Police Probe Child Protection Concerns At A North Wales Autism School
POLICE and social services officers have confirmed that they are investigating child protection concerns at a North Wales school for children with autism.
Officers were called in to investigate emails from a concerned member of staff at Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn in Denbigh late last week.
The move comes after a series of controversies concerning the school, widely regarded as a regional centre of excellence for children with autism spectrum disorders.
Six weeks ago the school’s headteacher Michael Toman was suspended from duties amid a local educational authority (LEA) inquiry into a complaint made by a pupil’s parents.
Two weeks later other parents of children at the school staged a protest at county hall in Ruthin.
Two days later the LEA temporarily replaced Dr Toman with acting headteacher Richard Williams.
Then it was revealed that a 34-page inspection report by the Care Standards Social Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) had identified 21 shortfalls in meeting national minimum standards of care in the residential section of Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn.
Now, a member of staff at the school has emailed the Evening Leader claiming they have been threatened with the sack if they speak out about the school’s management.
“Everyone is too scared to speak out.” said one female worker at the school.
She said morale was “very low” and added: “There are some very good dedicated staff at the school who have received no support in their work with what can be very challenging children.”
Last night a North Wales Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that e-mail correspondence relating to child protection concerns at Ysgol Brondyffryn are currently the subject of joint investigation by Denbighshire Social Services and the Police.”
Councillor Gwyneth Kensler, governor of Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, said: “Because there are investigations still proceeding it would not be appropriate to comment; however, the governors, school and county council are all working together to address any concerns.
“The vast majority of parents are very happy with the education provided at school.”