Private school in Milton Keynes given long list of improvements to make after official inspection

A private school in MK “does not meet all the required standards” following a visit from the government-appointed Independent Schools Inspectorate but the behaviour and attitude of pupils was praised.

By Sally Murrer
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 1:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 5:24 pm

The Grove Independent School in Loughton failed to meet required standards in aspects concerning pupil’s welfare, health and safety and also its overall quality of leadership and management.

And the school’s Early Years Foundation, a nursery section with 109 children from the age of three, has been deemed “inadequate” in its overall effectiveness, with its quality of education requiring improvement.

Further requirements involving the standard of the school’s premises and accommodation were also not met, along with standards for providing information and handling complaints.

Generic editorial image. Photo: Getty Images

A report from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), published on Tuesday, states: “The school does not meet all the required standards in the schedule to the Education (required Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014.”

The Grove, whose head is Mrs Deborah Berkin, has 253 pupils aged from three to 13. The ISI inspectors, appointed by the Department for Education to inspect association independent schools in England, praised the pupils’ behaviour and attitudes as good.

They said: “Children demonstrate excellent behaviour and show great respect for one another.”

The quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements was good and children achieved high academic standards by the time they leave the school, said the inspectors.

Though standards of pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural and social requirements were met, the inspectors were not satisfied with welfare, health and safety aspects including bullying, safeguarding, health and safety, fire prevention, supervision of pupils and risk assessments.

The premises were criticised as not being maintained to a standard “commensurate to health and safety” and some inadequate arrangements were identified, including in the Early Years section.

Standards were not met under premises and accommodation, particularly the toilets and changing rooms. The water supply was deemed not adequate.

The report said the school must ensure a drinking water supply separate from the toilet facilities and carry out risk assessment for Legionnaires disease to “ensure hot and cold water supplies are safely maintained”.

In the Early Years Foundation the overall care was “not effective”, said inspectors.

The report states: “The overall effectiveness of the Early Years provision is inadequate and the quality of education requires improvement.”

The personal development of the nursery children was also found to be inadequate but their behaviour and attitudes were praised as good.

Now the Grove must produce an action plan to detail how it will address the areas of non-compliance. This will go to the Department for Education for evaluation.

This week’s report was based in a visit to the school in February. But also on the ISI website is another report titled ‘Short Visit 2021”, concerning a previous unannounced visit last December.

In this report, 14 standards are listed as “not met” – but, bizarrely, it appears this was because the inspectors were refused entry.

The document states: “Inspectors were not given access to the school by the proprietor, consequently available evidence is insufficient to confirm that the school meets the requirements.”

The MK Citizen has approached the school for comment but is yet to receive a response.