A COLLEGE for international students has been criticised by inspectors who said it needed to better protect the pupils who stay there.
Education watchdog Ofsted rated Bellerbys College in West Oxford as ‘inadequate’ for its boarding provision and said it did not meet national standards. The safety of students boarding at the college was rated ‘inadequate’ and so too was the leadership and management of boarding at the college.
Inspectors said not all checks were completed on new staff and the college failed to adhere to latest guidance.
The inspection report added: “This means that procedures are not sufficiently robust to check the suitability of adults who work with students, leaving the welfare of boarders without adequate safeguards in place.”
The report also said the process for recruiting homestay carers lacked rigour.
It said: “Some students are placed where the assessment of homestay carers has not been robust, this means they may be cared for by adults who have not had all the checks to ensure that they are suitable.”
College principal Julia Southby told the Oxford Mail shortcomings have been addressed since the inspection in March.
The college, which is owned by Study Group Ltd, moved to a £10m campus at Trajan House in Mill Street in 2010 after campaigners fought off a bid to house a probation hostel there.
The move from Broad Street allowed the college to offer 500 rooms – up from 370. The new campus also has 32 classrooms, science labs, and an art studio.
The college takes students aged 14 and upwards and at the time of the visit there were 113 students under 18 staying at the college.
Inspectors said outcomes for boarders were good, with students saying their time at the college had helped them get a place at university.
Although the boarding provision was ‘inadequate’ in the latest inspection, in a standard independent school inspection in May 2011 the college was rated ‘good’.
Ms Southby said: “Ofsted’s recent inspection confirmed that staff take student welfare very seriously, pastoral care is good, and students feel safe.
“However, Ofsted also identified shortcomings in managerial and recruitment procedures and policy.”
She added: “All staff at Bellerbys Oxford undergo DBS, formerly known as CRB, checks and any administrative gaps were rectified as soon as Ofsted made us aware of its concerns.
“An independent inspector will visit the school next week to ensure any shortcomings have been addressed.
“In the meantime we will continue to ensure all students in our care remain safe and secure, enjoy continued academic success and progress to their UK university of choice."
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