DfE releases 25 more warning letters to independent schools

Janet Downs's picture

Brings total of warning letters issued in 2018 to over 80

The Department for Education (DfE) has today added 25  schools to its list of independent schools receiving warning letters.  This bring the total number receiving letters in 2018 to more than 80.  

Warning letters are sent to independent schools when inspections, either by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) or Ofsted, find ‘serious regulatory failings’.

Today’s additions include The Prebendal School, Chichester.  The school’s website contains a quote from the Good Schools Guide which says the school’s main dorm is ‘like Hogwart’s’.

Parents considering paying for a private education would do well to check the DfE’s list of warning letters before parting with their money.

The named schools must produce an action plan and will be monitored to ensure they comply.

Termination notice sent to Anglican multi-academy trust

The Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust has been sent a Termination Warning Notice in respect of William Lovell Church of England Academy, a secondary modern school near Boston, Lincolnshire, Schools Week reports. 

William Lovell converted to a stand-alone academy in 2012 and was judged good in 2013.  It joined Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust in 2015.  In January, it was placed in special measures.

The termination notice reveals  ‘concerns’ about the trust’s ability to delivery ‘the required improvements’ rapidly.

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John Mountford's picture
Thu, 11/10/2018 - 20:17

Janet, please forgive my ignorance, but why does the fate of independent schools featured in your report, matter?

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 12/10/2018 - 08:54

John - it matters because in England there's a perception that private is always better than state schools (the Economist admitted this when it talked about the 'cachet' of being privately educated in the context of the low-fees Independent Grammar School Durham).  As these warning letters (and Ofsted inspections show), these schools may not be up to expected standards.

It also matters because parents are paying for a product which they like to think is superior (the use of marketing language is deliberate).  But, again, these schools may not meet statutory rules.

It also matters because of the children who attend these schools.  They may be being taught in unsafe buldings, staff may not be being properly vetted and safeguarding ineffective. 

Many of the schools which have had warning letters have glossy websites to market their product and bring in customers.   Needless to say, the regulatory inspection reports, which have to be on the schools' websites by law, don't appear prominently.

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