Damain Hinds has written to the chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, demanding that Steiner schools – both private and state funded – are subjected to “additional scrutiny” by Ofsted. The Telegraph reports.
The move follows mounting concern from Ofsted about child safety in some Steiner institutions, with two schools threatened with closure by ministers after inspectors discovered serious failures in safeguarding.
This week, Department for Education (DfE) officials published a memo they sent to the Steiner Academy Exeter, warning that they are “minded” to cut off the school’s funding.
The school’s most recent Ofsted report describes “significant lapses” in safeguarding procedures, as well as “dysfunctional” leadership “at every level” and governance in “disarray”.
It describes how rather than acknowledge the school’s problems, a “significant” minority of parents and teachers blame them on pupils with learning difficulties.
The Telegraph has published a string of revelations about Steiner schools, including that their official staff handbook suggests that teachers should visit children in their homes and reward them with chocolate.
An investigation by this newspaper revealed how when parents at RSSKL had tried to raise the alarm about safeguarding lapses at the school, they were sent gagging letters.
Ofsted can only inspect private Steiner schools when commissioned by the Secretary of State to do so. In the past, this has happened where ministers have concerns about a particular institution.
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