Safeguarding concerns at Morland Primary School in Ipswich rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted
An Ipswich primary school has been given the worst-possible Ofsted rating amid concerns over safeguarding.
Government guidelines to recruit staff safely were not followed when inspectors visited Morland Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in June because not all references and identity checks were requested.
The 415-pupil school was given a judgement of ‘inadequate’, a downgrade from ‘requires improvement’ in 2013.
Headteacher Alison Warren admitted the report’s concerns over safeguarding will be concerning to parents but insisted rapid improvement has taken place. Broken down, leadership was rated ‘inadequate’, but teaching, behaviour, outcomes, and early years were all rated ‘requires improvement’.
The report said: “Leaders and governors have not ensured that all the statutory safeguarding requirements are met. Government guidelines to recruit staff safely have not been followed because not all references and identity checks were requested. The school’s single central record of checks on staff fails to meet requirements. Checks have not been made on teachers having the right to work in the UK.”
Teachers are “unsure” about what they need to do to improve pupils’ progression and their targets are not linked to the school’s priorities, it said.
It added: “The curriculum is not adapted to the needs of the pupils. Tasks are too often set which fail to engage or challenge pupils.”
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But it said Mrs Warren has an accurate view of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Pupils enjoy life at the school and phonics teaching is “strong” in key stage one and two, it said.
Mrs Warren said: “We completely understand that parents will be particularly concerned about the issues relating to safeguarding. The safety and well-being of our children is our highest priority.
“The report focuses on the concern that, in the past, administrative and procedural safeguarding tasks had not been undertaken effectively or in line with the statutory safeguarding requirements.
“It is now almost five months since the inspection and rapid action has been taken in all areas highlighted within the report. We are confident that all of the issues with regard to the safeguarding concerns have been addressed.”
Gordon Jones, education cabinet member at Suffolk County Council, said the authority is providing support and said he is confident the school will overturn the rating.
“The staff and governors are totally committed to the school and we are working hard to provide the highest possible standard of education for all pupils at Morland CEVAP.”
“Following the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection, Suffolk County Council is working closely with the leaders, including governors, of Morland Primary School to support them to rapidly address the issues set out in the Ofsted report. The school has begun to address these areas and with further support we are confident that the school leaders will make the improvements required and that Ofsted will see the evidence at the next inspection.
“We have a good track record in Suffolk of supporting schools to improve as evidenced by the very significant growth in the numbers of schools that are now judged by Ofsted as ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’. We will continue to work alongside leaders and governors at the school to ensure they make the rapid progress needed so that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”