The failings of the past have been well documented. We have expressed our profound regret and sorrow and will continue to do so.

Our past has been the major driver in a fundamental transformation over the past two years.  We are under new leadership, at both operational and Trustee level, with a professionalised safeguarding team. The Charity Commission appointed an Interim Manager with responsibility for safeguarding who put in place a robust safeguarding regime. We became an entirely separate entity from Ampleforth Abbey, legally, constitutionally, organisationally and physically, to ensure independence of decision-making and accountability. We are a different College today and are determined to become an exemplar in safeguarding policy and practice.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) has endorsed our actions through two successful inspections in January and August 2020. The Charity Commission did the same when they discharged their Interim Safeguarding Manager in May after a successful independent audit of safeguarding in November 2019.

There is always room for improvement and for lessons to be learnt. We welcome independent scrutiny and take very seriously the concerns expressed by Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted. In the three safeguarding instances on which Oftsted’s report is based, none had any negative impact on any of the children in our care. This report does not criticise us for our child-centred approach to education and recognises that our students feel safe. However, while our parents and other independent regulators are satisfied with our safeguarding performance, Ofsted is not.

The College is committed to exceeding expectations and to keeping our arrangements under continuous review.  Accordingly, we have taken on board Ofsted’s conclusions and volunteered a plan to the DfE, outlining the new actions we will be taking. Throughout the last eighteen months, we have worked constructively with regulators and children’s services to make constant improvements to ensure our students remain safe. We will continue to do this to enhance the outcomes for all students. We are always happy to be inspected and would welcome a further inspection at the earliest opportunity.

Robin Dyer, Head at Ampleforth College, says:

‘I was appointed Head at Ampleforth College in August 2019, brought in specifically because of my experience in establishing strong pastoral and safeguarding regimes at another major and successful public school.  Working with my entirely new leadership team and new board of Trustees, we have rebuilt the school’s processes and structures and continue to prioritise the safeguarding and wellbeing of all our students. We look forward to a time when this focus is acknowledged as successful by all external parties. We are all enormously grateful to our parent and alumni community for their incredible support for the College and the work we are undertaking.’

Timeline of events:

March 2018:  Failed Regulatory Compliance ISI Inspection

March 2018:  Charity Commission appointed Interim Manager with responsibility for safeguarding

June 2018:  Action Plan submitted to DfE and rejected

Nov 2018:  Failed Progress Monitoring ISI Inspection

May 2019:  Updated DfE on safeguarding governance arrangements

May 2019:   Failed Progress Monitoring ISI Inspection but safeguarding governance approved

July 2019:  DfE requested Action Plan

August 2019:  Action Plan submitted to DfE

August 2019:  Robin Dyer appointed as Head

Sept 2019:  New SLT created with clear safeguarding, pastoral, accountability and leadership structures with responsibility to implement the Action Plan

Sept 2019:  Action Plan approved by DfE

Oct 2019:  New board of Trustees, including a highly experienced safeguarding professional

Oct 2019:  Action Plan completed

Nov 2019:  Successful independent safeguarding audit carried out for Charity Commission

Jan 2020:  Successful Progress Monitoring ISI Inspection

March 2020:  DfE confirm position “the school has met all of the regulatory standards ….. there is no further action required of the school by this Department.  The ISI will inspect your school again in due course according to their regular cycle of inspections.”

March 2020:  School site closed because of COVID

May 2020:  Discharge of independent Interim Manager by Charity Commission

August 2020:  Successful Material Change / Safeguarding ISI Inspection

Sept 2020:  Reopening of the school after COVID lockdown

Sept 2020:  Emergency Inspection by Ofsted - 16 teaching days after ISI Inspection

Nov 2020:  Complaint made about draft Ofsted report

Nov 2020:  DfE announce enforcement action

Dec 2020:  Ofsted partially upholds complaint and provides a rewritten inspection report

Dec 2020:  Request for an internal review of our complaint to Ofsted

Next steps:

Dec 2020:  Action Plan submitted to DfE

Dec 2020:  Appeal enforcement action (required so that we can continue to admit new students while we work to resolve the situation with DfE)