Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton school head teacher kept 7ft snake in office, says Ofsted

Luton Pentecostal Church Image copyright Geograph/JulianOsley
Image caption Ofsted inspectors said a boa constrictor and tarantulas were kept in the principal's office

A head teacher kept a seven-foot (2.1m) boa constrictor and tarantulas in his school office without checking if they posed a risk to children, government inspectors found.

Chris Oakley was criticised by Ofsted for keeping the animals at Luton Pentecostal Church Christian Academy.

The report - which rated the fee-paying the school as "inadequate" - said "no risk assessment" was made.

The BBC has contacted the school for a comment.

The Ofsted report said: "The proprietor has not ensured that all necessary risk assessments are carried out and that they are updated regularly.

"For example, a seven-foot-long boa constrictor and a number of tarantulas are kept in the principal's office.

"No risk assessment has been made to ensure that keeping such animals in school does not pose a risk to children."

Image copyright Dickinson College
Image caption Ofsted said no risk assessment had been made for keeping the snake and spiders at the school

The report said the school also kept a number of other pets - to "enhance the work of the school" - which had not been assessed for their risk to children.

The independent school has 58 pupils aged three to 13 years old.

It had been previously rated as "good" but government inspectors on their latest visit found it to be "inadequate" in all areas.

'Below expectations'

In addition to the safeguarding issues relating to the snake and spiders, Ofsted said the school had not met the "independent school standards".

It said the school had no first-aid policy, leaders "did not promote harmony" and that pupils' attainment is "below expectations for their age".

Ofsted did say, however, that pupils were "polite, friendly and well-mannered" and that behaviour was "good throughout the school".

It said leaders were "deeply committed" to further improvements.

Advice issued to schools by Public Health England says reptiles "are not suitable" as pets and that "all species carry salmonella".

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