DfE releases 26 more private school warning notices

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2015 after a joint investigation by Schools Week and The Yorkshire Post obtained a damning dossier of the previously unpublished documents.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.

On warning: The schools

LVS Hassocks, a residential school in Sussex for children with autism and ADHD, was criticised for not ensuring children had clear health and welfare records, and told to ensure CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment do not “intrude unreasonably on children’s privacy”.

Another special school, Cambian Walnut Tree Lodge School in Bedford, was told to improve its quality of education, leadership and management.

Birmingham Muslim School was warned to improve education, leadership and management, as well as ensuring it provides relevant information to parents and on its website including Ofsted reports.

Also in Birmingham, Archway Academy was criticised for the standard of education provided, safeguarding, leadership and management and how it handles complaints. The school supports teenagers recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.

Yesodey Hatorah School, a Jewish boys’ school in north London, was warned that its education must not “undermine” British values and careers guidance must be improved. Safeguarding and leadership were also criticised, as were toilet and washing facilities.

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.

Telford-based Amberleigh Therapeutic School, which describes itself as a centre “for young males who have exhibited inappropriate or harmful sexual behaviours”, was told to improve its checks on the suitability of staff and maintain its admission and attendance registers better. It must also improve leadership and the education provided to pupils and encourage “tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions”.

Oak House School in Essex was told to ensure that no members of staff have been disqualified from working in schools and improve safeguarding and leadership.

Muslim school Mazahirul Uloom London School was told to improve leadership, the quality of teaching and safeguarding arrangements.

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 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.

The Education Centre, which helps children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties in west Sussex, has been asked to improve safeguarding arrangements and quality of leadership and management.

The Davenport School, a special school in Kent, must improve safeguarding and risk assessment, including fire safety, better maintain school facilities, and improve checks on staff and quality of leadership.

Essex-based Park School for Girls was warned to improve the quality of leadership and management, safeguarding arrangements and checks on staff.

Encompass Education, a care home and special school in Bristol, was told to improve leadership, checks on staff suitability, safeguarding arrangements and how it manages complaints. According to the Ofsted website, Encompass was rated ‘inadequate’ after an inspection in October and has now closed.

Bristol Steiner School must improve pupil assessment, safeguarding arrangements and the quality of leadership at the school.

Athelstan House School in Middlesex was told to improve safeguarding and health and safety arrangements, including fire safety, properly marking drinking water, better checks on staff suitability and leadership. It was also warned that it was not providing information or handling complaints properly.

Al-Asharaf Primary School, a Muslim school for girls in Gloucester, must improve its leadership, teaching and safeguarding arrangements as well as better maintaining the school premises.

North London primary school Excelsior College was told to ensure teaching better follows a curriculum and takes into the “ages, accounts and needs” of all pupils and that suitable outdoor space is provided for PE. It must also improve safeguarding, risk assessment, staff checks, leadership and management of complaints.

Somerset special school Mark College was criticised for not having enough “safe recreational areas” or making sure staff receive appropriate training for dealing with bullying and safeguarding children’s welfare. It must make sure there enough staff at all times and that new members receive proper induction and checks. It was also told to ensure that “an independent person” is identified whom children can directly contact about personal problems or concerns and make “all reasonable efforts” to obtain information about pupils’ health, education and care needs prior to admission.

Oxfordshire’s prestigious Oratory School must improve safeguarding arrangements, leadership and checks on staff criminal records and qualifications. The Oratory Preparatory School received the same warning.

Catholic St Mary’s School in Hampstead has been told to improve leadership, safeguarding arrangements and checks on staff.

Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College in Essex has been warned to improve safeguarding and fire safety, and implement an effective anti-bullying strategy, a first-aid policy, a health and safety policy, and admissions and attendance register. It must provide suitable changing rooms and showers for pupils, and clearly mark drinking water, as well as improving checks on staff and complaint management.

The Phoenix School in Cambridgeshire was criticised for the standard of leadership and lack of suitable checks on staff.

Finally, Longwood School and Nursery in Hertfordshire must improve safeguarding, risk assessment and leadership.