DORSET Council said it is "working to ensure safety at all times" as further concerns are raised about a new special educational needs school.

Th council described the situation at Coombe House School, formerly St Mary’s near Shaftesbury, as “complicated and dynamic” but said they “are confident that it is going in the right direction.”

Speaking to the Echo, several staff said they felt “unsafe” at work, “under-resourced and under-supported” from senior leadership.”

They allege some windows have been fitted without safety glass and there are fire doors can’t be opened.

One staff member said: “It’s horrific. This is the worst school I’ve ever worked in, everything feels wrong from the top. I’ve no doubt all of the team want to do well for students, and want to give them that support, but it’s just impossible in the current circumstances.

"We fundamentally shouldn’t have opened as early as we did: simple things weren’t thought about from an SEN perspective because there was just a lack of SEN experience within leadership roles.”

In response Dorset Council said the site was “complicated” and offered “huge potential, but required adaptation to meet the needs of children with additional needs”.

Another member of staff said there had been a number of “violent incidents” that staff were not properly supported in dealing with.

They said: “The site wasn’t safe to open; there was a bank of rocks by the tennis courts and one of the children started throwing the rocks at staff. We weren’t able to restrain them, we weren’t trained in how to deal with a situation like that, one of the rocks went through a window.

“The site should be safe and the staff should be able to handle and control incidents in an appropriate way but no-one in the senior leadership team seemed to know how to deal with incidents like this.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said they had “been working to ensure safety at all times” but declined to outline what measures had been put in place.

Responding to the latest concerns, Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for education, skills and early help, said: “We are aware of concerns and have been working with the Board of the school and staff to ensure safety at all times.

“Coombe House is a complicated site – it offers huge potential, but it also required adaptation to meet the needs of children with additional needs.

“There have been some supply issues with materials and some late delivery on the original contract due to workforce matters and unexpected issues being identified on the site.

“Sean Kretz (headteacher at Westfield School) will be on site from next week to work with and support the staff, children and the Board in preparation for the new school year in September.”