Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): boarding schools and residential special schools

14. Inadequate judgements: next steps

What happens following inadequate judgements, including urgent case reviews.

A judgement of inadequate for the overall experiences and progress of young people will lead to an urgent case discussion between the lead inspector and the regulatory inspection manager (RIM). The placing authority in this context is the authority funding the placement.

14.1 The case review

The case review must record:

  • actions to be taken
  • that the director of children’s services (DCS) of the authority where the school is based must be notified
  • that the Education Funding Agency (if relevant) has been notified
  • that Ofsted has alerted the local authorities that have funded placements, to the concerns that have been identified; where a large number of placing authorities fund placements, the case review should discuss arrangements for obtaining the identities of the placing authorities from the school; and plans for Ofsted to make contact with each one
  • that the DCS of the host authority and of any placing local authorities will be emailed about the provisional outcome of the inspection, including the main concerns, in line with the feedback given to the school

The indicative judgement and inspection feedback should be sent to the DCS by the end of the working day following the case review. The school must be sent a copy of the email sent to the DCS of the relevant local authorities, so that it is aware of the information shared. Details of the emails must be recorded on the inspection database for future reference.

The case review should take place at the earliest time possible and no later than 2 working days after the end of the inspection. If this timescale is not met, the specific reasons for the delay should be recorded. In some boarding schools and residential special schools, parents are responsible for placing and funding the placements. This may include children who have been placed from other countries. In this situation, there is no need to inform the local authority where the child would normally live. Where children have been placed by parents, the case review decides whether Ofsted needs to contact the parents immediately or whether it is appropriate to delay until the report has been finalised. Ofsted asks the school to confirm the date it has sent the inspection report to all parents.

14.2 For independent schools and non-maintained special schools residential only

Following the case review, the inspector completes and sends Form A to the senior Her Majesty’s Inspector (HMI) (social care), who will consider and, as appropriate, agree the actions and send the form to Ofsted’s independent schools team to log and share with the Department for Education (DfE).

For independent schools judged inadequate on integrated inspections

Following an inadequate overall judgement for both the education and the boarding/residential provision, the lead inspectors will discuss and agree action in a case review. The education lead will usually complete the Form A in the case of an independent school. The DfE decides what further action is required and commissions Ofsted to carry this out.

If the failings relate solely to education provision, there is no requirement to inform the local authority where the school is situated or the funding authorities. In this case, education inspection colleagues will follow relevant procedures.

The DfE may: * issue an enforcement notice * request an action plan from the school and ask Ofsted to evaluate it * request an education or integrated inspection * request that Ofsted carries out a progress monitoring visit to check compliance with un-met national minimum standards (NMS)

Following a further inspection, if progress is good, Ofsted will agree the date of the next full inspection with the DfE. The timescale will be agreed with the DfE, but should be no more than 2 years after an inadequate judgement at a boarding school and within the annual cycle for a residential special school. The timing of the next inspection must be based on a risk assessment and recorded in the inspection database.

If the school is not making enough progress or remains non-compliant at the inspection, the process for an inadequate judgement is followed.

14.3 Maintained schools, state boarding schools and pupil referral units (PRUs)

Maintained schools, state boarding schools and most PRUs are the responsibility of the local authority. Ofsted has lead responsibility for taking action. The case review will consider the most appropriate action to take.

Ofsted asks the school for an action plan and to confirm when it sent the report to parents.

The lead SCRI evaluates the action plan and a monitoring inspection is carried out no later than 3 months after the inadequate inspection. The monitoring inspection is subject to a case review on completion.

If progress is good, the next full inspection should take place no later than 1 year after the inadequate inspection.

If progress is inadequate, further action should be considered and agreed. This may include a meeting with the local authority and a further monitoring inspection, depending on the level of risk to children. If not already carried out, an integrated inspection should be considered. This may place the school in special measures and, if required, the Secretary of State can take action to close the school and/or the boarding/residential provision.

14.4 Academies and free schools

Academies and free schools are the responsibility of the DfE under the terms of their respective funding agreements. The DfE can withdraw funding if there are concerns about the school. Ofsted takes the lead in determining the next steps in consultation with the relevant teams at the DfE.

14.5 Maintained schools and academies, free schools and PRUs (integrated inspections)

If no failings relate to the boarding/residential provision, there is no requirement to inform the local authority where the school is situated or the placing authorities. A copy of the report is sent to the local authority where the school is located for maintained schools and academy/free school reports also go to the regional schools commissioner.

If failings relate to boarding/residential provision only, the process for residential-only inspections should be followed.

If the school is judged inadequate overall with concerns relating to both the education and the boarding/residential provision, then the case review should include the both social care and education inspectors and senior HMI. The review agrees the frequency of follow-up and monitoring visits and any further actions.