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Steiner academy ‘inadequate’ in latest ofsted report

STEINER Academy in  Frome has vowed to improve following an ‘inadequate’  rating by Ofsted. The academy’s trustees are also formally challenging the report in light of ‘significant improvements’ made since the inspection.

A two-day inspection was carried out over the 21st and 22nd November last year. Ofsted said this month that Steiner Academy Frome has been rated inadequate for overall effectiveness for the first time since its inception in 2012. This follows from a previously rated ‘good’ inspection in 2014.

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.”

Areas of concern included:  the unsafe nature, insufficient progress for those with special educational needs, high number of exclusions and no senior authority. 

However, the trustees of Steiner Academy Frome say they are formally challenging the report and the inspection process itself. They say that significant improvements have been made at the school since the last inspection.

Acting principal, Nikki Doughty and chair of the AMsC (Academy management sub-committee), Suzanne Flack said, “The report outlines serious concerns in leadership, teaching and learning and safeguarding. A detailed plan addressing these concerns has been completed with many actions, especially around improvements in safeguarding, having already taken place.

“We appreciate that the report makes distressing reading for our community but please be assured that in the 7 weeks following the inspection, improvements are already well under way. With the support of the recently convened Academy Management sub Committee (AMsC), the leadership team at the school is wholly committed to this school achieving excellence in Steiner Waldorf education whilst meeting the requirements of OFSTED and the Department for Education.

“The issues highlighted in the reports will be addressed by a comprehensive programme for school improvement and a clear goal for state-funded Steiner education. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents and the local community of our commitment to children’s education and wellbeing and to thank everyone for their continued support.”

A trustee at Steiner said, “The recent inspection report has triggered access to very welcomed extra support and resources for us at a critical time of growth. A new development plan is already being put in place to deliver rapid and sustained improvements. This will help us move even closer to our goal of offering a high-quality Steiner education in a safe and caring learning environment that addresses the needs of all the children in our care. This was our mandate from the very start and remains at the heart of everything we do.”

 As part of the improvements process, the school will be re-brokered to a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) and the trustees of both the Steiner and Bristol Academies are having constructive conversations with the Department for Education (DfE) and the regional schools commissioner to identify the correct  MAT. 

Lord Agnew, Minister for Schools, has met with the chairs of the trustees to discuss the strategic future of state-funded Steiner education.

The trustees said, “With improved procedures and practices, a hugely passionate parent and teaching body and waiting lists for every single year group, we are confident that the Steiner Academy Frome will continue to thrive into the future.”

To read the full report visit: https://reports.ofsted. gov.uk/provider/28/138383

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