Private SEN school has Ofsted troubles

  • 20th June 2023

Newbury Independent School in Aston, Birmingham, has been criticised by Ofsted after its second inspection in a year, Birmingham Mail has reported.

However, the inspectors did say the school had improved since a previous visit visit, but that some weaknesses remained.

The school caters for children aged 11 to 19 with special educational needs and charges fees for day pupils costing between £14,625 and £54,752 a year.

It rated Inadequate by Ofsted in July 2022 last year, which visited again in March. The latest report stated that the quality of education was one area of weakness and said pupils’ learning “was often disjointed”.

There were some good points. Ofsted said: “Staff know how to report a concern and leaders respond swiftly when issues are raised. Staff work well with other agencies when required to ensure that pupils are kept safe.”

“Where the curriculum has been planned to meet pupils’ needs, is coherently sequenced, and builds from their starting points, pupils make progress. There were positive examples of this for pupils in the early stages of reading and mathematics.

“However, the curriculum design in other subjects does not consider what is most important for pupils to learn. There are still examples of a disjointed approach to learning where it does not build coherently from one lesson to the next.”

Headteacher Antonique Watson said: “Whilst we are disappointed that the school remains in its current status, we are pleased that Ofsted has recognised the positive steps that we have taken as a school. The inspection identified that “many actions taken have led to previously unmet standards now being met.

“We would like to highlight that during this inspection, the inspectors found positive strengths and developments within the school such as:

  • Students have the opportunity to learn and make progress
  • Teaching involves well-planned lessons and effective teaching methods
  • Pupils are supported in developing their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • The behaviour policy has been implemented effectively.

“Whilst many positives have been identified, we are still actively working towards meeting all of the Independent School Standards. As stated in the report, “time is needed to refine schemes of work and for pupils to be able to make progress in all of the subjects they are entitled to be studying”.


“It still remains that all staff in the school are committed to providing the best education for the children of Newbury Independent School and I am confident that we will meet all the Independent School Standards at the next Ofsted inspection.”

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