Ofsted has suspended the registration of the setting pending further inquiries – this will be kept under review as the investigation continues.”

An Ofsted social care interim inspection report in February this year said the school had ‘declined in effectiveness’ since being judged ‘adequate’ in 2014.

It said: ‘The registered manager and senior leadership team are not successfully managing this home and young people are not being adequately safeguarded’.

Update: In a statement, school principal Katy Roberts said: “Chelfham Mill School is closed for an initial period of six weeks pending an investigation by an external agency. Chelfham Mill School is committed to support the investigation process.”