Inspectors’ safety rap for school

Malvern Gazette: CONCERNS: Abbey College CONCERNS: Abbey College

A HIGH-profile international college in Malvern does not properly ensure the welfare and safety of its students, an Ofsted inspection has found.

The £20,000-a-year Abbey International College in Malvern Wells says it has already taken action to address the shortcomings that saw a government inspector label its safeguarding of students and boarding provision “inadequate”.

While praising the quality of education at the college and the results that students achieve, inspector Daniel Towl found not all staff were being adequately checked out before being allowed to work unsupervised with students.

“Arrangements to ensure the welfare, health and safety of pupils are inadequate,”

he said. “There are shortfalls in vetting procedures for adults who have unsupervised access to students and also weaknesses in the maintenance of premises and there are inadequate security arrangements.

“This means that not all minimum standards are met and the safety and welfare of students cannot be assured.”

He found national safeguarding guidelines were “not satisfactorily implemented”

and that “day-to-day attention to health and safety matters is not robust enough”.

Some security measures were also found to be inadequate and concerns were raised over the monitoring of visitors and younger students who leave the premises after school.

Headteacher Philip Moere said the numerous failings identified in the report came down to a few common factors, which have already been set right since the inspection late last year.

He said it had been college policy when employing foreign nationals to get police checks from their own countries, rather than the Criminal Record Bureau check.

“We misread the guidance and previous inspections had never picked up that there was a problem,” he said.

“It is something that was rectified within a week of the inspection. The security and maintenance issues that were picked up on were already programmed to be completed over the Christmas break.”

He said an action plan had been sent to Ofsted and he hoped the school would be inspected again soon.

Mr Moere said he was happy with other elements of the report, praising the quality of teaching at the college as well as students’ moral, social and cultural development.

He said: “We know we do a very good job on the teaching side, which is not always flagged up in league tables.”

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