Seven failing private schools banned from accepting new pupils

Seven private schools have been banned from accepting new pupils for “persistently” failing to meet independent school standards.

The Department for Education today published the enforcement letters sent to private schools.

Schools minister Lord Agnew warned that the government will not tolerate independent schools “failing children and parents by providing substandard education, and in the most serious cases, putting children at risk”.

Al-Ihsaan Community College, in Leicester, Beis Ruchel D’Satmar School, in London, Oak Tree High School, in Sheffield, Olive Tree Primary School, in Luton, Park Avenue Girls’ High School, in Stoke-on-Trent, Rabia Girls School, in Luton and Talmud Torah Yetev Lev, in London all received enforcement letters.

All the schools have been told they cannot admit new pupils.

The DfE has come under fire for being slow to act on failing private schools, with Schools Week revealing last year that the DfE was finally taking action against Rabia Girls School, which charges annual fees from £1,950 to £2,300.

Beis Ruchel D’Satmar School’s enforcement notice comes into effect on November 5. The strictly orthodox Jewish schools for girls, aged between five and 11, has been rated ‘inadequate’ since 2016.

At the school’s last inspection in March, Ofsted found a lack of evidence that leaders “promote mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”. The school declined to comment.

Talmud Torah Yetev Lev, which has an Orthodox Jewish ethos, has consistently been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted since 2014 and teaches boys aged two to 12 years old. The school, which is appealing the DfE’s decision, did not respond to requests for comment.

In its most recent Ofsted report from January, staff were accused of using “inappropriate methods of discipline” towards pupils. Concerns were raised around the “narrow” curriculum, poor leadership and “weak” pupil progress.

Rabia Girls School, an Islamic school, has failed to meet independent school standards on nine separate occasions – the highest number of any private school in the country. The school has been contacted for comment.

Oak Tree High School, an Islamic school, which educates girls between the ages of 11 and 16, has been found to be ‘inadequate’ in its inspections since 2016. The school did not respond to a request for comment.

Abdul-Wadud Ahmed, headteacher of Olive Tree Primary School, said the school has had a new owner and manager since the start of the 2018 academic year. He said that school “has made significant improvements”. In January, the mixed Islamic school, which teaches five to 11-year-olds, went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’.

Ahmed said: “We continue to strive hard to ensure we provide quality education, underpinned by a solid foundation for now and the future.”

Al-Ihsaan Community College has been judged to ‘require improvement’ since 2017. It is a Muslim school, with mixed pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. The school did not respond to a request for comment.

Park Avenue Girls’ High School, a Muslim school, teaches girls between the age of 11 and 16 and has been listed as ‘inadequate’ since 2017. The school could not be reached for comment.

Schools minister Lord Agnew said: “Every child is entitled to a high quality education and this Government will not hesitate in taking action where they are denied that by schools that consistently fail to meet the required standards.

“Independent schools account for some of this country’s best, but we will not tolerate a small minority failing children and parents by providing substandard education, and in the most serious cases, putting children at risk.”

In 2017, Schools Week found that nearly 200 small independent schools remained open despite repeatedly failing to reach Ofsted standards.