Ofsted says Sea Palling special school is still ‘inadequate’

Pupils’ welfare and health has been called into question by inspectors in a scathing report into the progress of a tiny �150,000-a-year Norfolk school for youngsters with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Ofsted said the Old Vicarage at Sea Palling had made “inadequate progress” since its first inspection in June 2010 - when it was judged to provide an inadequate quality of education, welfare, health and safety.

After last year’s inspection, the then headteacher Sally Walker resigned, to be replaced by Andrea Colley. In August, the school’s action plan for improvement was evaluated and accepted.

But in a follow-up inspection on March 15, Ofsted found that, while there had been improvements, the school remained inadequate.

The report said: “The school has made inadequate progress in relation to the implementation of its action plan. A large number of regulations remain unmet, especially with regard to the safeguarding of pupils’ welfare and health.”

The Old Vicarage is an independent special school for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and autism. It is located in a children’s home and the school and home are owned by Care4Kidz.

There are currently four boys being educated there, for fees of �150,000 a year for boarders. The children’s home opened in March 2008 and the school in August 2009.

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The report added that the headteacher had “worked hard to form good and trusting relationships with pupils and most clearly enjoy lessons and learning”.

It said the school had been successful in improving its assessment procedures, while anti-bullying and educational visits policies had “greatly improved”.

But inspectors raised a host of concerns, including “additional welfare issues”. They highlighted the fact that the current accommodation was “too small”, lighting, heating and ventilation were “inadequate”, there were no toilet facilities attached to the classroom, and pupils used the same toilet as adults.

The report also mentioned “serious weaknesses in planning and in ensuring the curriculum meets all pupils’ needs and abilities and prepares them suitably for future life”.

Inspectors have drawn up a list of 22 demands that the school must meet in order to comply with regulations.