ELLESMERE College has played down the findings of a recent inspection report that says it failed to meet standards around safeguarding and other issues.

The college was inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) in October 2022 for a Regulatory Compliance Inspection, with the report released last week.

In it, ISI said that the ‘school does not meet all of the requirements’ when it comes education standards around safeguarding reporting and record keeping, including around sexualised behaviour and pupil misuse of technology.

The report also called on the school’s leadership and governors over risk assessments around inappropriate sexual behaviour by pupils.

But the school has posted a response to its website to say that the inspection was ‘compliance only’, meaning there was not an evaluative aspect to the visit.

And it added that it is in dialogue with ISI over steps forward.

A spokesman said: “The college had a full inspection visit in February 2022 and was found to have met all the standards required by the visiting inspection team.

"The additional one-day visit, that took place in October 2022 and with the findings of the report only now being published in May 2023, confirms nothing in the report is of serious concern.

"Throughout the process, the college has sought guidance and advice from other professional bodies who have agreed with and standby the actions and procedures taken by the college in the specific incidents highlighted by the visiting inspection team.

"But despite this level of support and confirmation of our processes and actions, the ISI Inspectors did not agree with our interpretation of the guidance.


"We recommend people read the published commentary we have made available, to go alongside the inspection report, to better understand the context of what the Inspectors refer to as “inappropriate sexual behaviour”, where this term relates specifically to “kissing”.

"Several other criteria that were identified by the inspectors as not meeting the standards were aspects linked to administrative errors, and therefore have no direct impact on the pupil’s safety and their welfare.

"The college takes safeguarding very seriously and the inspection, which was seven months ago, was conducted at a time when we were introducing a new electronic system of safeguarding recording at the college.

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"We were pleased to see that the report recognises that Ellesmere meets many aspects of the standards inspected but in not meeting any aspect of a standard, continued work is required from the college to be fully compliant.

"The college has been in discussion with the ISI for the last seven months, since the inspection visit in October 2022, and this dialogue and discussion has allowed for immediate action to remedy the deficiencies detailed in the report."

The school also pointed to a number of points of praise by the ISI, including pupil safety, mutual respect for one another, and that staff safeguarding training was ‘comprehensive’.

ISI said standards were not met in other areas, such as risk assessment, and provision of information – the school did not publish a recent report on its website – plus handling of complaints, quality of leadership and management.