Update on Coombe House School

Statement on Coombe House School from Cllr Andrew Parry, Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills & Early Help

July 2022

During the past few weeks, we have worked with a dynamic and changing situation at Coombe House School.

Starting a new special school often has its challenges as children and staff come together for the first time. There have been some problems on site with full completion of the contracted build. The school closed for a period of one week after a bumpy start. Since that time, most children have been in school for some set days each week. The school term ended in line with other independent schools on Friday 8 July.

We have reviewed the plan for a small number of children to consider if Coombe House School can meet their needs at this time. As a result, their families have been written to advising that we are looking at a suitable education offer elsewhere. All these families have a single point of contact at the council, and they are being kept informed as to why we feel we need to make these changes.

Dorset Council has been providing day-to-day support to the staff, children and the Board. That work continues and involves other members of our special school system. Sean Kretz, the Headteacher of Westfield School, has stepped in to support Coombe House as a short-term measure, helping the teaching staff to prepare for the new term in September.

Children and young people are at the heart of our decision making and we must make sure the school offers a first-class education. We are working hard to make sure that all children, families and staff have a better experience next term.


Update at the joint People & Health and Place & Resources Scrutiny committee meeting on 19 July

Members of Dorset Council will be updated at a joint Scrutiny Committee meeting on 19 July about the latest position with Coombe House School. Most meetings of the council and its committees take place in public but sometimes it is necessary for councillors to meet in a closed session. This meeting will be a closed session for councillors only as the update may include information about individuals and children which for legal reasons must remain confidential. A public statement will be published following the meeting with details of the update. We continue to work closely with the families of children and young people who attend or have attended the school.

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