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Changes at infant school after watchdog brands it inadequate amid safeguarding concerns

Raleigh Infant School, in Thetford. Picture: Google

Raleigh Infant School, in Thetford. Picture: Google

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Safeguarding concerns - including a lack of checks on new staff - have seen an infant school told it is inadequate.

Raleigh Infant School and Nursery, in Thetford, was judged to be inadequate after a visit from Ofsted inspectors in November.

It comes four years after the school’s previous judgment in 2013, when it was given a good rating - the watchdog’s second highest.

Inspectors raised concerns over safeguarding, and said leaders and governors “do not carry out statutory checks the ensure the suitability of staff who work at the school”.

“Leaders and governors have not ensured that pupils are kept safe,” the report said. “They have failed in their statutory duty to ensure that all safeguarding concerns are made fully known to external agencies, are recorded appropriately and are carefully checked.”

They recommended leaders “urgently” improve safeguarding, as well as both effectiveness of leadership and quality of teaching.

But the report did praise pupils’ behaviour, and said there was “very little bullying” in school.

“[Pupils] are consistently polite and show respect, both towards each other and to all adults in the school,” they said.

Pupils who speak English as an additional language are “particularly well” supported, inspectors said, and children leaving nursery for infant school “do so confidently and with minimal anxiety”.

Julieanne Purvis took over as acting headteacher in January, and said the school had already “significantly moved forward”, amid “rigorous improvements”.

She said new designated safeguarding leaders had been trained, with the governing body replaced by an interim executive board of governors.

“Our staff work really hard to provide an enjoyable, safe and positive learning experience for all children,” she said. “We are pleased that the inspectors recognised the positive and respectful behaviour of pupils and the high standards of teaching and learning among our early years’ groups.

“The high quality support and training for teaching assistants was also acknowledged by Ofsted. We are proud of this as staff effectively support pupils, particularly those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who speak English as an additional language.”

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