Ampleforth College Ofsted: 'Fundamental dispute' over damning Ofsted report at £37,000-a-year school

An MP has voiced his support for Ampleforth College, after the school was rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors.

Kevin Hollinrake, who represents Thirsk and Malton, said that he has been working “closely” with the £37,000-per-year college, following a report which raised serious concerns about safeguarding.

Mr Hollinrake believes “there is a fundamental dispute of the facts” behind the assessment which he wants to be “resolved”.

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In a post on his website yesterday, the Conservative MP said: “In recent weeks I have been working closely with Ampleforth College relating to Ofsted’s assessment of the school after its inspection.

Ampleforth College has had a damning Ofsted report.

“I want to make clear that I am supportive of the school in this situation, and I feel that there is a fundamental dispute of the facts behind the assessment, that needs to be resolved.

“I am continuing to work with the school, Ofsted and the relevant ministers to do whatever I can to resolve this issue.”

While the school’s quality of education was rated as “good” by Ofsted, the report said arrangements to safeguard pupils, including the most vulnerable, “remain ineffective” despite some improvements since a previous inspection in March last year.

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The report into the Roman Catholic boarding school in Ryedale said: “Pupils are at risk of harm. Inspectors became aware of serious safeguarding incidents before, during and after the inspection.”

However they detailed a number of concerning incidents including the lack of headteacher's veto over 'monks of concern' living in neighbouring Ampleforth Abbey, sexual activity between unsupervised vulnerable pupils, Class A drug use, and even a 2.30am 'breakout' by a group of sixth formers who held a party in the nearby countryside which ended up with one being found unconscious in an orchard and another hospitalised.

In November 2020 the school, which was founded by an order of Benedictine monks, was banned from admitting new pupils by the government, though this was later lifted. The management agreed to implement changes such as appointing new trustees with no prior connection to the school, which has now been done.

An inquiry into child sexual abuse at the school that concluded in 2018 found there was a widespread culture of tolerance of the behaviour and that the monks of Ampleforth Abbey were “evasive” with police and social services when suspicions were raised about members of the order.