July 4, 2022

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Special school where children were tube-fed in front of others and taken to fast food restaurants slammed by inspectors

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By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A special school has been slammed by an inspector who found staff tube-feeding students in front of other people.

Pupils at The Michael Tippett College, in Weir Road, Balham weren’t always treated with dignity, according to an Ofsted report published on March 29.

Workers took pupils on trips to unhealthy fast food restaurants as part of lessons on ‘life-skills.’

Some teachers at the school, which caters for young adults with severe learning difficulties, weren’t trained for the job.

The school, which teaches 41 students aged 19 to 25, was handed the worst possible rating of ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in January.

The Ofsted report said: “Learners are not always treated with respect for their dignity. For example, when supporting learners with tube feeding and medication, staff do so in the classroom in front of other learners and staff.

“Leaders do not ensure that staff promote healthy living throughout the curriculum. For example, in the life skills curriculum, staff take learners on visits to unhealthy fast-food restaurants.

“Leaders do not ensure that teaching staff have the qualifications, experience or training they need to teach learners with highly complex needs.

“For example, teachers of the health and well-being curriculum have no coaching qualifications or prior experience of teaching groups of young adults with high needs.”

But the report did praise staff at the school for developing good relationships with students.

The report added: “Learners are happy at the college because staff are committed to supporting them.

“For example, job coaches offer positive encouragement to learners in lessons.

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“Staff provide appropriate physical support to learners with mobility issues.”

The Michael Tippett College said: “The school is currently being led by an experienced interim leadership team, who have taken action to

effectively and rapidly tackle the issues raised in the Ofsted report.

“All concerns raised by Ofsted in relation to safeguarding have been addressed.

“Staff have undergone a substantial programme of training and are being supported by experienced staff from other special schools.

“This training has included consistently meeting pupils’ communication needs.

“There is a new curriculum in place that meets individual pupils’ special needs.

“New experienced governors have been appointed to the governing body.

“Due to the outcome of the inspection, the school is now legally eligible for intervention by the Department for Education (DfE) and it has been issued with an Academy Order.

“The Local Authority and Department for Education and Regional Schools Commissioner are working closely together to ensure that excellent, permanent leadership arrangements can made as quickly as possible so that the children at The Michael Tippett School receive an outstanding education now, and in the future.”

Pictured top: The Michael Tippett College, in Weir Road, Balham

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