Stanbridge Earls was an independent day and boarding school that specialised in working with students with special educational needs. Allegations of abuse and other safeguarding incidents were raised in 2011 and various enquiries were carried out by Ofsted, the local police, the Department for Education and the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board. The school closed in September 2013.
Following the publication of a report by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, the Charity Commission opened a statutory enquiry to investigate concerns about the management and administration of the charity and its approach to the safeguarding of beneficiaries. Despite the school having closed and the charity being in administration, the Charity Commission considered that it was in the public interest to open a full inquiry.
The inquiry will examine whether:
- the trustees had sufficient oversight of the school's management of safeguarding matters in order to discharge their legal duties and responsibilities as charity trustees.
- the charity had adequate record-keeping procedures and practices, in particular in relation to the recording and reporting of safeguarding concerns.
The Charity Commission has highlighted that it does not administer or regulate the implementation of safeguarding legislation and cannot investigate specific allegations. Rather, the inquiry will focus on the conduct and behaviour of the trustees and whether the trustees fulfilled their legal duties and responsibilities as charity trustees.