Northampton school subject to Ofsted monitoring visit after safeguarding concerns raised

Despite issues raised, inspectors found safeguarding at the school to be ‘effective’

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:59 pm

A Northampton school was subject to a monitoring visit by the schools watchdog after safeguarding concerns were raised.

Ofsted inspectors visited Northampton International Academy in Barrack Road on June 9 as part of a monitoring visit.

According to a letter from the watchdog to the school published on September 16, the inspection was carried out because inspectors ‘wished to determine the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements and were concerned about behaviour and attitudes of pupils at the school, as concerns had been raised'.

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Northampton International Academy.

During the visit, inspectors ‘scrutinised the single central record and other documents relating to safeguarding and child protection arrangements’ and spoke to staff, pupils and parents.

After considering the evidence collected, Ofsted found that ‘safeguarding is effective’, but ‘leaders and managers have not taken effective action to maintain the high standards of behaviour and attitudes identified at the school’s previous inspection’.

The school’s last full inspection was carried out in July 2019 when it was ranked as ‘good’. The school was also visited in December 2020 as part of a monitoring visit, again due to concerns surrounding safeguarding and inspectors found 'serious failings'.

The letter relating to the latest inspection reads: “Leaders have improved safeguarding arrangements since the previous inspection.

“Leaders and trustees ensure that safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose. Leaders have restructured staffing to increase the capacity for safeguarding.

“Procedures for checking the suitability of staff meet the statutory requirements.

“Leaders have monitoring processes in place to check on the rigour of pre-employment checks.

“Staff receive training related to their safeguarding responsibilities.”

However, the letter also goes on to highlight issues surrounding behaviour that need to be addressed.

The letter continues: “Expectations of pupils’ behaviour are not consistently high.

“Staff in the secondary phase do not consistently implement the school’s policy for managing behaviour.

“We observed instances of pupils disrupting the learning of others in some lessons. Some pupils say that this is frustrating their learning.

“Most staff believe that leaders are now taking effective action to improve pupils’ behaviour, and pupils broadly, but not consistently, support this view.

“Further improvement is needed so that all pupils and all staff have full confidence that leaders are tackling and improving pupils’ behaviour.”

Inspectors listed points for improvement, but also highlighted the positive impact the school’s new house system has had.

Headteacher Dr Jo Trevenna said: “The Ofsted inspectors recognised the work undertaken at NIA to keep children safe.

“It is important that senior leaders based at the school and at the trust recognise the work needed to ensure that all members of staff maintain the highest expectations of pupil behaviour.

“This is a key priority for us and now we have started the new school year we are already enabling this to happen swiftly.

“I am pleased that the report recognises our holistic approach to educating children and young people with the addition of our house system and NIA prospect.”

Joshua Coleman, chief executive of East Midlands Academy Trust, added: “I’m pleased the inspection team has recognised that safeguarding is our top priority and highlighted the significant improvements we’ve made to the way we safeguard pupils since the last inspection.

“Covid has had a significant impact on our learners, as it has for all schools, but I am keen to see the improvements we are already making in tackling issues around behaviour through the new house system and the small school model be further embedded as we move into the new school year.”

Full Ofsted inspections of schools graded as ‘good’ usually take place approximately every four years.

The full letter published following the latest monitoring visit can be found on the Ofsted website here.