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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Work to relocate troubled school
Work was due to start on Monday to move a County Durham special school out of the one-time family home of a former Tory Prime Minister.

The 5.9m project will re-locate Windlestone Hall School near Rushyford from its home of almost 50 years in a 19th Century country mansion.

Built in 1835 and Grade II listed, the school was once the family home of 1950's Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden.

In 1998 the school was closed for a time amid allegations of abuse.

Durham County Council education chiefs consider the building unsuitable for its current role and have been looking at ways of providing a modern alternative.

Its rambling nature and small sized classrooms created difficulties, and it was also in need of extensive and expensive repairs.

Behavioural difficulties

The council opted to build a replacement school less than two miles away at Blue House Farm in nearby Chilton.

The proposed 60-place replacement school, which is due for completion by August next year, will cater for both boys and girls and include residential provision for up to 20 young people, plus staff quarters.

Windlestone Hall was first developed as a school in 1958 and currently teaches around 60 pupils aged between 11 - 16 with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Once the relocation is complete, the site will be sold.

In 1998 a number of staff were suspended after 86 pupils made allegations of abuse.

A subsequent inquiry found unacceptable discipline and control practices were used.

More than a dozen staff were suspended, but no prosecutions were ever brought.

Special school in closure row
06 Oct 98 |  Education

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