Kensal Rise: Special school is hit by funds claims
A primary school has misspent funds intended for children with severe special educational needs, a whistleblowing teacher has claimed, writes Kate Ferguson. Kensal Rise Primary School, in Harvest Road, Kensal Rise, received tens of thousands of pounds to
A primary school has misspent funds intended for children with severe special educational needs, a whistleblowing teacher has claimed, writes Kate Ferguson.
Kensal Rise Primary School, in Harvest Road, Kensal Rise, received tens of thousands of pounds to pay for Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) which do not exist, claims the teacher.
And statemented children with severe difficulties with language, who should be taught in a specialist language unit, are being educated in mainstream classes without adequate support, the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, adds.
Brent Council confirmed it has received complaints of alleged malpractice at the school, and are assessing whether there were grounds to launch an official investigation.
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A teacher first tried to lift the lid on the alleged malpractices at the school in January by writing to Ofsted setting out the allegations.
In a letter seen by the Times, dated January 31, the teacher wrote: 'There are two language units where children are signed in the register, but they can integrate 100 per cent of the time without LSAs.
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'This has been happening in one case since at least September 2009 and another since October 2009.
'There are numerous children with statements who have no LSA, yet their statements say they are approved an LSA.
'In one case Westminster paid for an LSA for at least two years and yet no LSA has ever worked with this child.'
This integration, the teacher claims, is not needs led or properly monitored, but done because Kensal Primary does not have sufficient numbers of staff trained in special educational needs to cope with demand.
In a response sent in February, Ofsted said it could not investigate because the complaint was outside its remit.
Several parents and a former teaching assistant have contacted the Times with similar allegations.
Mr Abukar Awale, a former parent, teaching assistant and governor at Kensal Rise Primary School, claims his daughter, who attended the school from September 2005 until July 2009, was eligible for 19 and a half hours of teaching with a designated LSA, which, he claims, she never received.
In a letter seen by the Times, Mr Awale, raised his concerns with the head teacher, but claims he never received an official response to the query.
Mr Awale said: "I translated at numerous meetings where parents clearly stated their concerns that their children had statements showing that their child was entitled to learning support, the council was paying for that support, yet their children did not have the learning support staff which was being paid for."
Harbi Farah, director of the Help Somalia Foundation, a community group which supports Somali in Brent, said he has been contacted by several parents with similar concerns.
Mr Farah said: "We have had a number of complaints from parents from Kensal Rise Primary school.
"There was a parent who came to us and claimed their child had been statemented by the school behind their back.
"We have tried to contact the school but we got no response at all."
Brent Council confirmed it is assessing the allegations, but refused to confirm whether an investigation has been launched.
A Brent Council spokeswoman said: "The council has recently received a number of allegations regarding Kensal Rise School through its whistleblowing procedure.
"These allegations are currently being assessed and evaluated to establish whether any investigation is warranted.
"We will make no further comment at this time or during the course of any investigation, should one be necessary.