Staff job losses after special school closes

Soteria House, Anwick. EMN-190521-164349001
Soteria House, Anwick. EMN-190521-164349001

Staff at an independent residential school for young people with special educational needs have been made redundant after the business was closed and sold off at short notice.

Soteria House School, on Main Road in Anwick, caters for day visiting pupils aged 11-18 and those who live at a children’s home on the same site.

A spokesman for Ofsted has told The Standard: “Ofsted suspended the children’s home’s registration on May 3 and this will be cancelled in due course.

“There are no children residing in the children’s home. We are now working with the police and other agencies concerned with safeguarding.”

Families were given notice to remove their children from the setting and all have now found alternative arrangements.

About 40 staff have been made redundant, according to staff sources. However, police were called on Monday to escort staff from the site who refused to leave the property until they received adequate assurances that they would be paid the correct redundancy money, with some saying they were owed up to £4,000.

The company running the schools, In Mind, has said all staff will receive redundancy pay owed to them in due course. The Standard has been unable to get further comment from the company and no indication as to who has taken over the business.

One member of staff said colleagues had been offered a four week consultation period while they carried on coming in to work, cleaning and tidying the place up, but were then told the business had been sold and they were to be made redundant on Monday.

He said: “Some of us were working 15 hours a day, five days a week, because of the children, you are not going to leave then unattended. I am owed about £2,800 after tax. We have kids to feed and bills to pay.”

He said Ofsted had visited about three weeks ago and suspended the registration due to child safeguarding issues - not involving staff.

Another staff member only joined the business a month ago while another had just cleared her DBS checks by the time all the children had been removed, he said.

Another member of staff said the mood among colleagues was very poor.