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Teachers accept criticism is 'fair'

STAFF at Brookside Special School accepted last night that the critical inspectors' report was fair, but blamed the Government for its shortcomings, writes Fran Abrams.

In a statement, they said the report 'underlined the true elements of education being experienced by the students'.

'While certain shortcomings have been recognised, these would not have arisen had central government not placed tremendous restrictions on the local education authority,' they added.

Derbyshire County Council said its inspectors had already identified problems at the school, and that it was 'disappointing' that its recommendations had not been implemented. The council had introduced measures to combat the problems. Admissions have been frozen at the school, which has 80 places but only 47 pupils. Of these, 14 were absent when the inspectors visited, because they had been excluded for bad behaviour.

A local authority official is standing in for the head teacher, who is off sick, and a local authority representative has been appointed to the governing body. New health and safety measures are to be introduced, and the school's registration and monitoring systems are to be improved.

Dave Wilcox, the chairman of Derbyshire's education committee, said the county was overhauling the type of education offered at schools such as Brookside.

'I would like to reassure parents with children at Brookside that the county council will work hard to ensure that services are brought up to standard. Working with emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children is a difficult job and re-organisation of provision for this group of pupils is a priority,' he said.

Eric Goacher, the newly-appointed chairman of the school governors, said a special group of governors would help to implement the changes.