Soham College praised

6th June 2003 at 01:00
THE secondary school in the home village of murdered girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman has been praised by inspectors for its sensitive handling of the deaths.

Soham Village College in Soham, Cambridgeshire, received an exceptional report from the Office for Standards in Education this week which said that every aspect of life at the school was good, very good or excellent.

The inspectors briefly mentioned the deaths, which occurred last August.

Ian Huntley, who has been charged with the murders, was the school's caretaker at the time and both Holly's older brother and Jessica's older sister are pupils there.

"The college has been in the situation where many of the staff and pupils have experienced unprecedented anxiety over the past year as they have come to terms with the deaths of two children from the community," the inspectors wrote.

"The governors, staff, parents, pupils and all those within the local area have helped one another to cope and benefited from an exceptionally strong community where responding to individual needs is of paramount importance."

The inspectors also described principal Howard Gilbert as outstanding and praised teachers for their high-quality lessons.

The college is next to St Andrew's primary, where Holly and Jessica studied. Maxine Carr, a former teaching assistant at St Andrew's who lived with Huntley, has been charged with helping an offender and conspiring to pervert the cause of justice. Both Carr and Huntley are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey in October.

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