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Kent College Senior Welfare inspection report for a boarding school

DfE registration number Unique reference number for social care Unique reference number for education Inspection dates Inspector

886/6053 SC023677 119001 20/09/2011 to 22/09/2011 Lucy Martin

School address

Kent College, Whitstable Road, Blean, CANTERBURY, Kent, CT2 9DT

Telephone number Email Headteacher

01227 763231 enquiries@kentcollege.co.uk Dr David J Lamper


The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection. If you would like a copy of this document in a different format, such as large print or Braille, please telephone 0300 123 1231, or email enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk. You may reuse this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/, write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk. To receive regular email alerts about new publications, including survey reports and school inspection reports, please visit our website and go to ‘Subscribe’. Piccadilly Gate Store Street Manchester M1 2WD T: 0300 123 1231 Textphone: 0161 618 8524 E: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk W: www.ofsted.gov.uk © Crown copyright 2011


Purpose and scope of the inspection This inspection was carried out under the Children Act 1989, as amended by the Care Standards Act 2000, having regard to the national minimum standards for boarding schools, in order to assure children and young people, parents, the public, local authorities and government of the quality and standard of the service provided.1,2

Information about the school Kent College is an independent boarding school on the outskirts of Canterbury. It comprises an infant, junior and senior school which offer continuous education for boys and girls up to 18 years old. Though Christian in its approach, the school welcomes pupils from all religious and cultural denominations and this is reflected within the boarding community. Currently, 177 boarders are accommodated, many of whom are from overseas. The senior school offers both day and boarding provision. It provides boarding accommodation in four houses for boys and girls. A house parent, house manager and resident tutors care for the boarders in each house. The boarding provision was last inspected on 23 September 2010.

1 2

www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/contents. www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/a00192112/boarding-schools.

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Inspection judgements Overall effectiveness

outstanding

Outcomes for boarders

outstanding

Quality of boarding provision and care

outstanding

Boarders’ safety

outstanding

Leadership and management of boarding

outstanding

Overall effectiveness The key findings of the boarding inspection are as follows. •

The overall effectiveness of Kent College is outstanding. There are substantial strengths in the quality of provision and care for boarders. Boarding is at the heart of the school and enables boarders to grow into confident and independent adults.

Boarding is well led and managed and is organised to meet boarders' needs. Boarders receive high levels of support and guidance from an enthusiastic and dedicated staff team at the school.

There are excellent relationships between the young people themselves and with the staff who look after them. There is a strong commitment to promoting equality and diversity and the boarders gain greatly from the multicultural environment.

Boarders enjoy boarding and feel extremely safe due to the robust and effective safeguarding procedures in operation.

The outstanding quality of the boarding accommodation contributes greatly to boarders' comfort, study and recreation.

The school ensures that boarders' health needs are met exceptionally well and the food is plentiful and varied.

The school offers an extensive range of activities both after school and at weekends which boarders enjoy.

There are plentiful opportunities for boarders to contribute their views and they feel that the school listens to them and makes changes as a result.

There is a continual focus on the improvement and development of boarding

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practice. Progress has been substantial since the last inspection. •

The school meets all the national minimum standards.

Outcomes for boarders Outcomes for boarders are outstanding. Boarders enjoy the experience of boarding which enables them to develop independence and self-reliance. There are excellent relationships within the boarding houses, despite the boarders coming from a range of diverse cultures and nationalities. Boarders are tolerant of each other and 'feel part of a community'. Boarders behave very well and incidents of bullying are rare. If they do take place, they are quickly and effectively dealt with. Boarders are encouraged to embrace new and challenging opportunities for example, a group of new sixth formers gave a talk to the younger years about their 'tree jumping' experience, which was a day getting to know each other through shared experiences climbing trees and activities on zip wires. Boarders thoroughly enjoy the wide range of activities on offer after school and at weekends. They are able to try new activities, such as touch typing as well as engaging in all types of sports and musical activities. They have well-rounded interests and feel able to achieve their full potential. Boarders feel safe and are appreciative of the guidance and support provided by a wide range of dedicated school staff including an independent listener (counsellor). Prefects within the houses provide support to younger boarders and make a significant contribution to the operation of boarding. Boarders feel safe and that their views are listened to. The boarders' forum looks specifically at boarders' issues as well as meetings to discuss activities and daily meetings in the boarding houses. Boarders benefit from high quality medical facilities and report that the healthcare arrangements are highly effective in promoting and maintaining their physical, emotional and psychological health.

