Ampleforth College has said it will appeal an enforcement notice banning it from taking on new students after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was acting over ‘very serious’ safeguarding failures.
However, the £36,000-a-year Catholic boarding school in North Yorkshire said the ban ‘is completely unjustified and based on incorrect information’.
The Education Secretary implemented the ban after reading reports by Ofsted and Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
According to the reports, the school was failing to meet independent school standards relating to safeguarding and leadership and management.
The enforcement notice acknowledges that the school has filed a complaint against Ofsted’s recent findings but having taken this into account, the Secretary of State is satisfied that the standards are not being met. The St Laurence Education Trust, the proprietor of Ampleforth College, is required to cease to admit any new students.
The restriction is from 29th December 2020 and Ampleforth has the right to apply for the restriction to be revoked if the Secretary of State is satisfied that it would be appropriate to do so.
During the appeal process, the relevant restriction will not take effect until such time as the appeal is determined, withdrawn, or otherwise disposed of, meaning Ampleforth can still currently accept students to the school.
Ampleforth College said: ‘We strongly believe, and have been advised, that this is completely unjustified and based on incorrect information.
‘We will be pursuing a number of different options to resolve the situation before the restriction is enforced.’
The college said ‘in the last 18 months we have put in place a robust safeguarding regime, a new and experienced senior leadership team, and a new governance structure – including new trustees – that has effectively separated the abbey from the college.
‘During this time, the Independent Schools Inspectorate has endorsed our actions.’
Ampleforth said the Department for Education’s (DfE) action does not reflect the school it is today.
‘We cannot understand why this decision has been taken, and we cannot understand why it has been published.’
Picture: Ampleforth College.