Special school to be run by private healthcare company

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The disability charity Scope is to transfer the running of a West Sussex school to a private healthcare company.

Ingfield Manor School, at Five Oaks, near Billingshurst, which caters for youngsters with neurological motor impairments such as cerebral palsy, will become part of Salutem Healthcare.

The school is one of 51 services being transferred from Scope to Salutem, including three education facilities, 38 care homes and 10 day services across England and Wales.

The proposal to transfer the services was announced in December and a spokesman for Salutem said the aim was to complete it by the end of March.

All the former Scope services will be run under a newly set up division called Ambito.

Ambito's CEO, Andrew Shelton-Murray, said of Ingfield: "We have already met with students, staff and families and have reassured them that there will be no changes to the running of the school.

"The school already operates really well and is nationally recognised for its work around Conductive Education and there are absolutely no plans to change staffing.

"If the local team want to make any improvements to provision then we will support them to do this."

Mr Shelton-Murray said the company had no intention of selling any part of the Ingfield site for development, adding that "any development to existing buildings will be to increase the education services being delivered so that we can reach more disabled young people".

Regarding Ingfield's School for Parents, which provides practical support for parents who have children with complex needs, Mr Shelton-Murray said it would continue to be a free service.

He added: "We agree this is a really valuable service and it will continue."

Information from Scope's website said the School for Parents was provided "through the generosity of donations". But Mr Shelton-Murray said: "It is mostly funded via statutory income and not by donations and it is our intention for this to continue to be free at the point of delivery."