OFSTED inspectors have visited a Herefordshire school to investigate after a tip-off over child safety concerns.

Ofsted said it met with the executive headteacher David Bennett, head of school Lee Butler, chair of governors James Wright and 16 other teachers as it probed the concerns at Kingstone High School, near Hereford.

Ofsted inspector Martin Pye said it a letter to Mr Bennett after the visit that safeguarding was effective, but he was concerned about older pupils vaping at school and it goes unnoticed.


The letter, published on Ofsted's website on September 21 but dated July 5, said school documents were scrutinised, but safeguarding arrangements were fit for purpose. The visit was not a full inspection, and the school is still rated as good.

Mr Pye said that while the school was calm and orderly "most of the time", "there is room for improvement" regarding pupils' behaviour.

Some children at the school, with 603 pupils on roll, now up to around 640, brought vaping equipment to school and tried to use it while there.

He said that staff do challenge it when they spot it, but pupils say that some go unnoticed.

E-cigarettes, and in particular disposable devices, are becoming increasingly popular amongst children, research has found. 

A recent survey carried out by the charity ASH found that vaping among children between 11 and 17 years old was up from four per cent in 2020, around the time of the first lockdown, to seven per cent in 2022.

This survey also found that disposables are now the most used product among current young vapers, up from seven per cent in 2020 to 52 per cent in 2022, with Geek Bar and Elf Bar overwhelmingly the most popular brands.


There is also a proportion of pupils that use offensive language, Mr Pye said, and there were mixed messages from staff about how serious this is.

He said there are "clear, efficient and effective systems for reporting and recording any safeguarding concerns and incidents", adding that staff know what to look out for and how to respond.

Ofsted, visiting after being tipped off about safeguarding concerns, said pupils at the school said they feel safe, and know where to turn if they have problems.

Mr Pye also said that the school's trustees should take advice from Herefordshire Council if they are involved in any safeguarding concerns as they have, in the past, misinterpreted policies.

The school has been approached for comment.