School ‘failing to protect pupils’

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A primary school is putting children at risk according to its latest damning Ofsted report.

Kensworth Church of England Primary School has been described as ‘inadequate’ by inspectors in their latest report.

Among the findings, leaders, managers and governors were found to have failed to establish effective procedures for ensuring pupils’ welfare and safety.

“Concerns about children’s welfare are not always reported effectively or quickly enough to the appropraite designated safeguarding staff member, or if needed, to other agencies,” said inspectors.

It said not all the required vetting checks to ensure the suitability of staff to work with children had been completed at the start of the inspection.

The reports highlight a steady decline. In 2010 the school was assessed to be ‘good’ with Ofsted telling parents in 2013 there was no need carry out a further inspection on the school.

But by 2014 it received a ‘requires improvement’ finding, and again in 2015.

The report, published last week, also states:

lTeaching does not support pupils to develop their skills

lExpectations are not high enough for pupils of different abilities

lThe pupil premium is not used effectively

lPerformance management of staff is not effective

lLeaders’ views about the school’s performance are not accurate enough.

The report states: “Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

It also called for an external review of the governance of the school and how the use of the pupil premium should be used.

But it said the behaviour of the 85 pupils was good and pupils made good progress in the early years.

Chair of Governors of Kensworth, Anthony Todd, says he is: “Committed to securing the best and most rapidly effective improvements to the school’s performance,” following the publication of the report.

Anthony was recently appointed Chair of Governors and has been behind creating a programme of improvement at the school.

The Governors have taken urgent action, appointing an Interim Head Teacher, Elaine Dicocco, to address some of the most serious shortcomings identified in the report. Teachers and Governors are aware that fully addressing the report will be a longer-term task.

The Department for Education requires the school to seek an appropriate sponsor and become an academy in order to provide appropriate support to the teachers and Governors whilst they secure all the necessary improvements in leadership, management and teaching required.

The Diocese of St Albans Board of Education will work closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure that an Academy sponsor is identified who is able to support the rapid improvement within the school whilst actively supporting its distinctive Christian ethos.

Interim Headteacher, Elaine Dicocco, said: “I have been in touch with parents, told them how sorry we are to be in this position and assured them that the school has already responded to the report’s most urgent findings regarding leadership and management at the school and is working hard to address all the issues in the report in co-operation with the Diocese of St Albans and the statutory authorities as they give their valuable support to the school at this time. We are a small, tight-knit community where people know and support each other. I am hopeful that the community will support the school at this difficult time of transition and recognise our desire to improve the service we offer them.”