Ofsted Letter to Parents/Carers Sept 2016

19 October 2016

Dear Parent/Carer

On the 20th September 2016 an emergency inspection was under taken by Ofsted as a result of a complaint regarding the school.  This raised wider concerns about leadership and management, safeguarding, pupils’ behaviour, the supervision of pupils, record-keeping and the procedure for dealing with complaints. The inspection lasted one day.

I have enclosed the report for you to read. The report states that three sections of the standards were not met:

·       Part 4: Suitability of staff, supply staff and proprietors. The school keeps a single central register which records the pre-employment checks that it makes. However, the register did not include the date on which a check was made to establish whether any prospective member of staff is subject to a prohibition order. The school has this information and was able to correct the omission during the course of the inspection.

·       Part 7: Manner in which complaints are handled. In the light of its previous standard inspection in January 2016, where this standard was unmet, the school has drawn up a new complaints policy, which is available to parents on the school’s website. This clearly addresses the need for one member of any panel convened to consider a complaint to be independent of the managing and running of the school. Nonetheless, the policy is not precise enough in its provision for the confidentiality of the correspondence, statements and records relating to the complaint. While stating that these will remain ‘strictly confidential’ it refers to out-of-date independent school standards and does not make it clear that such records will be accessible by the Secretary of State or an inspecting body. The school took steps to amend this policy during the inspection.

Both of the sections unmet were miner and as the report states, both of these sections of the school standards were amended on the day of inspection. Due to these two sections of the school standards not being met, Section 8, Quality of Leadership and Management of school’s section, automatically gets marked down as unmet.

In the report, the Ofsted Inspector noted that since the complaint, the school has worked with the Designated Officer for Devon and external, Independent Advisers to review its Safeguarding practice.  There is no sense of complacency and the Proprietor acknowledged that the school had ‘learned’ a lot from this process.  A detailed action plan was drawn up and acted upon and, as a consequence, safeguarding practice has improved.

Behaviour is managed effectively in the classrooms and while pupils are moving around the site.  The principles of the school Behaviour Policy are modelled effectively and consistently by all staff.

The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy is clearly focused on preventing bullying before it occurs and is a basis for effective practice.  Teachers and Support staff work well with pupils to educate them about how to interact with each other appropriately.  Any instances of unacceptable language are challenged calmly and firmly.

The staff and I feel that this is a very positive report and it has been a helpful exercise in supporting the continued growth of the school.  If you have any further questions regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Mark Escott