Article paru dans The Watford Observer.
An independent school has been rated inadequate by the education watchdog Ofsted a month after a damning safeguarding report.
The Rudolf Steiner School, in Langley Hill, Kings Langley, has been unexpectedly inspected by Ofsted just one month after the education watchdog found it to be « not safe » for the children.
This inspection took place on December 13 to 16 with no notice as the school is usually inspected by the School Inspection Service (SIS).
The Department of Education (DfE) commissioned Ofsted to conduct a no-notice progress monitoring inspection in November 2016 to check the school’s compliance with a number of independent school standards that the SIS inspection in June 2016 judged as met.
The monitoring inspection in November 2016 found that a range of independent school standards were not met, including those met previously at the SIS inspection. The DfE then commissioned Ofsted to conduct this unannounced standard inspection.
The report, published yesterday, says the pupils’ personal development and welfare is inadequate due to the ineffective arrangements to safeguarding pupils.
The school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils do not meet statutory requirements, and risk assessments do not ensure that all reasonable actions are taken to keep pupils safe.
The sixth form is inadequate because safeguarding in the school is ineffective and this potentially impacts on students’ welfare.
It also found that the chairman of the trustees acknowledges that the job descriptions in place for this group are generic in nature as the school management team members do not have specific job descriptions.
The board of trustees has contributed towards the school’s decline, the report reads.
Safeguarding of pupils has also not been managed well and the trustees have been too indecisive in the past in responding quickly to safeguarding matters.
Historically, the board of trustees has not had a good overview of the effectiveness of the provision. The formation of the board of trustees, having a member of staff as the chairman, has not ensured an appropriate degree of objectivity and rigour.
The recently appointed chairman of trustees, who is not a member of staff, recognises that the arrangements for governance have not secured robust accountability in the past.
He is aware of the challenges the school faces, and is also aware of the need to act decisively and swiftly so that the school can move on.
The inspector also found too few complaints have been resolved at an informal stage, which means that the number of complaints which have progressed to the formal stage have increased, and have yet to be resolved.
The overwhelming proportion of parents who responded to Ofsted’s online questionnaire, Parent View, were positive about the school and what it aims to achieve. However, inspectors did not find sufficient evidence to support some of these positive views.
In all areas of inspection the school was rated either inadequate or requiring urgent improvements.
Last year, a teacher was suspended for exhibiting “inappropriate behaviour” on multiple occasions. The school completed a full investigation each time and the teacher was reinstated to their former position.
« The school’s leadership and management are taking the various issues raised in the Ofsted report seriously and have put a number initiatives in place to address them quickly and comprehensively.
« We are confident that we are doing all we can to make our school a safe place for our children and have implemented advice and requirement relating to the inspection. »
Mr Triplett also said the school has had an intensive safeguarding audit completed by Herts for Learning and their advice has already been implemented and all of the school’s safeguarding policies are in line with government guidelines.
He said: « The school has increased safeguarding training for all staff. Child protection record keeping systems have been upgraded.
« Headlines of the report overshadow much that is positive about the Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley. Everyone in the school is completely dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment for the children. We continue to work hard to address the issues the latest report raises.
« Our approach to meeting the needs of pupils at their various stages of development is sound and has been proven over the years to produce confident, creative and free-thinking individuals.
« The Steiner curriculum is quite different to the mainstream approach, but we are confident that we will find ways to demonstrate our success and provide comparison to mainstream assessment expectations. »
The school charges up to £9,520 annually.