Joy as inspection puts Easebourne school back on track

Children at Conifers School, Easebourne, celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle SUS-180521-165912001
Children at Conifers School, Easebourne, celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle SUS-180521-165912001

Staff and pupils are celebrating at Conifers School in Easebourne after an unannounced monitoring inspection found the school is now meeting all Ofsted standards.

Headmistress Emma Smyth was disappointed after the school was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following an inspection in November last year.

The independent school in Egmont Road had been rated ‘good’ in 2013 but a two-day visit by inspectors Lee Selby and Phil Morris saw that rating fall.

In their report last year the inspectors raised questions about safeguarding and said the quality of teaching was ‘inconsistent’.

The report said leaders and governors had failed to meet the requirements of the independent school standards. They had been too focused on growing pupil numbers and balancing the school’s finances.

But the criticism is behind the school now following the latest monitoring inspection when Ofsted inspectors gave Conifers back its stamp of approval.

Mrs Smyth told the Observer: “We are delighted that following our recent unannounced monitoring inspection we met all the standards inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspector Mr Phil Minns.

“Our unique school has retained its ethos of good manners, hard work and kindness which was evident by coming third in the Observer Group of Newspapers recent ‘Best Nursery’ Competition.

“Children thrive in a Conifers environment and both they and their families make firm friends during the time they are with us –friendships that last for life.”

Following the latest monitoring visit in July Ofsted inspectors said: “Proprietors and leaders now ensure that all safeguarding requirements are met. They have a clear understanding of their responsibilities to keep children safe.

“The safeguarding policy adheres to current requirement and training has taken place for staff and governors.

“A designated senior member of staff now leads on all aspects of safeguarding. She is well trained and has quickly established good links with local agencies.

“The tracking of concerns has been strengthened and leaders now monitor the safety and well-being of pupils more effectively.”

The inspectors concluded: “Consequently this standard is now met.”