Family wins funding to investigate closure of special needs school

Ofsted closed St Christopher's School in Westbury Park in July. Credit: ITV News

The parents of a teenager who was forced to leave a specialist school that supports children with severe autism in Bristol are investigating whether they can sue the education watchdog.

Ofsted closed St Christopher's School in Westbury Park in July after concerns about safeguarding.

At the time, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed it was investigating "allegations of child cruelty offences."

Within hours of the closure, parents were called to pick up their children and either take them home, or to take them to an alternative suitable placement.

Read more: St Christopher's residential home for young people in Bristol closes suddenly amid child cruelty allegations

Kevin's son Jonah has been a resident at St Christopher's for the past six years.

Unfortunately the nearest alternative placement that's been found for Jonah is almost a hundred miles away and there's little availability.

Kevin says Jonah might have to stay at home for the next six months. He says this is having a huge impact on his development.

Following the closure, Kevin sought legal advise from Bindmans LLP, who said:

"We have been instructed by the parents to advise on the lawfulness of the actions and decisions that led to the sudden closure of the residential unit at St Christopher’s. The Maxwells have been granted a legal aid certificate which will allow them to investigate any potential claims in respect of that sudden closure."

Kevin says the closure has been difficult for Jonah's development. Credit: ITV News

The Aurora Group which runs the school says:

While this investigation will be looking at all parties involved in the decision to close the residential unit at the school, Kevin says Ofsted should be held to account.

A spokesperson from Ofsted says:

In a statement, Ofsted added: "Following the decision to suspend, St Christopher’s School did not appeal the decision and chose to voluntarily cancel its registration."

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