An independent school deemed unsafe for children has apologised for its “past failings” as details about a teacher dismissed for gross misconduct were revealed.

Two Ofsted inspections of the Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley carried out last year unearthed serious child safety concerns, leading to a ban on accepting new pupils.

In July the Department for Education announced its intention to de-register and ultimately close the facility. The school is currently appealing both decisions and will continue to operate while the appeal process is ongoing.

This week the school said it had a “commitment to transparency”, despite refusing to answer questions from the Observer about a teacher dismissed for gross misconduct.

In a statement, the school said: “The school would like to take this opportunity to clarify the position relating to a former teacher at the school, Mr Denis McCarthy.

“Mr McCarthy was dismissed in January 2017 for gross misconduct, following a series of concerns about safeguarding and Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) provision, reluctance to follow management guidance and a breakdown of trust and confidence”

The statement also said: “While the school feels it provides a positive experience for children, there have been real and serious failings going back several years, in leadership and management, safeguarding and SEND provision, as highlighted in the course of the inspections.

“In particular, the school was found by Ofsted to have failed to always put the interests of the child first – this is unacceptable.

“The school and leadership wishes to fully and publicly apologise to those children, and their families, to whom the school failed to provide the safe and supportive learning environment it should and would wish to provide, and whose complaints the school failed to handle correctly or with the proper care in protecting confidentiality.”

Tim Byford was announced as the new principal of the school yesterday (Thursday).

Mr Byford said he was “under no illusion” that there much work required to be done to restore trust in the school.