THE safety of pupils at a Sedgemoor school has been branded “inadequate” following a welfare inspection.
The Ofsted inspection was carried out at Shapwick School in February and a residential report has now been released.
While the report marked the school’s overall effectiveness as ‘adequate’, it branded pupils’ safety ‘inadequate’.
Inspectors said: “The school has failed to notify two significant events relating to the protection of children to the appropriate authorities in the correct manner.
“On both occasions the school investigated the child protection concern prior to notifying the Somerset Local Area Designated Officer. This means the school may have compromised the evidence and jeopardised an independent investigation.”
Inspectors found some residential pupils were boarding in cramped conditions and others had “below standard” sleeping arrangements.
In places, bathrooms and bedrooms did not allow for sufficient privacy.
The report added: “Some children have poor-quality mattresses. The school has already bought new mattresses for the majority of the pupils and is in the process of purchasing these for everybody.”
A parent whose child attends the school, who did not wish to be named, said it costs £20,000 a year to send a pupil there.
She added: “The school is set in a beautiful location, in a wonderful manor house and yet they have kids sleeping on inadequate mattresses and there are safety concerns.
“For some children who attend the school, their parents are living abroad, so the only adults they have to look after them are the ones at the school. They are very vulnerable and need to be properly cared for.”
Shapwick School is registered as specialising in teaching students whose education has been affected by dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. Around half the students have special educational needs.
The school has 155 students, of whom 102 are residential.
A spokesman for Shapwick School said: “The safety and well-being of all pupils at the school is always our top priority and the team at Shapwick School are committed to providing the best possible educational and care environment for our students.
“As part of our policy on protecting the confidentiality of all children at the school, we do not comment on individual safeguarding matters.
“The two matters mentioned in the report were found to require no further action after appropriate investigations had been carried out.
“The issue in these two matters, as is highlighted in the report, was purely procedural and centred around a delay in the school following its own strict procedures around the timely reporting of any issue to the local safeguarding team.
“Systems have been improved and procedures on reporting safeguarding concerns have been reiterated to all staff at the school, who have also undertaken a safeguarding awareness course.”