Your article about Wynstones School following an Ofsted inspection (School Shuts after Ofsted raises Safeguarding Fears, 29 Jan 2020) raises significant questions.

First, reporting inaccuracies: you quote results from an “inspection on Nov 27-29” as if recent.

In fact, it was 2018. You didn’t mention the October 2019 inspection which found safeguarding at the school “effective”.

The public is often not aware that Ofsted’s safeguarding judgements are largely based on procedural matters and paperwork.

The inspection January 21-22 with resultant closure no exception.

Ofsted does not understand the ethos of a culture of trust, which the Steiner schools work towards, asking pupils repeatedly, “Do you feel safe?” – with an intensity that makes you wonder: do they want the pupils to feel unsafe, until given Ofsted’s blessing?

And there is no independent complaints procedure: they are the interpreters of safeguarding rules, the adjudicators, arbitrators - and appellate judges as well.

Their interpretation from 1-2 days visit is ‘truth’, no questions permitted, even if the school has full-time trained safeguarding personnel.

For Ofsted, everyone is a risk until proven innocent.

Up and down the land you hear similar reports.

It’s not just ‘stranger danger’; even two pupils are not allowed to go to the toilets at the same time for ‘safeguarding’ reasons… Visitors from abroad, even from Wales, shake heads in disbelief at the Ofsted system.

This raises another question: Can any environment be 100 per cent safe?

Is this even healthy?

Psychologists will tell you that raising children in an atmosphere of fear, with no risks, will contribute to insecurities, anxieties, lack of self-esteem.

Rather, children need to grow up in homes and schools which nurture care, love and trust.

Ofsted uses an age-old worn out authoritarian carrot and stick model.

We need courage to stand up and change the course of the train before it runs education over the cliff’s edge.

Richard Brinton, former Steiner School parent