£38,000 a year school told ‘urgent action’ needs to be taken

A Wirral school with fees of £38,000 a year has been told “urgent action” is needed to tackle issues found by inspectors.

A school managed by Progress Schools in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead has been rated inadequate by OFSTED in a report published February 14. The school, with annual fees between £13,500 and £38,000, is attended by 60 children between 11 and 16 who have been excluded from other schools and “have developed negative views of education.”

While some pupils said “they feel better supported and happier at this school,” the school was criticised for having low expectations for some pupils and not preparing them enough for later life. Inspectors said some behaviour in the school was “poor” with low attendance and some pupils didn’t not respect staff or other pupils, “do not engage well in lessons and often walk out of classes.”

The report said, “The proprietor body has not acted rapidly enough to improve, or respond to, the considerable weaknesses in the school. While the school has started to prioritise the most pressing issues, there are many aspects of its work that require urgent improvement.”

OFSTED found the school had failed on a number of independent school standards including the quality of education provided, the welfare, health, and safety of pupils, as well as leadership and management of the school.

It said to improve things, “the school should ensure that staff are suitably trained to deliver the subject curriculums effectively and that pupils are able to gain appropriate qualifications in the different subjects.”

Inspectors said this is because staff “do not have the knowledge and skills needed to deliver” new curriculums and some pupils were unable to study new subjects. School attendance was also consistently low and the school “does not promote a love of reading among pupils.”  

The school was also found to have not ensured it maintains safeguarding records correctly or improved pupil’s behaviour and “these failings impact on the quality of education provided by the school and welfare, health and safety of pupils.”

The school was praised for staff being supported well at the school and while it had systems in place for pupils who struggle to read, there had been a broad decline in the standard of education since OFSTED’s previous inspection where it had been rated good in 2021.

The school was inspected in December 2023. Progress Schools were approached for comment.

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