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Gravesend prep school failed to check if staff had been banned from teaching, says damning Ofsted report

PUBLISHED: 09:11 11 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:42 13 July 2016

St Joseph’s Convent Independent Preparatory School

St Joseph's Convent Independent Preparatory School

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St Joseph's Convent Independent Preparatory School was reviewed by Ofsted in May

A preparatory school in Gravesend has been branded ‘inadequate’ in a damning Ofsted report.

St Joseph’s Convent Independent Preparatory School, on Old Road East, received the rating in three out of five categories.

The education inspectorate highlighted that the school did not properly check if staff hired had been banned from teaching.

The report read: “Leaders, including those in the early years, do not carry out the necessary checks on the suitability of staff. They do not check whether teachers have been prohibited from teaching or whether they are disqualified by association with adults who may pose a threat to children. The single central record and the schools safeguarding policy are missing key information.”

The school for 3 to 11-year-olds charges up to £2,585 per school term.

The report also highlighted a number of issues around bullying, and the Roman Catholic school’s values.

It stated: “The school does not actively promote British values; this is because pupils are not adequately, informed about other cultures and religions.”

Safeguarding of children was branded “weak” in the report.

It said of the leadership: “They expose pupils to unnecessary risks in relation to their welfare and personal development.

“Leaders have not created a school culture where effective teaching flourishes.

“There are several independent school standards that are not met. Responses to the Ofsted online questionnaire Parent View showed over a quarter would not recommend the school to another parent.”

The Governing Body of St Joseph’s Convent Independent Preparatory School, said: “Since the Ofsted inspection in May, staff and governors have been working hard to make rapid improvements at St Joseph’s Convent Independent Preparatory School.”

“We will work closely with the Archdiocese of Southwark as we carry on improving – and we look forward to our next visit from Ofsted, which we trust will confirm the progress that the school is making. The report is on the Ofsted website and also on the school’s page.”

The NSPCC has shown concerns following the inspection.

A spokesperson from the child’ protection charity said: “We have concerns about some of the safeguarding issues that this inspection has raised. All children should be in a safe environment when they go to school with their physical and emotional wellbeing safeguarded.

“Children and young people who are bullied are more at risk of developing mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. It’s important young people have the confidence to speak out against bullying, but also that they know where to turn to get help.

“ChildLine is there to offer free, confidential advice and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for all children experiencing bullying and other problems.”

“You can get help through ChildLine by calling a counsellor on 0800 1111; chatting to a counsellor through a one-to-one chat online at www.childline.org.uk; emailing a counsellor through the website or get peer support from other young people on the message boards.”

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