£48k-a-year Menorah school downgraded to ‘Inadequate’
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£48k-a-year Menorah school downgraded to ‘Inadequate’

Inspectors labelled the Edgware-based grammar school 'unhygienic and unsafe' and said pupils were 'at risk of harm' in a damning report by the education body

Menorah Grammar School (Google Maps)
Menorah Grammar School (Google Maps)

Menorah Grammar School in Edgware suffered a humiliating downgrade this week, lurching from ‘Good’ to ‘Inadequate’ both overall and in all five categories, as inspectors labelled it “unhygienic and unsafe”.

In the damning indictment from the national inspectorate, pupils were described as “at risk of harm” and teachers were described as “struggling to manage pupils’ behaviour” which was labelled “concerning”.

The publication of the report follows a three-day visit in early March, two weeks before the coronavirus lockdown came into effect.

Fees at the independent day school for Orthodox Jewish boys and young adults aged between 11 and 21 go from £6,000 per year up to £48,000 annually, with 320 students currently registered.

However the four-person inspection team painted a picture of mismanagement, chaos and filth, saying pupils’ behaviour was “concerning, especially around the building,” with pupils taking “no responsibility” for their conduct.

Some students were given “no information” about careers or life outside their community, Ofsted said. “Pupils do not know much more than basic facts about cultures, religions and faiths other than their own. This fails to prepare them well enough for their lives in modern Britain.”

Fees at the independent day school for Orthodox Jewish boys and young adults aged between 11 and 21 go from £6,000 per year up to £48,000 annually, with 320 students currently registered.

However, despite the eye-watering fees levied, inspectors said: “There is a lack of resources in the school. This negatively affects the quality of education in all subjects, but especially in practical subjects such as science and computing.”

Moreover inspectors said the premises were “unhygienic, unsafe and unfit for productive teaching… Pupils and staff are at risk of harm.”

In a further example of the kind of uncompromising language rarely used heard in a national inspection report, the team said they had “major concerns” about Menorah’s lack of safeguarding, with “several mistakes” made in staff vetting and some staff currently working in the school “without the required checks”.

When it was last inspected in November 2017 the Barnet institution was graded ‘Good’ but the senior inspection team that visited in March were unimpressed, not least because the school’s website “was removed during the inspection”.

Teaching was labelled “often uninspiring and ineffective” with some subjects having “no written scheme of works in place”. The design of the curriculum was seen as “poor” as it “does not meet pupils’ needs” and “expects too much of them too soon”.

Listing a series of administrative failings, Ofsted said Menorah’s safeguarding was “not effective,” its policies were “out-of-date,” its accessibility plan was “inadequately sparse,” and its admission register was “incomplete”.

More worrying, it said that teachers often “fail to meet the needs of special educational needs students… Their learning suffers as a result”.

The litany continued, with governance described as “weak”. There is “no active proprietor,” said Ofsted, and “governors do not know or check the independent school standards”.

A statement from the school on Thursday read: “Since the Ofsted inspection in March, we have driven through a rapid School improvement project including infrastructure, education and staffing. It is not a report we are proud of and in the past few months, we have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds of resources into Menorah Grammar School focussing on all areas including the issues Ofsted raised.

“As well as this, we have restructured our Senior Leadership, including the appointment of a new headteacher, who has redesigned our entire educational provision in collaboration with a UK turnaround expert, focusing on all Independent School Standards to ensure we comply fully. We believe that we have the Leadership and infrastructure to turn MGS around and return it to the Ofsted rated ‘Good’ school it was a year ago.”

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