Rudolf Steiner school Kings Langley – Inadequate

In the last two years this school has been inspected many times, and on each occasion has not met the required standards. The latest report is damning.

According to the decision letter from the Department for Education the proprietors of the school received in March, the secretary of state for education, in what appears to be a desperate bid to address the situation, imposed a “relevant restriction” on the school;

“to cease to admit any new students to the school”

Press reports stated that the school would be appealing, and it is not clear if this has happened – there is no information on the school website. The decision letter states that an appeal would only be upheld if all the Independent school standards were being met at the time of the appeal.

Kings Langley opened in 1949 and is “one of the longest established Steiner Waldorf schools in the United Kingdom”. In the SIS report from last year there is a description of the “college of teachers” system of management used in the Steiner system, and an explanation of how it should work, and why it doesn’t.

There is no headteacher, and according to the report, staff members do not trust the authority of those in charge to make decisions, especially with respect to safeguarding;

“Inspection records now evidence that safeguarding at the school has been ineffective for more than two years…”

“Opportunities to improve safeguarding in the school have been missed because leaders have failed to openly accept the failings of the past.”

“Current leaders continue to fail to keep pupils safe.”

“…leaders did not fulfil their responsibilities effectively”.

 

As an independent school Kings Langley was previously inspected by the Schools Inspection Service, but most recently in May this year Ofsted found failings in many areas including the quality of education, the manner in which complaints are handled, safeguarding and welfare standards, and in the quality of leadership.

During the many inspections, the leadership have failed to admit the problems identified, failed to address the problems, and, reading between the lines, have lied to parents and about parents who have complained, making out that they misrepresented situations.

In the 2015/16 school year there were 39 formal complaints.

This worrying statement was made after the inspection in May this year;

The school was previously inspected by the School Inspection Service (SIS). This included a progress monitoring inspection in June 2016. The report of this inspection states that it was conducted without notice to the school. However, evidence found at this inspection indicates that the school may have known about the inspection the preceding week.

What is going on in the SIS? Who warned the school about the “snap” unannounced inspection? Independent Steiner school inspectors in the past have included individuals who are part of the anthroposophical community. As with the mysterious statement about lack of support for reform from “some members of  the school community” in the report on the Steiner Academy Bristol, we are not told how this serious betrayal could have happened and what is being done about it, and in the meantime children are still being put at risk..

The Watford Observer has reported on problems at this school in the past, including the suspension of a teacher last year, and on the “Inadequate” rating from Ofsted this year.

The SIS reports are found here and the Ofsted reports here.

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