A private school is still not likely to meet standards before opening, an education watchdog has said for the third time.

Langley Hill Independent School, which had been expected to open in September last year, was supposed to replace the former Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley.

Inspectors found at the most recent inspection, which was carried out last month, that the school’s current plans for teaching early years topics such as phonics and reading were not sufficient to meet statutory requirements.

Steiner closed last year after Ofsted inspections in December 2016 and November 2018 led to 'Inadequate' ratings. Inspectors said the closure was due to leader and student safeguarding issues.

In May last year an Ofsted report suggested the school would not meet standards when it opens and a second report, published in October last year, took the same stance.

It was also found at a previous inspection that the board of trustees attached to Rudolf Steiner is still the landlord of the site.

Inspectors referred to this lease agreement and said it "remains unacceptable" as it does not allow school leaders to fully control their own safeguarding arrangements.

They said that school leaders have a risk assessment that insists the landlords must gain permission from the leaders to physically enter the site. But inspectors said the lease agreement provides no assurance that this is the case.

Inspectors said: "It specifically states, in sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the agreement, that the landlord has 'unfettered right to the property on foot and in cars'."

The school attempted to reassure inspectors the freehold of the premises is currently being transferred to Langley Hill Independent School but said the new lease was neither dated or signed by the landlord.

Early years and older pupils

The school has applied to teach pupils from age three to 14 and stated to inspectors that it does not intend to teach secondary-age pupils in the first year of opening.

Inspectors said despite improvements since the last inspection there remain too many weaknesses in the curriculum plans as well as provision for children in early years and for older pupils across the lower school.

For early years, inspectors said the current plans for teaching topics such as phonics, early reading and writing were not sufficient to meet statutory requirements.

The quality of the curriculum and plans had also not improved enough since last year. School leaders also didn't demonstrate how they will meet the requirements for supporting literacy and technology for three and four-year-olds well enough.


Since the second inspection, a new principal has been appointed. Inspectors said the new head has experience of successful leadership.

But there still remains weaknesses in the leadership and management.

They wrote: "The proprietorial body does not present convincing evidence that it has taken sufficient consideration of the past extensive failings of the previous school on the site.

"It has not ensured that the lease has been altered and is uncertain about the potential risk to pupils."

Inspectors did acknowledge in their report some strengths and said the anti-bullying police, health and safety, first-aid training and the complaints policy were likely to meet standards.

Langley Hill was approached but said at this stage it has no comment.