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Quality of boarding provision and care

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The quality of the boarding provision is outstanding. Boarders receive excellent levels of guidance and support from all staff at the school. Within the boarding houses, there are house managers, house parents and residential tutors who know the boarders well and who are committed to providing ongoing support. There are clear and effective systems for sharing information within the boarding houses and in the school. Boarding and academic staff work very effectively together, for example, all staff attend and contribute to the weekly pupil briefing every Wednesday. There is an independent listener (counsellor) available to all students on a drop in or appointment basis. Boarders are aware that this service is available and the counsellor visits the boarding houses to introduce herself. There is a comprehensive and well-thought out induction process which is tailored to the needs of new boarders. Mentors and 'buddies' are provided for new boarders, many of whom are from overseas. There are creative opportunities, such as fun quizzes, to encourage them to develop their understanding of the school. The school provides outstanding arrangements for promoting and caring for boarders' health and well-being. The medical centre provides a 24 hour facility and is staffed by a team of qualified and experienced nurses. The boarders benefit from being registered with a local health centre and can either access a male or female doctor through surgeries at the school. Similarly, they can readily access a local dentist, orthodontist or optician. Support plans are written for pupils with health issues which are shared with house staff as appropriate. All medication is stored and administered at the medical centre. Some boarders self-administer their own medication and comprehensive risk assessments are in place. These confirm that they fully understand the correct procedures to follow including safe storage. Medication is securely stored and there are safe procedures for its administration at the medical centre. Meticulous records are maintained and there are sound monitoring systems in place. Guidance is provided to boarders on topics, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol abuse and sexual health. This enables boarders to make informed lifestyle choices and identify sources of support. Boarders are provided with a nutritious, balanced and varied diet. There is a good choice of food provided at all meals, including a salad bar at lunch and dinner. The school caters appropriately for pupils' religious and cultural needs, vegetarians and special diets. Food is in plentiful supply and of good quality and boarders have ready access to drinks, fruit and other snacks. Water coolers in the boarding houses enable boarders to have a constant supply of drinking water. The catering staff are well trained and a recent environmental health report awarded the top score of five stars to the school's catering provision. There are opportunities for boarders to put their views forward about the food and changes are made as a result. Boarders take part in an exceptionally wide range of activities after school and at weekends. There are currently 68 activities on offer which boarders enjoy and are appropriate to their ages, interests and needs. The school has its own farm which is popular with boarders and a programme of outings take place at weekends. All activities are comprehensively risk assessed to ensure that safety issues are fully

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considered. The boarding accommodation and facilities are all of a high standard. There is a rolling programme of refurbishment and all areas are clean, well decorated and maintained. There are areas where boarders can relax which are warm and comfortable. The visitors' common room in one of the houses is exceptionally well thought out in terms of its furnishings, photographs and the fact that it has a separate entrance. Also, the provision of a number of individual en suite rooms in another house which boarders can access electronically. The security of the boarding accommodation is excellent with keypad entrances to houses as well as locks to individual bedrooms. All boarders are able to securely lock away their belongings if they wish. Boarders can easily contact family and friends. They have their own mobile telephones and can also access landline telephones in the boarding houses. The school provides a laptop computer to all pupils and boarders can also contact family using email and computer software programs. Staff contact parents on a regular basis both by telephone and e-mail.

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Boarders’ safety

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The school makes outstanding provision to safeguard boarders' welfare. There are robust and thorough procedures in place for staff recruitment which ensure that pupils are well protected. A number of school staff have attended training in safer recruitment and there is a clear understanding of all the necessary checks which need completing before a new member of staff starts work at the school. Staff files are well maintained and evidence that all the required checks have been completed. A comprehensive check sheet is maintained on each file and no member of staff starts work in a boarding house without a Criminal Records Bureau check (CRB) being returned. Staff who change roles to include boarding responsibilities, have new CRB checks undertaken and staff are vigilant about ensuring that written references are always returned before employment which are verbally verified. Copies of qualifications are routinely obtained and files contain records of interview notes. Protecting children has high priority within the school and the child protection officer undergoes annual training in aspects of safeguarding to ensure that practice in this area is up to date. This has included e-safety where the school demonstrates high levels of awareness. There is a sophisticated and effective web filtering and reporting system and all pupils are provided with their own laptop computer. Training is provided to pupils as well as parents in aspects of e-safety. All staff receive annual training in child protection and new staff receive a comprehensive induction in this area. Staff are knowledgeable about procedures and take these issues seriously. Links with the local authority are positive and appropriate discussions take place. As a result of these measures, boarders are well protected and say they feel extremely safe at the school. Boarders understand the behaviour expected of them and generally behave well. They describe the rules as those necessary for 'good community living' and feel that the staff are fair. They say that few punishments in the boarding houses are given and that poor behaviour is discussed with them. Punishments that can be imposed are well known as is the rewards system. Boarding sanctions and concerns are recorded in a central electronic file which is shared with year heads, and other key pastoral staff. The file is monitored by the head of boarding. All forms of bullying are taken seriously and prompt action is taken to tackle it when it occurs. Boarders report that bullying is not a concern at the school. Extensive measures are in place to ensure that the school and the boarding houses provide a safe environment. There are robust procedures and practices regarding health and safety and as a result boarders are well protected. An external consultant is used and there is regular review of policy and procedures. Contractors are given briefings when they come on site and gas and electrical safety checks are regularly and routinely carried out. Effective fire safety measures are in place. Regular drills take place and there is routine checking and maintenance of the equipment. Staff and boarders are aware of the actions to take in the event of a fire and there is a debrief session following each fire drill. New staff are taken through the fire procedures and a number have been trained as fire wardens in the last year.

