Hertfordshire private school fails Ofsted safeguarding test - again

A troubled private school which is threatened with closure has failed its safeguarding requirements again.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 5:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 6:16 pm
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Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley had another visit by Ofsted inspectors in February, and was found to have not fulfilled its safeguarding requirements.

Parents have now been asked to come to a meeting at the school next week, where they will discuss how Rudolf Steiner will move forward.

Interim principal Tim Byford said: “This has clearly been a step backwards, which we’re very disappointed about.

“We made the corrections within three working days of the inspection, because it was a minor but nonetheless important matter.”

The meeting will cover various topics surrounding the school’s educational and financial plans.

Mr Byford did not want to go into details about what would be discussed, but said that the school would be making “significant decisions” in the coming weeks and wanted parents, staff and school association members “to be of one mind”.

He stressed that such meetings had been held every term since he became the school’s first-ever principal last August.

However he also admitted that the school would have “less money” next year, with the Gazette understanding that the school budget could be reduced by around 10 per cent.

And Mr Byford confirmed that the school was looking again at its legal representation.

Rudolf Steiner Kings Langley is currently being represented in its efforts to stay open by Mishcon de Reya, the prestigious London firm which represented Princess Diana during her divorce from the Prince of Wales.

He added: “At the moment we have lawyers who we are employing on this matter. But we’re also reviewing how we may move forward.

“We’re happy with their contribution but we have to be fiscally sound.”

An Ofsted spokesman said the report from February’s monitoring visit will be published once the school half-term is over.

>Issues at the £9,250-a-year Rudolf Steiner School date back to March 2016, when the School Inspection Service made an emergency inspection following complaints from a number of parents.

Ofsted then became involved, finding the school to be ‘Inadequate’, with ‘serious weaknesses’.

And last August the Secretary of State for Education said she intended to remove Rudolf Steiner School from the Register of Independent Schools – effectively forcing the school to close.

The school is now appealing that decision.

Mr Byford said he was not sure what the next step would be of that process although a decision had originally been expected this month.

A meeting between the school and the Department for Education will take place next Friday (April 20).

Mr Byford said: “We’re in the dark a little bit.

“We are preparing for further Ofsted inspections, that’s the only safe way for the school to proceed.”