Staff absences forced a special school to partially close on many occasions, Ofsted inspectors found.

They said high staff turnover at Homewood College in Brighton had “unsettled the school community” and pupils' attendance was "stubbornly poor".

The school was found to have closed to specific groups of pupils for more than two thirds of days between last October half term and the monitoring visit in December.

In a report on the inspection, which once again gave the school an inadequate rating, an Ofsted spokesman said: “Already this academic year, there has been extensive turnover of staff.

“This has unsettled the school community, despite the efforts made to establish strong, trusting relationships with pupils.

“Additionally, high proportions of staff absence since half term have led to partial school closures for reasons of health and safety.”

The inspectors found the school had partially closed on 15 of a possible 22 days between October half term and early December due to staffing issues.

Their report said pupil’s attendance “remains stubbornly poor”, adding: “It is also very difficult to explain to a pupil that school is important and that you have to attend when it has been closed to you due to staff absence.


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“To compound matters, work has not routinely been provided for pupils during these closures. Staff who have sent work home have done so with no expectation that it will be done or that they need to follow it up.”

Homewood College in Queensdown School Road, near Lewes Road, was rated inadequate and placed in special measures in December 2021.

Ofsted inspectors highlighted that staff “care deeply about the pupils and know that they can make a positive difference to their lives” but had found recent months challenging due to staff absences and turnover.

Phillip Edkins, headteacher at Homewood College, said: “We are clear about the issues we need to resolve and are already implementing a robust plan which will achieve rapid improvement.

“The inspector was thorough and fair with her judgements. Importantly, she recognised that the improvement plans for the school, written in conjunction with the local authority and The Beckmead Trust, which is now providing the school with excellent support, were positive and well considered.

“The Ofsted report also states that these plans are already having a positive impact and we are confident the support of Beckmead and the LA, and the hard work of our team, will ensure sustained and ongoing improvement of our school.”