A TEACHER at a specialist independent school in Bentham is to face trial for the alleged assault by beating of a pupil.

Joseph Lee Beckett, 33, denies the assault by beating of the pupil at Cedar House School in Low Bentham - a school for children and teenagers with a range of special needs - on November 10 last year.

Beckett, of Watery Lane, Lancaster, appeared at Skipton Magistrates' Court on Friday when he entered a plea of not guilty.

His case was adjourned for trial to the Skipton court in August.

Cedar House School is part of the Witherslack Group - a national provider of specialist education and care for children and young people with special educational needs or disability.

Pupils at Cedar House can have a range of behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and a range of other associated conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, Dyspraxia, and Asperger's Syndrome.

The school moved from Kirkby Lonsdale to the former Bentham Grammar School site in Low Bentham in 2015 following a more than £2 million investment by the Witherslack Group.

It has around 60 boys and girls on its roll, aged between seven and 18 years old, including both day pupils and boarders.

Fees for day pupils start at just less than £31,000 for a year, and at just more than £51,000 for boarders.

At its last Ofsted inspection in April last year, it was rated as 'good' overall and in all areas, including quality of teaching and for the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils.

The inspectors found that pupils felt safe in the school and in the residential setting and that staff were trained regularly in safeguarding and had a good understanding of the potential risks to pupils' well being.

A spokesman for the Witherslack Group, which runs the school, confirmed that Mr Beckett was currently suspended, pending the outcome of the trial.