Independent school still rated as inadequate – but the education is good, says Ofsted

Carmel Christian School in Brislington has kept its ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating because of the way it is being run.

However, children at the independent school at Bath Road are happy and behave well, while the standard of education is rated as ‘Good’, according to the latest inspection report which was published last week by the education watchdog,

When the school, which is run by Carmel Ministries International, was inspected in November 2018, it had 41 children on the roll and catered for three to 18-year-olds. It was judged at the time to be inadequate in terms of the effectiveness of its leadership and management, and personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils.

The school’s quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and the outcomes for pupils were judged to require improvement.

Now the school has a new principal – Joanne Collins – and just caters for three to five-year-olds. At its latest inspection it was at less than half its 26-pupil capacity with just 11 students.

In terms of the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and early years provision, the school is rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’. However, it still has an ‘Inadequate’ overall rating because of its leadership and management.

In their report the inspectors praise the “cheerful, positive atmosphere” at the school and say that the children enjoy warm and caring relationships with one another and staff.

“Children happily and industriously go about their work and play. They respond well to adults’ instructions and requests. Children’s behaviour is very good, and they rise to the high expectations of them.”

However, the proprietorial board, governors and school leaders are not well informed about the requirements of the independent school standards, says Ofsted.

“Inspection evidence shows that the school has not passed on serious concerns to the local authority safeguarding team, as is required,” the report said.

Additional support from appropriate agencies is not sought when, from time to time, families require extra help.

And leaders have not thought carefully enough about the school’s risk assessments: “Risks were identified during the inspection, including a broken door lock in the early years classroom and an area that could be accessed by children that stored empty gas canisters. Leaders had not identified the potential risks of these hazards for themselves.”

Today in a statement Carmel Christian School told us it remains committed to the highest standards across all areas of school life: “Following a significant transition to the setting at the end of 2020, our dedicated staff and governors have worked extremely hard to provide a safe and secure teaching and learning environment.

“The Ofsted inspectors who visited us in June recognised our efforts and the ensuing strengths, resulting in a ‘good’ grade across four out of five categories. We were disappointed that a few areas requiring improvement resulted in an inadequate grade overall, especially since we take safeguarding very seriously. Governors and staff have addressed the areas that Ofsted highlighted as needing improvement, and we intend to continue providing a good quality of education to our children.

“We would also like to thank our parents, who have been very supportive throughout this last year.”

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