CACFO Education Centre given ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report

Another week in Croydon, another inadequate report from Ofsted inspectors.

This time it is for the CACFO Education Centre in Thornton Heath, and follows an inspection in June.

The inspectors’ report rates the specialist centre overall as “inadequate”, with “Effectiveness of leadership and management” and “Personal development, behaviour and welfare” as both inadequate, while “Quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and “Outcomes for pupils” were both given “requires improvement”.

At the education centre’s previous Ofsted inspection, four years ago, it was rated as “good”.

The centre is operated by the local charity, Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation, and managed by Croydon Council education department staff. The charity’s trustees are, according to a source, “really hacked off” that the centre and its pupils has been so badly let down by the council. The chair of the charity is Callton Young, the Labour councillor.

Young was not available for comment this week, though he is understood to have been in urgent meetings to appoint a new chair of governors for the centre and introduce an action plan for its urgent improvement.

There are currently six pupils attending the CACFO centre, which opened in 2000 and provides a full-time alternative for children aged 11 to 14 who have been excluded from their school, “thus ensuring that each student’s educational entitlement continues to be delivered while outside of mainstream education”.

“The pupils are among the most challenging in Croydon,” the source said.

The Ofsted inspection report found that the school’s leaders “do not follow the school’s safeguarding policy. They have not referred concerns to the local authority or the disclosure and barring service”, and that “School leaders have not made sure that pupils are safe because they have not completed and recorded all the appropriate suitability checks on staff. Not all staff have completed safeguarding training.”

Read the Ofsted report here.

Such findings are particularly troublesome in the context of the recent Ofsted report on the council’s children’s services department, which discovered similar failings. “At no time have any children at the CACFO centre been at risk,” the source was keen to emphasise.

The Ofsted inspectors did, however, find that pupils at the CACFO centre, on Northwood Road in Thornton Heath, “conduct themselves well. They are generally responsive and polite to adults”, and they said that, “At the end of their time at the school, a high proportion of pupils are reintegrated successfully into secondary school provision”. 

The propaganda department in Fisher’s Folly yesterday issued a press release about an Ofsted inspection report on another school in the borough, Norbury Manor Primary, which was found to be “good” with “outstanding” early years provision. For some reason, the council hasn’t got round to issuing any comment on the Ofsted inspectors’ findings at the CACFO Education Centre.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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