VERY few pupils attending a private school which charges annual fees of more than £12,500 left last year with any meaningful qualifications - a regulator has found.

An Ofsted report published this week rated Consett’s Delta Independent School as ‘inadequate’ following a two-and-a-half day inspection.

The inspector found in 2018 almost all pupils performed poorly in their GCSEs and students, who enter the school having been unsuccessful in mainstream education, continue to “underachieve considerably”.

Responding to the report, vice-principal Helen Daglish, on behalf of the school, said it was only a “snapshot” and as a school specialising in behaviour, it is judged on the same criteria as a leading private independent school. She cited GCSE reform as having affected results where in the past pupils achieved.

The inspector found the curriculum does not meet pupils’ needs or aptitudes and the quality of teaching is “too variable” to support pupils’ learning and progress.

It was highlighted that gaps in pupils’ basic reading, writing and communication skills were not being addressed, workbooks were found to be torn and covered in graffiti and pupils’ engagement was reflected in poor attendance - well below the national average.

Three areas including leadership, teaching and outcomes for pupils were rated inadequate while personal development, behaviour and welfare was rated requires improvement.

Too few pupils were also found go on to secure or sustain a place in education, employment or training when they leave the school.

Among the strengths identified were staff and leaders work hard to re-engage pupils who have lost their way in mainstream education and pupils feel the school gives them a second chance.

Many pupils were found to improve their behaviour and willingness to learn.

Ms Dalish added: “The majority of students come to us disengaged from education, our focus is on giving these students a second chance at education by providing them a holistic approach and developing them as responsible citizens, preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The inspection focused on curriculum and we were downgraded due to our expectations being too high for students, we are therefore in the process of changing our curriculum demands.” She added the school was “totally committed” to pupils.

Housed in the former Consett YMCA building, the school in November had 49 pupils between the ages of 13 and 16. It opened in October, 2015, and was last rated as ‘requires improvement’ in 2016.