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There are effective security measures in place on the school site including closed circuit television cameras. There are excellent policies and procedures in place regarding public access as some parts of the school are used by the general public. There is a written contract with the leader of each individual club including a code of conduct which members have to sign. This outlines the times and areas that they are allowed to access. A rota detailing public access is provided to staff. All visitors are required to sign in at reception and wear a visitor's badge and anyone not immediately recognised is challenged.

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Leadership and management of boarding

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The leadership and management of boarding is outstanding. There are clear aims for boarding which are reflected in daily practice. Boarding is effectively managed as an integral part of the school. There is consistent practice across the houses but each house retains its own identity and character. Much work has been undertaken to ensure that the school is an inclusive one. The staff teams work well together as do both day pupils and boarders. There are regular meetings between house parents and senior school staff to discuss boarding practice and its continual development. This term has seen some changes to boarders' routines with more time for structured activities and a later dinner time. These changes have been carefully thought through and demonstrate the strive for continual improvement and development. The school embraces the variety of cultures, nationalities and religions that exist within the school community. The school flies a flag from a different country each day on its central flagpole and boarders are encouraged to develop friendships across different faiths and cultures. Diverse needs are catered for sensitively and this results in fair and equal treatment for all boarders and an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. The boarding houses are well organised and there are sufficient staff on duty at all times to supervise boarders. The role of the house manager works well and provides a member of staff on duty during the day in each of the boarding houses. House parents and/or house tutors provide staffing cover during the evening, at night and at weekends. There has been an increase in staffing levels in the houses this term and some additional occasional tutors who can provide cover in any of the boarding houses when required. Boarders feel that there are enough staff on duty at all times and they know where to find someone if needed. There are sound systems in place to ensure that staff know the whereabouts of boarders at all times. There is a comprehensive induction for all new staff to the school which includes group training sessions covering topics such as child protection. Staff say that they feel well supported by senior managers and an annual performance management review takes place which includes boarding. There are opportunities to attend training and courses on topics, such as meeting the needs of overseas boarders and drug awareness have been attended in the last year. Professional training courses run by the Boarding Schools Association are also provided. First aid and fire safety training is undertaken by boarding staff. House managers have attended some training but they do not have the same system of appraisals to monitor their professional development. This is an area for continued development. Boarders are able to contribute their views and feel that changes are made as a result. Boarders have their own forum which meets regularly and there is a meeting every Monday to discuss activities. Boarders are represented on the prefect body as well as the student council. Boarders know how to make a complaint and say that they feel listened to. The procedure for pupils is displayed on house notice boards and is in the pupils' academic diary.

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National minimum standards The school meets the national minimum standards for boarding schools.

What should the school do to improve further? •

continue to develop the role of house managers in relation to training and appraisals.

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This letter is provided for the school, parents and carers to share with their children. It describes Ofsted’s main findings from the inspection of their school.

20/09/2011 Dear boarders Inspection of Kent College Senior As you will know, Ofsted has inspected the boarding provision in your school. The inspectors visited the boarding houses and spoke to many of you and the staff who look after you during boarding time. Thank you for making us feel so welcome and for taking the time to tell us about your experience as a boarder at the school. You also filled in our survey, as did your parents or carers, and this was very helpful to us. We think that the boarding provision at Kent College is outstanding. The help and support you receive from the boarding staff is excellent and helps you prepare for your future life. You all get on well together and learn a lot about each other's backgrounds and cultures. Some of you feel that the food could be better but the inspectors found it was varied and of good quality. We discussed your views with the school who will ensure that there continue to be regular opportunities for you to suggest changes to the food menus. We think that the boarding accommodation is excellent and we liked the way that you have made it homely. It was good to hear about the wide range of activities you do after school and at weekends which you enjoy and which keep you busy. Inspectors joined some of you at Chapel and were impressed to hear about the 'tree jumpers' and the confidence with which older pupils completed the course and talked about their experiences. We enjoyed meeting you and visiting your school. We wish you all the best for the future. Yours sincerely, Lucy Martin


Kent College Ofstead Report 2011  

Kent College Ofstead Report 2011

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