THE owner of a building rented by a Wirral independent school at the centre of serious allegations by BBC Panorama has asked protestors 'not to pick the wrong target'.

Life Wirral was the subject of a Panorama documentary on Monday night, after a reporter spent almost seven weeks working undercover at the school in Wallasey.

The BBC reports the Panorama reporter "witnessed staff using offensive language to mock pupils for their neurodiversity or learning disabilities, as well as manhandling them into dangerous headlocks".

The broadcaster says it carried out the undercover investigation after whistleblowers told Panorama “abuse was still happening there 12 months after the council was warned of problems”.

A police investigation is underway and the school has now been closed.

A minibus owned by Life Wirral was vandalised on its forecourt and windows at the premises were egged in the days after the programme was broadcast – and the owner fears people may confuse the building with those behind the school and its 'toxic culture'.

Police at the premises of Life Wirral in Wallasey on Wednesday nightPolice at the premises of Life Wirral in Wallasey on Wednesday night (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest) Talking via a spokesperson, the owner told the Globe: "The building is part of my livelihood and I rent it out to the school.

"I’m as disgusted as everybody else with what I saw and heard on Panorama and I’m pleased with how quickly Wirral Council acted to close it down.

"Nobody’s child should be spoken of in the way that we saw, least of all by people who are supposed to care for, and nurture, them.

"The culture at LIFE Wirral was clearly toxic and that comes from the head of the organisation – but that's different from me as the owner of the building.

"I can understand people's anger at what has happened, but please don’t take it out on my property."

A picture on social media shows the window of a mini-bus has been smashed in the driveway of Life Wirral in WallaseyA picture on social media shows the window of a mini-bus has been smashed in the driveway of Life Wirral in Wallasey (Image: Anonymous credit)

Security has now been stepped up at the building and the school’s owner has been asked to remove the vehicle from the premises.

A legal notice has been served on the school forfeiting its right to occupy it and signage has been removed, said the owner.

The BBC added that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council says the “behaviours” outlined by Panorama “can only be described as truly appalling”.

It reported that the local authority added that “the impact the events have had on the families of the children who were attending the school concerned is devastating”.

The Department for Education told the Globe that “all pupils have now been removed from the school”.

The DfE added that is in contact with the council to make sure an alternative education is provided.

In a statement, Life Wirral confirmed five staff members have been suspended.

The statement said that “regardless of how respected the school was it does not condone the behaviour revealed by the programme and five members of staff have been suspended and will face disciplinary action”.

The school added that it had immediately launched an investigation but added it will be taking legal steps against the BBC.

A Department for Education spokesperson told the Globe: “These allegations [against Life Wirral] are deeply disturbing, involving some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

“All pupils have now been removed from the school by the local authority and we are in close contact with them to make sure an alternative education is provided.

“We have been working closely with Ofsted and the relevant local authorities, including by commissioning an emergency Ofsted inspection last year.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action, including permanent closure, should the school try to reopen."

It is understood pupils were removed from the school by the local authority without enforcement action being taken against the school.

However, if the school attempts to reopen, the DfE will then take enforcement action in an attempt to close them down.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “The nature of the allegations is truly shocking and far from the kind of care, support and education these young people deserve and should be receiving.

“We acted immediately in a safeguarding capacity to take all the students at this independent school out of the setting.

"Working alongside partners in health and social care, we have been providing practical and emotional support for the young people and their families, which includes identifying appropriate alternative educational provision.

“At all times, we have sought to exercise the powers we have to keep children safe and achieving their educational outcomes and that has included liaising with the Department for Education, as the regulator of independent schools, and Ofsted as the inspectorate.

“We are continuing to work closely with the police as they gather and assess evidence in this case and the Wirral Safeguarding Children Partnership will be commissioning an independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review in due course.”

Life Wirral has been approached for comment on the smashed mini-bus window.

A Merseyside Police statement read: "We are aware of damage caused to a minibus parked at the LIFE school in Wallasey.

"Although no report has been received officers are carrying out enquiries.

"Anyone with information or has footage captured on CCTV, doorbell or dashcam footage is asked to get in touch via @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook."