Ofsted to inspect private Steiner schools over safeguarding concerns

The education secretary has asked Ofsted to visit alongside the usual monitoring by the School Inspection Service

Julia Belgutay

inspections steiner school ofsted independent private safeguarding

Education secretary Damian Hinds has called on Ofsted to inspect Steiner schools in both the state and private sectors.

In a letter to Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman, Mr Hinds said Steiner schools should be subject to “additional scrutiny” by the inspectorate, following concerns over safeguarding.

This week, it was announced that state-funded Steiner Academy Exeter, judged to be “inadequate” by Ofsted, is to be moved under the control of a “strong” multi-academy trust.

Tes had reported that the school was temporarily shut following an Ofsted inspection in October, which raised concerns about safeguarding, governance and provision for children with special educational needs.

Independent school inspections

Since the majority of Steiner schools in England are independent and come under the remit of the School Inspection Service (SIS), Ofsted can inspect them only when commissioned by the education secretary.

In a letter dated 15 November, Mr Hinds has now said that, with the incidence of safeguarding issues appearing to be higher in Steiner schools than average, “there should be additional scrutiny to examine the situation".

The letter continues: “In the case of independent schools, I would like to commission Ofsted to conduct a series of inspections of some of the Steiner independent schools, rather than the School Inspection Service (SIS), and for this to go alongside increased monitoring by Ofsted of the SIS inspections."

Mr Hinds added: “I would be grateful if you could report directly to me at the end of the next term on your conclusions from this exercise and we can then consider what next steps might be appropriate.”

In the same letter, Mr Hinds also commissioned increased monitoring of the other independent school inspectorates across the board.

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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