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Independent school charging £23,000 'not up to standard' says Ofsted

A small school which charges nearly £23,000 a year for children to attend has been told by inspectors it does not meet the standards required of independent schools. The Lilford Centre in the Tyldesley area of Wigan is run by Progress Schools Ltd, and has 11 pupils aged from nine to 16.

The day school caters for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Most pupils have social, emotional or mental health difficulties. Many pupils have an education, health and care plan (EHCP). All pupils have experienced periods of disrupted learning prior to attending the school.

It was inspected in December following its standard inspection by Ofsted in July 2022 when the independent school standards weren't met. The latest report said: “[In 2022] inspectors found that the school had failed to draw up and implement a curriculum policy and schemes of work that provided pupils with a sufficiently broad and balanced curriculum.”

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Following that inspection, the school submitted an action plan in December 2022 but it was rejected by the Department of Education because it did not provide ‘sufficient assurance that the proprietor body would resolve the issues identified’.

The report went on: “When the school received a progress monitoring inspection in April 2023, inspectors found that the proprietors had not acted quickly enough to address the weaknesses identified in the curriculum that were identified in the standard inspection.

“Although the pupils now studied a border range of subject, the curriculum in these subjects was found to be underdeveloped and ineffective. Furthermore, pupils still lacked the support that they need to improve their reading