Inspectors report that London boarding school is ‘disorganised and unsafe’

Exclusive: Ofsted make surprise visit to Heathside Prep School after tip-off

A private boarding school has been hit with a critical Ofsted report after inspectors were urged to visit by an anonymous tip-off.

Heathside Preparatory School, which has a number of sites in and around Hampstead, was told the inspection had found the running of its boarding provision to be “disorganised and unsafe”.

The school is already at the centre of a row over the future of a historic pub it acquired two years ago.

The Old White Bear has remained shut while Heathside Prep use space for teaching, despite planning assurances that the ground floor would be let as a bar.

Headteacher Melissa Remus said new procedures were in place to deal with the concerns raised by Ofsted over its boarding house, which is a term-time home for 15 children.

Inspectors visited last month after what they described as the “receipt of information expressing concerns”.

Managers do not follow safeguarding procedures appropriately.

A recent allegation by a boarder was internally investigated without the independent oversight of the designated officer from the local authority,” the inspection report said. “The school’s record of this incident and other complaints lacked detail and in some cases there was no formal record at all.”

It also said the boarding school lacked an “established rota” giving staff responsibilities and that two children had reported there was no one supervising the girls’ section on one occasion in May, adding: “These concerns led to these boarders feeling confused and unsafe.”

Inspectors reported that the “management of the boarding provision is disorganised and unsafe”, and added: “Staff are fearful of reporting concerns to managers. Ofsted rates the teaching element of the day school, however, as “outstanding” – the highest bracket on its inspection charts – and boarding pupils told inspectors last month that they were “happy”.

Camden New Journal