Boarding school criticised by inspectors
PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 November 2019
A boarding school in Southwold has been criticised by inspectors who raised concerns over leadership and pupils’ welfare.
A boarding school in Southwold has been criticised by inspectors who raised concerns over leadership and pupils' welfare.
However St Felix School in Southwold said it "places the greatest emphasis on child protection", with headteacher James Harrison saying: "I firmly state that I do not believe any of our pupils are, were or have been put at risk due to our recruitment procedures."
However Mr Harrison said he did accept the findings of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report, which said St Felix had not met expected standards in pupils' health and safety, staff suitability and school leadership.
The school's management came in for particular criticism, with inspectors saying that leaders "do not always demonstrate good skills and knowledge to fulfil their responsibilities effectively".
They added that because of this "pupils' welfare is put at risk".
Inspectors also criticised the school's recruitment process.
They said that in a small number of cases "criminal record checks, medical checks and prohibition from teaching and management checks have not been undertaken on all staff before they commence employment".
However, inspectors did note that the school had "suitable arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the school."
The school said the report had referred to an employee who joined without a reference having arrived in written form. It now says new procedures have been put in place.
Mr Harrison said: "These were genuine oversights by the school during the busy summer period and our procedures regarding recruitment are usually robust, as evidenced during the 2018 in-depth inspection.
"St Felix places the greatest emphasis on child protection and pastoral support to our pupils, and I firmly state that I do not believe any of our pupils are, were or have been put at risk due to our recruitment procedures but we fully accept the inspector's findings.
"We take very seriously our responsibilities for the children in our care indeed the inspectors commented positively on our safeguarding arrangements in their report.
"We will have the chance to prove this during a second visit by the Inspectors in the next few weeks."
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