£30K-a-year private school given worst possible rating by Ofsted

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

A secondary school charging fees of up to £30,000 a year has been blasted by Ofsted after students were spending “more time at home” during school hours than they were at school.

Right Choice Independent Special School in Beresford Square, Woolwich, was given the worst possible rating by Ofsted during its latest inspection.

The school was rated ‘Inadequate’ in all areas, including quality of education and behaviour, following an inspection in September.

In the report, published last week, the inspector said few pupils received full-time education at the school, and that the staff’s expectations of pupils were far too low.

They said learning time was “wasted” due to too much free time for students who are on site.

The report said: “Most are on part-time timetables or access no education at all. This means most pupils spend more time at home or in their local community during school hours than they do at school. This puts them at risk.”

The inspector said staff at the school did not take action quickly enough when pupils did not attend and that the attitudes of pupils were poor.

They added: “Staff do not consistently follow up pupils’ use of rude or abusive language.

“Bullying is not dealt with effectively so that it is resolved. Leaders deal with poor behaviour, including bullying, by putting pupils on part-time timetables or by providing permanent off-site tuition, for example in local libraries.”

Local authorities expressed concerns about the poor communication from the school, attendance of pupils and use of part-time timetables, according to the report.

The inspector said staff didn’t work in partnership with authorities who placed children at the school, and that attendance information given to these authorities was “inflated and inaccurate”.

Despite the criticisms, the report said pupils benefitted from the counselling services offered. The inspector said: “The school’s programme of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education ensures that pupils learn about equality, diversity and fundamental British values.

“The small number of pupils who attend rock climbing sessions said that these are helping them to develop their confidence.”

Banjo Aromolaran, director of Right Choice Independent Special School, siad: “Our school continues to serve the vulnerable children in our local community, as we have done since the school was set up in 2004, with a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.

“The parents of our students and our students are overwhelmingly positive about their experiences at our school in terms of the quality of the education offered and how safe they feel while with us and how we promote engagement in learning, celebrate their achievements and plan for their progression after they leave our provision.”

The school currently has 14 pupils on the school roll, 11 of which are enrolled on a part-time basis.

Annual fees for the school range from £17,000 to £30,000.

Pictured top: Right Choice Independent Special School, in Beresford Square, Woolwich (Picture: Google Street View)

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