Ofsted rates Northfield School in Oxford 'inadequate'

Northfield School
Image caption Oxfordshire County Council said it would invest £9.5m into rebuilding the school

A special educational needs school beset by building problems has been described as "in crisis" by inspectors.

Ofsted said some pupils at Northfield School in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, were "not receiving an education" and attendance was "worryingly poor".

At one point the school was facing closure because of "structural issues".

Oxfordshire County Council said it would invest £9.5m into rebuilding the school, and is also providing "intensive support".

Inspectors said until recently the school's buildings were "not fit for purpose", with pupils being taught at temporary sites after asbestos was found in March.

The report said: "Recent work has ensured that building regulations are now met. Nevertheless, the buildings' layout, design and upkeep are far from ideal."

Pupils had also raised concerns about bullying, including an increasing number of "racial incidents", Ofsted said.

'Steely determination'

The school was rated inadequate in all areas, but inspectors praised the new leadership team who "have stoically taken charge at a time when the school is in crisis".

Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, county council cabinet member for education, said the inspection in November "rightly pulls no punches".

She said: "We were aware of the concerns raised and the impact that was caused by the recent difficult times.

"The positive news is that Northfield's future is secure and it will be re-built with brand new facilities."

Acting Headteacher Tristan Powell said it had been an "incredibly challenging" time for the school but there was a "steely determination" to improve.

He said: "The county council shares that motivation and working together we want to put Northfield School's fortunes on a very different trajectory."

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