Ministers have been urged to order fresh inspections of all the Steiner schools in the country, as a second school is threatened with closure amid “serious” concerns about child safety. The Telegraph reports.
The Steiner Academy Exeter was warned by the government this week that it could have its funding cut off, after Ofsted discovered severe safeguarding and governance lapses.
Following the inspection, the regional schools commissioner took the unusual step of instructing it to close immediately while the issues were addressed, so it can ensure a “safe environment” for its pupils. It re-opened a week later.
The majority of fee-paying Steiner schools in England are inspected by the School Inspection Service (SIS), an independent organisation whose inspectors are trained in the Steiner ethos.
There is mounting concern about the suitability of the SIS to inspect Steiner schools and hold them to account on their shortcomings, The Sunday Telegraph understands.
RSSKL used to be inspected by the SIS but as safeguarding fears mounted, ministers ordered Ofsted to take over. Ofsted can only inspect private Steiner schools when commissioned by the DfE to do so.
“It is clearly the case that RSSKL were getting away with inadequate safeguarding under the SIS,” a source close to the Steiner movement said.
“It may be that other Steiner Schools have failing safeguarding cultures that the SIS have also not identified. Ofsted should definitely step in to make sure that children are safe in all Steiner Schools.”
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