Somerset

Ofsted rates Frome Steiner school 'inadequate'

Steiner Academy, Frome Image copyright Google
Image caption Steiner Academy Frome received the worst Ofsted rating in all four categories including "quality of teaching" and "pupils' outcomes"

A school where pupils did not learn "British values" and were unprepared for "life in modern Britain" has been rated inadequate by inspectors.

Ofsted said the Steiner Academy Frome, Somerset, failed to provide pupils with a "safe and effective education".

The free school, which opened in 2012, received the worst Ofsted rating in all four categories including "quality of teaching" and "pupils' outcomes".

But the school said: "You can't compare [Steiners] to mainstream schools."

The school, opened in 2012, will go into special measures.

The Frome academy was one of four state-funded Steiner schools set up under the Conservative government's free-school programme.

The school, which has 407 pupils aged three to 16, was inspected in November following a number of complaints.

In the report, school leaders and governors were accused of failing to provide pupils with a "safe and effective education" because their own knowledge of current statutory requirements was "limited".

It said the school had failed to address "serious issues that put pupils at risk of harm" and its recruitment processes did not ensure staff were "suitable and safe to work with children".

Inspectors found staff were not following "physical restraint" guidelines and in the kindergarten, "inappropriate physical restraint" was being used.

'Expectations too low'

The report also said teachers' expectations of pupils were "too low" and the school was "not providing pupils with a suitable education".

In addition, the inspector noted: "Pupils do not learn about British values and cannot discuss these.

"They are not well prepared for life in modern Britain."

But Emily Edwards, a spokeswoman for the school, said Ofsted was comparing "a banana to an orange".

"Steiner schools are obviously run in a certain way and I feel you can't really compare them to mainstream schools and that's what Ofsted go by," she said.

"They look at SAT results and we don't like the whole test thing, so our SAT results aren't going to be high and our children aren't going to be at the same level as mainstream schools."

Steiner education is based on the ethos of Austrian educationalist Rudolf Steiner.

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