A owed report to Ofsted revealed a catalog of failures at Birmingham school including bullying, homophobia and pupils feeling ‘insecure’. Ark Kings Academy was once called “the most advanced school” in England.
But it was deemed “inadequate” in four of the five districts at its last inspection. Kings Norton School has now been told it must improve in areas including truancy and protection, which have been described as “ineffective”.
The school, based on Shannon Road, was praised for providing it in its early years. However, the inspectors said high school students “say they do not feel safe. Bullying, degrading language and anti-gay behaviors are common. They have no confidence that staff will support them when they raise concerns.”
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The issue of truancy was also raised as an issue in schools whose pupils range from three to 16 years old. “Secondary leaders do not conduct adequate checks when students are absent from school,” the report said.
“This means that they don’t know if the pupils are safe or not. A lot of the pupils are missing lessons, and the leaders have not taken effective action to address this.”
The inspectors also criticized the SEND clause, in which pupils with special needs were said to be “more likely to receive punishments from their peers”. The report added: “Leaders say they have high expectations from every student.
“However, pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are not receiving the support they need and therefore are not doing well. The number of suspensions for pupils with special educational needs (SEND) is high and increasing.”
According to the report, the safeguarding arrangements are ineffective. She added, “There is no culture of preservation at the secondary level in the school.
“Teachers are not responsible for reporting protection concerns. They are not aware of the extent of problems pupils face inside or outside the school.
“Leaders have not been diligent in identifying risks and so you are not keeping students safe through regular attendance checks or by keeping them safe from bullying or harassment.
“Protection leaders have the knowledge and experience. They support students and families well and work with a range of agencies to ensure students get the help they need. However, their skills are not put to good use to support and train their high school colleagues.”
Inspectors praised the elementary aspect of the school, rating the early years period as ‘good’. They said, “The primary school pupils enjoy going to school, they are self-confident, curious and eager to learn.
“They feel safe and are well looked after. Teachers and leaders expect all students to do well and behave well. Pupils meet these expectations. Pupils and adults adapt well and work together in a culture of respect and kindness.”
In 2015, the school was ranked as one of the most improved in England. Statistics at the time showed that GCSE scores had risen since 2013 by 27%, while the national average had fallen by six percentage points.
But in Ofsted’s most recent report, the academy was deemed “inappropriate” in four categories; Quality of education, behavior, attitudes, personal development, leadership and management.
A spokesperson for the school said: “ While we are very disappointed with the inspection ruling, we fully accept the findings of this report, which are in line with the issues we have already identified and begun to address proactively. This has included the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Secondary Principal and Primary School Principal, who together are already taking action to provide the best possible education that all our children and youth deserve.
“This has also included increasing levels of staff specializing in student care, SEND and personal development, and working alongside experts to deliver a new system of behavior and rewards that develops a greater understanding of issues around diversity and inclusion.
“ We are committed to providing high-quality education in a safe and welcoming environment, and we are confident that with these strong plans already underway, along with the support of the Trust and a new leadership team, the Academy will continue to improve and restore quickly setting its positive course. ”