Could Hertfordshire school be forced to close? The full story about Rudolf Steiner

A Kings Langley School could be forced to close by the government, after the Department For Education (DfE) found 'continued failings'.

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 5:07 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
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Rudolf Steiner School in Langley Hill received a letter from the government, dated last Thursday (March 9), telling them the school could admit no further students until further notice.

The letter points to concerns about safeguarding and leadership at the independent school, following visits by the School Inspection Service (SIS) in both June and December last year.

Parents were told of the news in an email sent yesterday (March 14).

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One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “I am extremely angry with the management at the school.

“As parents we weren’t aware that this was coming at all.”

Rudolf Steiner School was founded in 1949, is one of 34 Steiner Waldorf schools throughout the UK and Ireland. It takes pupils from pre-school through to university entrance.

Another parent, who also asked not to be named, said: “I can’t understand how this happened. It’s like the school don’t get how serious this is.

“We’re told the school have 28 days to appeal, but other than that the email is badly written, and has left me in such a state, that it’s hard to understand.”

The school said they would not be available for interview.

In an emailed statement, they said: “We are surprised and disappointed at the decision to place restrictions on future student admissions.

“Following our last Ofsted inspection, in December 2016, a comprehensive action plan was produced by school management, and we are confident that we have addressed the main safeguarding concerns.”

Who said what?

The November Ofsted inspection where the school was rated Inadequate.

“This is an inadequate school

“Systems to manage safeguarding are not robust. Complaints relating to the school have not been addressed with sufficient rigour.

“Pupils, including children in the early years and students in the sixth form, are not kept safe at all times. Hence, the early years and sixth form provision are inadequate.

“Leaders and trustees have not ensured that the independent school standards are met.

“Leaders and trustees do not have a comprehensive overview of the school’s effectiveness. Roles are unclear.

“There are early signs that leaders and trustees are attempting to tackle the school’s weaknesses but, as yet, there is little impact.

“The quality of teaching is not consistently good.

“Teachers do not use assessment well to monitor pupils’ progress. Phonics is not taught well. Teachers’ performance is not managed robustly.

“Pupils in the primary phase do not make consistently good progress, linked to weak teaching. Too many pupils do the same work, which does not meet their needs.

“Pupils do not have consistently positive attitudes to learning. Work is too often untidy and homework incomplete.

“Pupils do not read enough to make sure that they read well.

“Attendance is well below the national average.

“The school has the following strengths

“The school promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development well.

“The curriculum is varied and pupils enjoy the range of activities available to them.

“Progress in the early years and in the sixth form is good.

The DfE letter sent to Rudolf Steiner School

“The Secretary Of State is of the view that there are continued failings to meet the Independent School Standards (ISS) which are sufficiently serious to warrant enforcement action and has therefore decided to impose a ‘relevant restriction’ in relation to the School. The effect of the specific restriction which the Secretary Of State has decided upon will be, when it takes effect, that no new students may be admitted to the School...”

“Continued failure to comply with the ISS may also result in the Secretary Of State considering that it is appropriate to remove the school from the register of independent schools.”

The school email to parents

“We understand, and feel the anxiety around this latest information and we appreciate that you may be concerned that the school may be closed. Of course there is always the possibility that the Department for Education could revoke our licence to be a school, but we feel this is very unlikely. In some ways the school is more in control of its destiny that it has been for many months. An ”enormous amount of work has been done, many changes have been made and, with your continued cooperation, this momentum will be maintained.”

The school’s press statement

“We are surprised and disappointed at the decision of the DfE to place restrictions on future student admissions.

“Following our last Ofsted inspection, in December 2016, a comprehensive action plan was produced by school management, and we are confident that we have addressed the main safeguarding concerns.

“A great deal of progress has also been made toward fully meeting the Independent Schools Standards in all other areas that Ofsted highlighted in its report.

“The parent body’s support has been tremendous, and they are working with the school to ensure that all of the new measures, especially regarding safeguarding, are integrated seamlessly in to the school’s culture, while maintaining the ethos of a community friendly school.

“We will appeal against the decision by the DfE and during the appeal process, the school will be able to continue to admit new students.

“The school management is confident in meeting all Independent School Standards, and will request an inspection in due course.”