Ofsted brands Leeds independent girls school ‘inadequate’

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A watchdog has branded an independent girls school in Leeds which breached safeguarding requirements as inadequate.

Ofsted said that New Horizon Community School – which charges annual fees of £1,800 – must improve, highlighting safety concerns.

A new report reads: “At the time of the inspection, the school’s single central record contained no reference to the current proprietors or governing body. The highly knowledgeable administrator and headteacher were aware of this, but despite their best efforts had been unable to obtain the information required. This represents a breach in safeguarding requirements and a failure of this part of the independent school standards.”

Risk assessments were not used consistently, inspectors said, giving one example of a large window in a classroom and in the third-floor toilets having no guards or locks.

“At the time of the inspection, no risk assessment was in place that identified the hazard posed by these upstairs windows. This represents a risk to pupils’ welfare, health and safety.”

Proprietors and governors had also failed to ensure that relevant Disclosure and Barring Service checks had been carried out, it said. But the report praises headteacher Noreen Khalil-Ahmad, who was appointed in September 2016. “She has quickly developed a very clear and accurate view of the areas in need of improvement and strengths of the school,” it says.

A spokesman for the school said that it has already started work to improve aspects highlighted in the report. He said all of the current governors came into post in January 2017 and have worked “tirelessly” to improve conditions with refurbishment, teaching strategies, parental engagement and IT infrastructure management.

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