Great Britain

Bradford school tackles issues in first Ofsted in 10 years

A PRIVATE primary school and nursery in Bradford has successfully tackled safeguarding and health and safety issues, with its owner describing it as an "unknown treasure".

Netherleigh and Rossefield School, in Heaton, was visited by Ofsted for the first time in just over 10 years, on December 3 last year.

That inspection, between May 12 and 13 in 2010, rated the setting as a Good school.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) then took responsibility for monitoring the school until February 2020, when the Department for Education (DfE) advised Ofsted should take over again.

ISI made a final full visit to the school on May 14, 2019 and reported that several of the independent school standards were not being met.

A short progress monitoring inspection on November 4, 2019 found some of the standards were still not being met.

This included, concerns that the school’s leaders did not know how to refer allegations against staff to external agencies and issues with fire safety, maintenance of the buildings and suitable washing facilities for pupils.

There was also no admissions register and the proprietors had not ensured that pre-employment checks on staff were being carried out fully.

It is on this basis that Ofsted made its visit at the end of last year.

The school, which has 57 mixed pupils on the school roll and charges £7,485 a year, had been put up for sale just after the Ofsted inspection,

But it is now off the market.

At the time of Ofsted's visit, Ruth Midgley and Graham Midgley were listed as the proprietors and the headteacher was Amanda Leary.

The education watchdog's assessment was that Netherleigh and Rossefield had successfully resolved many of the issues ISI highlighted in the short progress visit, while continuing to meet the expectations in other problem areas that had been tackled by the time of that last inspection.

The owners have invested in safeguarding training for all staff and there is an induction programme for new staff and volunteers.

Records of safeguarding referrals are well organised and securely stored, overseen by the school's headteacher, who is also the designated safeguarding lead (DSL).

The report states: "These records show that the DSL and her deputy are proactive in seeking help for pupils who need it.

"The proprietors and the DSL know what to do if there is an allegation against a member of staff."

Staff files showed that all staff have gone through a comprehensive set of pre-employment checks - these are carried out by the headteacher and monitored by the owners.

The owners put in place an action plan to deal with the health and safety issues.

The report states: "The action plan produced by the proprietors showed a schedule of repair and improvement work for the buildings.

"The action plan stated that all work would be completed by April 2020."

Ofsted's visit revealed that the all essential maintenance work has been completed on the school's two main buildings (which are large and approximately 100 years old).

This includes roof repairs, the installation of fire doors and improvements to emergency and external lighting.

Alongside this, the owners have ensured evacuation routes are clearly signed, they commissioned a specialist company to assess any fire risks, and a qualified agent checks and services the fire safety equipment on a regular basis.

The report states: "The headteacher has issued health and safety check sheets to all staff.

"Staff use these to check and report on their areas of the school.

"The proprietors follow up the maintenance and health and safety issues identified by staff.

"The proprietors also employ a specialist company to do an annual health and safety audit.

"The proprietors ensure all staff receive training in health and safety and fire safety.

"Those staff with additional responsibility for reporting accidents, safe storage of hazardous substances and fire safety have received enhanced training."

Proprietor, and previous headteacher, Mary Midgley is now running the school on a day-to-day basis.

She described Netherfield and Rossefield as "one of the unknown treasures of Bradford" and was delighted the Ofsted report confirmed the school has reached all statutory requirements and has procedures in place to ensure continued compliance.

Mrs Midgley added: "The current Covid pandemic has caused all schools to review how they operate, adopting new procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the pupils and staff.

"In addition, the school has enhanced its online teaching facilities to provide as comprehensive as possible remote learning to enable the children to continue their education whilst lockdown is still in place.

"Staff have been working hard to adapt to all the challenges they have faced."

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