DETECTIVES investigating allegations of child cruelty at a school in Wirral have today (Wednesday, July 3) arrested three men.

An investigation was launched after the BBC broadcast video footage recorded at LIFE Wirral in Wallasey by an undercover journalist at the school on June 17.

A 43-year-old man from Meols, a 21-year-old man from Wallasey and a 26-year-old man from Irby have been arrested on suspicion of child cruelty.

They have been taken into custody to be interviewed and enquiries into the matter are ongoing.

Life Wirral, an independent secondary SEND school, hit the headlines in June following an undercover investigation by BBC Panorama. The investigation, titled Cruelty in the Classroom saw an undercover reporter sent into the school posing as a work experience student.

Staff members were recorded making cruel and offensive remarks about pupils. In some cases, they were shown directly addressing students using homophobic and ableist language. The documentary has caused outrage and the school, which has been strongly criticised, said five staff members have been suspended and apologised.

The independent school was regulated by the Department for Education and Ofsted but it was also paid more than £2.2m by Wirral Council. Ofsted also rated the school “good” and found no issues during an emergency inspection called after concerns were raised about the school.

Before the documentary aired, Wirral Council sent letters to parents, headteachers, as well as a response to the BBC as it immediately pulled children out of the school. In one letter to a headteacher, Assistant Director for Education James Backhouse said the council had “continued to pursue any concerns” after the Ofsted inspection and previous concerns “were thoroughly investigated.”

Mr Backhouse said a complex abuse investigation was started with Merseyside Police after the council was contacted by the BBC. It is understood Wirral Council has committed more funding for special educational needs and disability (SEND) support services and given counsellor support for families since the documentary aired.

An independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) will also investigate back to when issues were first raised with recommendations on a local and national level.