'Super-head' appointed to help temporarily closed Mansfield special school - as pupils told they will return on a rota

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A 'super-head' will be appointed to help improve struggling Mansfield special school - as pupils are told they will return on a rota.

In a letter to parents and carers of pupils, The Harlow Academy apologised for ‘disruption’ after it was forced to temporarily close amid ‘staffing issues’ on January 20.

The closure, which followed a visit from education watchdog Ofsted earlier in the week, prompted concerns from education bosses and complaints from families over the running of the academy

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The academy, the former Fountaindale School on Nottingham Road, Harlow Wood, is a special educational needs school which ‘offers an inclusive education for pupils aged three-18’.

The entrance to The Harlow Academy, Nottingham Road, Harlow Wood.The entrance to The Harlow Academy, Nottingham Road, Harlow Wood.
The entrance to The Harlow Academy, Nottingham Road, Harlow Wood.

It is run by the Evolve Trust, which took over the former Nottinghamshire Council-run school last April.

Colin Pettigrew, council corporate director for schools, said the authority was ‘aware and concerned about’ the closure.

It was also aware of the “concerns of parents and wants to be assured the arrangements being made will result in the immediate improvements within the academy’.

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A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are aware of concerns raised in relation to The Harlow Academy and that it has been closed for a number of days.

“We are working closely with the trust and local authority to strike the right balance between addressing the issues at the school and helping the school open again as quickly as possible, ensuring all steps taken are in the best interests of the school community.”

Now the academy has written to parents to confirm it has requested help from the Nexus Multi Academy Trust, bringing in Luci Windle as executive headteacher for the rest of the year, and aims to reopen tomorrow, Thursday.

“Mrs Windle is an outstanding special school leader with a strong track record of rapidly improving schools,” it stated.

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Mrs Windle is executive headteacher of Abbey School, a mixed special school for children with moderate and complex learning difficulties in Rotherham.

The letter says she joined the Harlow staff on Monday and the academy will move to a ‘partial reopening’ tomorrow.

Most children will be in school for five days over two weeks, three days one week and two the next.

Other measures include increased staffing, health and safety changes, more staff training and a recruitment drive.

The trust has been approached for comment.

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