Independent school is rated ‘inadequate’

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An independent school has blamed ‘paperwork’ for a damning Ofsted report which saw its rating drop from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’.

In the report, published on May 12, Buckswood School in Guestling was criticised for ‘serious deficiencies’ in safeguarding, aspects of health and safety, the provision of information and the way complaints are managed.

The report notes that ‘leaders do not monitor bullying, work to improve pupils’ behaviour or ensure there is a consistent approach to supporting those with the most challenging behaviour’.

It added that arrangements for recruiting and vetting staff at the school ‘are insufficiently rigorous to prevent unsuitable adults gaining access to pupils’.

Inspectors noted boarding and school staff, including the safeguarding leader, ‘are not held to account’.

Meanwhile pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities did not achieve well enough, according to Oftsed.

The report did highlight the school’s strengths in its wide range of extra-curricular activities and the fact that most students in the sixth form achieve well to progress to further education or employment.

It added that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of parents responding to an Ofsted survey were positive about the school.

A spokesperson for Buckswood School said: “Ofsted guidelines changed in April this year and the recent visit to Buckswood found that some paperwork did not meet the requirements that had changed this April.

“The inspectors did not find any incidences of concern and so we are working hard to ensure that our paperwork is fully compliant and matches our good working practice.

“We take this matter very seriously and invite anyone with concerns to come and talk to us and experience our happy, safe environment for themselves.

“You can see from previous reports from other independent bodies that we have met and risen above and beyond required standards and we are currently 
being reviewed by an Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) consultancy who specialises in independent education.

“Unlike the Ofsted team, the group are expected to actually meet the students, visit the boarding houses and review a large number of teachers and classes to gain a full picture of the effective of the school.

“We have an action plan in place and our paperwork will be in order very shortly.”