Special school in Northease Manor School branded inadequate

Northease Manor School in Rodmell
Northease Manor School in Rodmell

Northease Manor School near Lewes has been criticised in an Ofsted report.

The private boarding school for children with special needs has been deemed ‘inadequate’ after an ‘emergency’ visit by inspectors.

“The school does not meet the national minimum standards for residential special schools,” the report stated.

The Department for Education instructed Ofsted “to carry out this emergency, unannounced full residential inspection looking at all national minimum standards following receipt of a parental complaint that raised safeguarding concerns”.

A second complaint was received at Ofsted during the inspection and these concerns were also looked at.

In a summary of key findings, the report said: “The quality of outcomes for residential pupils is variable. Some pupils make good progress in their personal and social development; however, outcomes for other pupils have been unsatisfactory.

“The majority of parents and residential pupils have positive views about the boarding experience provided by the school. However, the provision of care for some residential pupils is weak.

“The school fails to adequately safeguard residential pupils’ welfare, health and safety to ensure they are protected and kept safe.

“The leadership and management oversight of the operation of the residential provision is inadequate. The school demonstrates insufficient knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of its boarding practice and thus has not taken appropriate action to raise standards of practice to improve outcomes for residential pupils.

“The school’s governors do not robustly scrutinise records and provide sufficient challenge to the senior leadership team to bring about improvements in safeguarding and the promotion of residential pupils’ welfare.”

Northease Manor caters for children with specific learning difficulties such as autism and Asperger’s. It charges £9,141 a term for boarders.

There are 50 boarders on the roll, aged from 10 to 17.

The mixed school’s previous report by Oftsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), published in July 2013, stated that the school was rated outstanding or good in all areas.

But the latest report, which has been published following the inspection at the end of February, said Northease Manor was inadequate in all categories bar one – the outcomes for residential pupils, which was deemed as adequate.