Ofsted: 1 in 10 small private schools still failing on safeguarding

Dozens of small private schools continue to fail to safeguard their pupils, while almost a quarter did not meet government standards in the past year, new Ofsted statistics reveal.

The watchdog has released data about the 1,076 independent schools it inspects, and warned that “ineffective safeguarding judgements remain high”, despite a fall in the proportion of schools with such judgments, from 15 per cent last year to 10 per cent in 2018.

Ofsted also warned today that almost a quarter of private schools under its remit – mostly special schools, faith schools and other small institutions – still fail to comply with the independent school standards.

Schools are least likely to meet the standards in the quality of leadership and management

It follows an investigation by Schools Week which revealed that private schools remain open despite being warned that they aren’t meeting the standards.

The government only began publishing warning notices to private schools for the first time this February, more than two years after a campaign by this newspaper to make them public.

Ofsted’s latest statistics show that in the year to August 2018, 77 per cent of schools met all eight of the standards. This is an increase on the 66 per cent pass rate seen last year.

“Schools are least likely to meet the standards in the quality of leadership and management. Just over a fifth of schools did not meet this standard when inspected this academic year,” the watchdog said.

Overall, 69 per cent of private schools are judged to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, up from 68 per cent last year.

As of August 31, 14 per cent of the schools were ‘outstanding’, 55 per cent were ‘good’, 18 per cent were rated ‘requires improvement’ and 13 per cent were ‘inadequate’.

Private special schools were more likely to get the top grade. 18 per cent of special schools are ‘outstanding’, compared with 11 per cent of other private schools.

Faith schools also fared worse than non-faith schools, with 23 per cent rated ‘inadequate’ and just 7 per cent ‘outstanding’, compared with 9 per cent and 17 per cent respectively among non-faith schools.

Jewish schools are more likely to be ‘inadequate’ and less likely to be ‘outstanding’ than schools of any other faith. 34 per cent of Jewish private schools inspected by Ofsted are ‘inadequate’, compared with 25 per cent of Muslim schools, 14 per cent of Christian schools.