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HomeEducationCollege in Harrow scraps under-16 education following ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating

College in Harrow scraps under-16 education following ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating

A college in Harrow has stopped providing compulsory education to under-16s after Ofsted slammed its curriculum for being ‘too narrow’. The £12,000 per year Harrow Independent College (HIC) was given the lowest possible rating following an inspection by the education watchdog last year.

The college – at the time a mixed independent school for children aged between 14 and 19 – was rated ‘inadequate’ after its original Ofsted inspection in February and March of last year – down from ‘good’ in 2018. A follow-up inspection in October found that the school still didn’t meet the required standards.

In the subsequent report, released by Ofsted last month, inspectors noted that the school had not introduced new subjects to the curriculum or hired more experienced staff, as actioned following the earlier inspection. Instead, they found that the college had stopped enrolling pupils of compulsory age since September.

The school now only takes on students who are over 16 and are either sixth-form pupils or doing GCSE retakes The leadership then applied to the Department for Education (DfE) to formally change the school’s registration, which has been accepted.

The initial inspection found the college to have offered a ‘narrow range of subjects’ for pupils aged 14-16, which inspectors said ‘limits their opportunities’ for post-16 education. They criticised the school’s leadership and said the curriculum wasn’t ambitious enough.

When a private school gets an inadequate rating, it will normally be inspected again within two years and may receive a separate inspection to check on the progress being made to address the weaknesses outlined in the report.

Last month’s report published after the follow-up inspection stated that the school still doesn’t meet the necessary standards. Action plans to address the concerns raised in the previous report were described as ‘lacking detail’ and the time frame for delivering them to be ‘unrealistic’.

Inspectors slammed the school’s safeguarding measures as ‘weak’, with staff not having received up-to-date training. They also criticised it for not providing students with any physical education and there being no outdoor area for recreation time.

A spokesperson for HIC told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that the college agrees ‘to some extent’ that the findings of the Ofsted inspectors were correct but there is ‘no point in raising arguments’ because it has already happened.

They said: “[…] the college has decided to enroll only post-16 students (Sixth Form and GCSE Retakes) where the students do not fall under the compulsory age of education. Hence, the college will no longer be on the DfE’s Independent School Register. DfE has accepted this material change in age group.”

They added: “We worked closely with the DfE and Ofsted. In 2018, HIC was rated as ‘good’ and what we have on the table now is ‘inadequate’. In the future, we would bring back our standards again and would approach DfE and Ofsted for re-registering, if needed.”

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