Inspectors say a special needs school rated 'inadequate' across the board last year has made "insufficient progress" on improving.

But the chief executive of Elfrida Rathbone Camden says they look forward to a full Ofsted inspection to demonstrate their progress.

Education watchdog Ofsted gave the college - part of the Leighton Education Project - the lowest rating for everything from the quality of its education to its leadership and management following an inspection in June last year.

Inspectors returned to the Dowdney Close site for a monitoring visit in June 2023 and found the college had made "insufficient progress" in its scrutiny arrangements and curriculum development.

But in a report issued on Thursday (September 21), Ofsted did note the college, which provides education and training to 19 young people aged 16 to 25 with a range of special educational needs, made "reasonable progress" in careers advice and also in improving safeguarding arrangements.

Inspectors said despite increasing the number of members with SEND experience on its board, "trustees and senior leaders are not critical enough in their self-assessment of the education they provide".

They added: "As such, they do not have an accurate view of the strengths and weaknesses."

They said those leaders "do not adequately check or improve the quality of the 
provision" and that "tutors and staff do not receive effective support to improve their practice.

The report added: "Since the previous inspection, leaders have been conscientiously working to develop and implement an ambitious curriculum for learners. However, despite their efforts, too often learners follow a curriculum that does not meet their individual needs well 

'Reasonable' progress was also made with safeguarding.

Inspectors wrote: "Learners feel safe in the college, and staff supervise them well at all times. When learners take part in higher-risk activities, such as travelling on public transport, leaders increase the ratio of staff to learners to minimise the risk."

A previous monitoring visit in January 2023 found Elfrida Rathbone Camden had made insufficient progress on its curriculum but reasonable progress on safeguarding, ensuring staff are qualified and trained and providing careers advice for pupils.

Nicole Francis, chief executive, said: "Elfrida Rathbone Camden (Leighton College) was very disappointed to receive insufficient progress judgements in two areas - trustee scrutiny and curriculum - at its recent Ofsted monitoring visit. 

"However we were pleased to receive reasonable progress judgements in the other two areas - independent careers advice and safeguarding." 

She added: "The new senior management team and restructured staff team continue to work tirelessly to improve the quality of the provision at the college by offering a truly individualised experience for all of our learners. 

"The trustees are playing a very active role in supporting us with this work and we look forward to demonstrating the progress made to Ofsted at the full inspection, which will take place by December 2023."