School staff suspended in police probe

TWO members of staff at a Suffolk boarding school have been suspended amid an investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

Simon Tomlinson

TWO members of staff at a Suffolk boarding school have been suspended amid an investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

Suffolk police and social services launched the probe following concerns raised at an Ofsted welfare inspection last month at Old Buckenham Hall in Brettenham.

Worried parents have demanded more answers after they were sent letters from the school and Suffolk County Council warning them of the investigation.

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Police have asked any parents with concerns about their children at the school to contact them.

Headteacher Martin Ives reassured them that the safety of their children was “quite secure”. In a separate letter from Suffolk County Council they were given contact details of the Suffolk police incident room should they have any concerns.

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Mr Ives wrote: “My immediate response has been to suspend the two members of staff affected by the concerns raised pending the outcome of the enquiry.

“I am sorry that I cannot tell you any more about this until the investigation has been concluded.

“I want to reassure you that the welfare of your children is quite secure.”

The investigation is being held by Suffolk police and Suffolk County Council's Children and Young People's Services under the Suffolk Safeguarding Children's Board procedures.

In a letter to parents, Glynn Smith, area manager for Children and Young People's Services, said it may be necessary to speak to the children, with parental consent, during the investigation.

He added: “If you have any concerns in relation to your child which you feel we should be made aware of, please telephone Suffolk Constabulary on 01473 613666 or e-mail:”

A spokeswoman from Ofsted said: “Following an inspection of welfare provision on January 26 and 27 Ofsted identified some concerns.

“We have reported these to the local children's services department and at this stage it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

A spokeswoman from Suffolk police said: “Police are carrying out inquiries at a school in West Suffolk following allegations of inappropriate behaviour by staff.”

A spokeswoman for Old Buckenham Hall said: “Following a recent Ofsted Welfare Inspection, we are co-operating fully with Suffolk Social Services and Suffolk Constabulary with enquiries.

“In order to enable a full and fair investigation to proceed we are not able to provide any further information at this time.”

OLD Buckenham Hall is an independent day and boarding school for nearly 300 boys and girls aged between two and thirteen.

The Nursery and Pre-Prep departments take pupils from the age of two and a half.

Founded in 1862, Old Buckenham Hall School began life as South Lodge in Lowestoft before moving to Brettenham Park in 1956 and 12 years later became a Charitable Trust.

Famous past pupils include composer Benjamin Britten, who attended the school in the 1920s while it was South Lodge, and Harry Judd, the drummer from McFly.

Fees range from �2,250 per term for Pre-Prep pupils to nearly �6,000 for full boarders.

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