Investigation launched over claims school staff mocked and swore at autistic pupil

Richard and Pat Alford with daughter Georgia, who they have removed from Jarrow School's Post 11 Centre, after receiving a letter suggesting their daughter was being bullied by staff.

Richard and Pat Alford with daughter Georgia, who they have removed from Jarrow School's Post 11 Centre, after receiving a letter suggesting their daughter was being bullied by staff.

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An investigation has been launched into claims that an autistic teenager was sworn at by a teacher at a South Tyneside school.

Concerned parents Patricia and Richard Alford received an anonymous letter alleging that their 15-year-old daughter, Georgia, was verbally abused and also laughed at by staff at the Post 11 Autistic unit at Jarrow School.

This has given us sleeepless nights - this is a safeguarding issue.

Patricia Alford

Mr and Mrs Alford removed their daughter – who suffers from learning difficulties and has communication problems – from the school immediately.

The school, in Field Terrace, Jarrow, is carrying out an internal investigation.

But Mrs and Mrs Alford, from Hardie Drive, West Boldon, want an independent body to look into the “horrific” allegations.

Mrs Alford, 54, a staff nurse at South Tyneside Hospital, said: “I don’t blame the person for sending the letter – but it was horrific to receive it.

“We have pulled Georgia out of the school. We feel other parents should be made aware about these claims.”

The anonymous letter states that other children have been called names and pushed by teachers and alleges there is a bullying problem at the school.

Mr Alford 51, a former banker who is full-time carer for Georgia as well as working as a school meals assistant at Keelmans Way School, Hebburn, said: “You have to be able to have full trust in the people caring for your daughter. We would like to see an independent investigation.”

Mrs Alford added: “This is a safeguarding issue. The hardest thing is that, due to her condition, we can’t just ask Georgia what has happened and find out from her.”

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The council is aware of these anonymous allegations.

“We take all matters of safeguarding very seriously, as does the school, and we are advising and supporting both the parents and the school in how best to respond to them.

“The school is investigating the matter thoroughly.

“The school was rated “good” in its latest Ofsted inspection.”