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
With all the abuse going on in UK boarding schools, it’s good to see that Ofsted inspectors are ensuring children sleep in the correct length beds…
Only a “good” rating?
“A Market Rasen school which provides boarding accommodation for students is ‘really proud’ after a recent Ofsted inspection.
De Aston School, in Willingham Road, provides boarding accommodation for 60 students – with most of them from overseas. The school has retained its ‘good’ rating in the overall experiences and progress of children and young people, taking into account how well children and young people are helped and protected.
Head of boarding, Andrew Quinlan, said he is ‘very proud’ of the findings from the Ofsted inspection. […]
Mr Quinlan stressed that any problems identified by Ofsted have already been rectified. He said: “For sure, the inspectors made recommendations for further improvement and we have already addressed all of those or have the plans in place to sort the remaining ones by the start of term in September, including a few longer beds for the growth spurts of some of our tall teenagers.””
Market Rasen Mail
Ofsted inspectors found a boarding school had failed over a serious child protection allegation.
Darul Uloom London, off Perry Street in Chilslehurst, was first visited by inspectors in May 2017 and slammed as “inadequate”.
The all-boys Islamic school opened in 1992 and received ‘good’ for its first inspection in 2008.
But standards appear to have slipped, as subsequent Ofsted reports rated the school satisfactory in 2011, requires improvement in 2014 and the lowest rating of inadequate in 2018.
The first inadequate report found school leaders did not follow their own safeguarding policy after receiving an allegation of a serous child protection issue.
The first report stated: “They did not inform the local authority designated officer (LADO) or the Disclosure and Barring Service.
“This demonstrates a lack of understanding of senior staff in key safeguarding positions in the school and boarding provision.”
Trustees were also aware of the serious child protection allegation but no one took action in response to the concerns.
The government has published 26 more warning notices identifying failings at private schools around the country.
The notices, which cover December 2017 and this January, include special and religious schools, and warnings about poor safeguarding, teaching and facilities.
The Department for Education also published 27 reports issued to private schools in November earlier this month.
The existence of the warning notices was first revealed in December 2015 after a joint investigation by Schools Week and The Yorkshire Post obtained a damning dossier of the previously unpublished documents.
Schools Week FoI later found that 131 improvement notices were issued to independent schools between January and November 2016.
Lucton School, a boarding school in Herefordshire, was told it must improve safeguarding measures. The notice also criticised the school for its leadership and management and told it must improve how it handles complaints.
London’s Kensington Park School has been warned to improve safeguarding arrangements, particularly by identifying a person that boarders can “contact directly about personal problems or concerns at school” and ensuring anyone working with boarders has proper job descriptions and training. It must also ensure that checks are made on the criminal records and qualifications of staff.
St Michael’s School, a Catholic boarding school in Berkshire, was told to ensure all pupils receive “full-time supervised education” in a range of subjects and that they acquire speaking, listening, literacy and maths skills. It was also told to ensure it “encourages respect for other people”, provides better careers guidance and improves leadership, safeguarding arrangements and checks on staff.
Oxfordshire’s prestigious boarding Oratory School must improve safeguarding arrangements, leadership and checks on staff criminal records and qualifications. The Oratory Preparatory School received the same warning.
Almost 200 small independent schools are still open despite repeatedly failing to reach Ofsted standards, according to new Schools Week analysis, suggesting the government needs to do more to intervene.
In the past three years, 190 non-associated private schools failed the independent school standards but stayed open, and 48 per cent are still open despite falling short twice or more. Just three have closed.
Independent schools can fail across five main areas: safeguarding, health and safety; moral and social development of pupils; premises and accommodation; complaints procedures; and the quality of education, including teaching and the curriculum.
A boarding school which has been threatened with closure is to take the Government to court over its Ofsted report.
Durand Academy is demanding a new report into its performance, claiming its results put it in the top two per cent of schools for performance.
But its supremo, the controversial former Sir Greg Martin, who is now chairman of the school governors, is now at loggerheads with the Department for Education, which has said it will stop funding the school in 12 months’ time.
Whitehall officials will now try to find a new sponsor for Durand, as well as ensuring its 1,000 pupils have places in other schools in the area.
They are based at at three sites – an infant and junior school in Hackford Road, Stockwell, and a boarding school for older pupils in Midhurst, West Sussex.
But Sir Greg, knighted for his services to education in 2013, said: “We are disappointed. We will, of course, challenge this decision.”
London News Online
Ofsted inspectors have returned to ‘inadequate’ Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education this week to conduct a monitoring visit.
During their two-day visit this Tuesday and Wednesday, inspectors have been focusing on improvements it has made in safeguarding, and teaching and learning. Last December the findings of the academy’s recent Ofsted inspection were announced revealing it was found to be at risk of harm.
The damning report said it was not providing an acceptable standard of education. It said failures by governors had put pupils at risk of harm and led to a serious decline in the school’s performance. Inspectors found a new child protection reporting system was “not fit for purpose”, and disclosed there had been an investigation into “serious allegations” relating to safeguarding.
A former groundsman has denied a further 17 offences of sexually abusing a boy at the boarding school in North Devon where he worked.
Peter Weyman, aged 66, was already facing allegations of abduction and indecency but has now been charged with further offences at Exeter Crown Court.
Both sets of allegations relate to boys who were students at Chelfham Mill School, near Barnstaple, between 1992 and 1994.
Weyman, of Cleveland Close, Carlton, Lindrick, pleaded not guilty to 17 new offences of indecent assault or indecency against the same boy when he was aged nine to 13.
He has already denied one count of child abduction, five of indecent assault, and five of gross indecency at an earlier hearing.
Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, adjourned all the cases for a jury trial to be held at Exeter on September 11 this year and released Weyman on bail.
Chelfham Mill School was a privately run boarding school for 40 boys with behavioural difficulties, aged seven to 18, until in closed last year following an Ofsted investigation.
What is the point of these Ofsted inspections that are mere tickbox exercises for boarding? Where are the social workers assessing why each boarder has been placed in care, away from their families?
The UK is a small country and we no longer have an Empire. There is no longer any need for children to be sent away to loveless institutions (regardless of how comfortable they are).
If a teenager chooses to board at 16+ and it is exclusively their decision, then we at Boarding Concern will support their decision (subject to proper safeguards). But there is absolutely no need in 21st Century Britain to send children and young teenagers away from home, given the disastrous history of British boarding.
Everything else is just pointless PR puff.
“Delight as Wymondham College earns ‘outstanding’ inspection grade”
Eastern Daily Press
Inspectors wrote that Durand is “failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education”
Durand Academy, the controversial school already battling government attempts to terminate its funding agreement, is “inadequate” and should be placed in special measures according to a draft report accidently published on Ofsted’s website.
In the report, which appeared online on Wednesday night, the inspectorate rated the primary school in Stockwell, south London – which has a boarding site in in West Sussex – as inadequate on eight out of nine subheadings.