AN INDEPENDENT school which deals with some of Bradford’s most vulnerable young people has been condemned by inspectors who found instances of pupils arriving under the influence of drugs and rolling cigarettes in lessons.

Ummid Independent School was judged inadequate in every area by Ofsted which say it needs to urgently improve as it does not meet the requirements of the independent school standards.

Its inspectors found that some of the secondary school aged pupils attending are only taught two subjects, English and maths.

The school, which operates from three sites, mainly caters for pupils who have been permanently excluded from school until they are allocated another one.

Following the inspection, the charity which runs the school has closed two of its sites and was last night holding an urgent meeting about its future.

Pupils at the third site, off Duckworth Lane, were said to make “stronger progress” and inspectors praised many aspects of teaching there.

But overall, they have pointed out a catalogue of concerns.

On pupil behaviour, the report states: “Too many pupils do not behave well.

“For example, they choose to start to roll cigarettes in lessons and smoke in derelict cars at lunch and break times.

“Sometimes they arrive at school under the influence of drugs and this further increases their risk-taking behaviour.”

It says the lack of first aid trained staff “poses a risk to pupils’ health and welfare”.

During the visit in May, inspectors saw evidence that head teacher Joanne Watts had raised concerns about reductions in staff with other senior leaders.

The report states: “However, no action was taken and the decline in standards has continued.”

The school, which at the time of the inspection had 31 pupils aged between 11-19, is based on three sites.

The Ummid site, off Great Horton Road, houses the school’s main office and pupils there are from Bradford and have been permanently excluded from mainstream schools.

The Junction site, off Duckworth Lane, is for pupils who have been excluded from mainstream schools and are waiting to start at a new secondary school.

Bradford Council works with the one teacher based at the site. Inspectors said this site provided a much better standard of education than the other two.

The Himmat site is based in the centre of Halifax and is for pupils who have been excluded from mainstream schools in the Calderdale area. Many of the most serious problems were found at this site.

Although pupils are only meant to be at the schools on a short term basis, the report says that some have been there for more than two years.

It adds: “Due to staff shortages, the number of subjects on the curriculum has been reduced.

"At the time of the inspection, some pupils who attend the school’s Himmat provision full time were only taught mathematics and English.

“The curriculum offered does not permit them to study subjects such as history and geography, science and modern foreign languages regularly.”

Richard Smith, chairman of trustees at Ummid, said: “We are very disappointed with the Ofsted judgement but fully accept the findings.

“The board is reviewing the capacity of the senior management structure and information flow to ensure that it is fully briefed about all aspects of delivery.

“On notification of issues, the board immediately closed the Halifax site in consultation with the placing schools and commissioned school improvement partners to drive the remedial actions required within our two sites in Bradford.

“We have temporarily closed the education provision at the Bakes Street site but the Junction remains open. We will be reviewing our future plans around our education offer at a board meeting.

“The board believes we offer a unique opportunity for young people that would otherwise be outside of education settings.

“This report provides the board with a platform to build and strengthen delivery, ensuring that we are able to continue to offer education to young people who are challenged by formal education settings.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We had been aware of the concerns raised in the Ofsted report and have already made arrangements for pupils who had been attending Ummid’s Bakes Street site to be educated in other settings from the start of this academic year.

“The authority will continue to use the Junction site for our short term provision for pupils who have been permanently excluded from schools in the district.

“The Council has a statutory duty to provide an education to pupils from the sixth day of their exclusion while a new permanent school is found for them.”