Published: 00:01, 18 November 2014
A school at the centre of child abuse allegations over pupils apparently being locked in a cupboard has responded to claims made by two mothers of former pupils.
Patricia Wilkins and Alison Lovett spoke about how their children were treated at Brompton Westbrook Primary School and the effect it had on them.
Both mums say their children were regularly locked inside a cupboard-like room inside an isolation room called My Space.
Trustees at Brompton Westbrook, which is now academy, have appointed an independent investigator to look into claims that up to eight children have been locked in the area, after a previous inquiry by Medway Council concluded that four staff had “cases to answer” for gross misconduct. No one has been suspended as a result of the allegations.
“An independent investigation is ongoing into an allegation made about the use of isolation and we are keen that this is completed as soon as possible" - school spokesman
A spokesman for the trustees reiterated that the use of an isolation room is common practice in schools and is used in line with Department for Education guidance.
“The room these parents refer to is not a cupboard, and has never been a cupboard. It is a room with windows and is one of several areas in the school where children can be isolated if needed,” she said.
“The time children spend in isolation relates to the reason they are there. In some cases it will be just minutes for a child to calm down, others may need longer. Some children may prefer to stay in isolation as they view it as a safe space away from distractions and so they might use the room for longer.
“When used for internal exclusion, isolation can be used for a number of days in a row.”
The trustees said isolation was only used in exceptional circumstances after all other techniques had been tried.
The spokesman added: “An independent investigation is ongoing into an allegation made about the use of isolation and we are keen that this is completed as soon as possible.
“Once complete, we will determine what course of action is needed. In the meantime, we can assure parents that the safety and wellbeing of their children is paramount to how we operate as a school.”
The trustees said it would be inappropriate to comment on the council report while the investigation was ongoing but confirmed no members of staff have been suspended at this point in line with a decision taken when the school was still in council control.
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