York & North Yorkshire

Ampleforth College criticised over safeguarding and bullying

Ampleforth Abbey Image copyright Google
Image caption Ampleforth College said a permanent head would be in place before the end of the year

A leading Roman Catholic boarding school has been criticised for not meeting safeguarding standards.

Inspectors also raised concerns over bullying at Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, and said physical abuse was not always recorded properly.

The school said it was investigating all the issues highlighted.

The college's acting head teacher Deirdre Rowe, who was appointed in August, will hand over to a new interim head by September, it added.

"They will bring considerable change management and safeguarding expertise to the role, before we make an announcement on the appointment of a permanent head by the end of the year," the college said.

Miss Rowe decided to step down in March before the Independent Schools Inspectorate visited the college in May.

In their report inspectors said: "It [the school] does not identify the different responses required for behavioural concerns and safeguarding concerns, particularly with reference to bullying and peer-on-peer abuse and the potential danger stemming from the misuse of internet messaging.

"Incidents involving the physical abuse of pupils are not always recognised as potential bullying or safeguarding concerns," it added.

The report also expressed concerns about referrals to police or safeguarding authorities not being made in a "timely manner".

The school said it recognised in a "small number of incidents" its "robust" policies had not been followed.

"Each incident has been, or is being, investigated and addressed with the authorities and the students and parents involved," it said.

The school, which can cost parents more than £36,000 a year, was founded by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth Abbey.

It was highly criticised in a report by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in August 2018 for putting its reputation above protecting children.

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