Felixstowe boarding school charging £24,000 per year given five notices in three years over standards

Felixstowe International College Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Felixstowe International College Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL - Credit: Archant

A £24,000 per year independent school in Suffolk has been warned that it could be closed unless improvements are made, after being handed five notices over standards in the last three years.

Data released by the Department for Education under Freedom of Information laws revealed that Felixstowe International College was first issued a notice in April 2015 for falling to meet independent school standards.

Since then, a further four notices have been issued, the most recent of which was in November last year which stated that the latest action plan was not considered satisfactory and that the case was ongoing.

However, during the most recent inspection, Ofsted improved the rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’.

Bosses at the Department for Education (DfE) have warned that if schools do not improve they face being closed.

A spokeswoman from the DfE said: “All independent schools must meet the independent school standards and those that fail to do so must improve or face closure.

“It is right that schools have an opportunity to demonstrate improvement after being issued with a statutory notice. If we do not see satisfactory improvements we will take action and this can include removal from the register of independent schools.”

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Another independent school – Horatio House in Lowestoft – was issued a notice in March this year.

Andrew Forrest, executive director at Horatio House, said the inspection came reasonably quickly after the school’s formation which left it without enough time to meet the criteria, but said the school had been making “steady progress forward”.

Independent schools are regulated differently to state schools, with the DfE registering independent schools, setting minimum standards and commissioning inspections against those standards.

Schools which fail to meet standards after being given the opportunity to improve can be taken off the register, which would force a school to close as it is a criminal offence to operate an unregistered independent school.

A request by Felixstowe International College to admit more pupils has been frozen as part of enforcement measures.

Felixstowe International College has been contacted for comment.

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