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Teachers 'lost confidence' in private St Christopher’s School in Canterbury after poor Ofsted

Fed-up teachers have “lost confidence” in the poor leadership of a £10,000-a-year private school, it has been revealed.

The revelation comes after St Christopher’s School, in New Dover Road, was rated inadequate by unimpressed Ofsted inspectors.

The prep school was hit with the damning rating after substantial shortfalls were discovered in its safeguarding policies, early years provision and the personal development of pupils.

St Christopher's School in Canterbury
St Christopher's School in Canterbury

Newsletters written by headteacher David Evans were also berated by inspectors - with the communication to parents being labelled as “inappropriate”.

The report, published following an inspection in April, reads: “Staff work hard and successfully to provide good teaching and help pupils to progress.

“However, they are hampered by a lack of direction, poor, and at times inappropriate, communication, and frequent changes to policies and procedures.

“Communication with parents through school newsletters by the headteacher is often inappropriate.

St Christopher's School headmaster David Evans
St Christopher's School headmaster David Evans

“For example, parents were rightly concerned about the tone of newsletters responding to concerns about pupils’ behaviour, promoting parental excursions to France and responding to perceived parental criticisms of the school.”

The school, which caters for children aged between three years of age and 11, was rated inadequate at a previous inspection in October 2014.

A further emergency evaluation took place the following summer and a series of progress reviews have followed since.

At its most recent review, investigators found that complaints are not logged accurately by senior leaders, who have “disregarded school policies and statutory requirements”.

St Christopher's School in Canterbury
St Christopher's School in Canterbury

The recruitment process has also been criticised. The report adds: “The school does not follow best practice in terms of obtaining references before interview and appointment.”

“The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is inadequate.

“This is because senior leaders have not followed statutory safeguarding guidance or their own policies to ensure that pupils are safe and protected.”

As a result of the scrutiny, St Christopher’s, which prides itself on developing pupils’ skills before taking the 11-plus, has been told to immediately improve pupil safeguarding and rapidly improve its leadership.

Despite the criticisms, inspectors praised the “good” standard of teaching and the behaviour of pupils at the school.

When approached about the damning inspection, St Christopher’s School - which is attended by 85 pupils - declined to comment.

n To view the full report visit reports.ofsted.gov.uk and search for the school's name.

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