School in Shropshire rocked by Ofsted pupil-on-pupil sexual harassment findings vows to put things right

A school has expressed its disappointment after Ofsted inspectors rated it inadequate - including allegedly not taking sexual harassment between pupils seriously enough.

Idsall School. Photo: Google.
Idsall School. Photo: Google.

The inspectors at Idsall School, in Shifnal, said 'pupils are not kept safe from sexual harassment' and said the school leadership was not on top of it.

The school has robustly disagreed with the Ofsted findings but has held a meeting with parents and families on Wednesday to explain its situation and made a vow to improve.

Headteacher Michelle King said: “I met with our parents and families on Wednesday evening to share the disappointing results and will continue to work closely with them and our students over the coming weeks and months.

"Not only have we had the best results but academically, we have significantly improved in Maths and English showing that we are, as a team, moving this school forwards."

Ms King said she recognised there are failures identified in the report around the school's curriculum offer, safeguarding and its offer for students with special education needs.

"I will work closely with my team, the whole school community and educational specialists to put these right and learn from them," she said.

"I know many will be disappointed but be assured, I am committed to finding the perfect balance between a pursuit of academic excellence alongside personalised pastoral care.”

Idsall School was inspected in September when it lost its previous Good rating.

The school adds that its students achieved the best examination results the school has ever seen this year, reflecting the work that their expert subject teachers have undertaken with students and their families.

A school spokesman added: "The Ofsted report is therefore disappointing; to be rated with an overall effectiveness of inadequate doesn’t truly reflect the journey the school has made over the past couple of years."

Investment of nearly £3 million has expanded and improved facilities, including a full window replacement to support a reduction in energy bills. It is also refurbishing the library and other areas to make them better spaces in which to learn and relax.

The school spokesman added that "Staff continue to be overwhelmed by the positive response from students and parents who support what they do. There are always things to improve on in every school and any recommendations for improvement will be taken seriously.

"The school will continue to move forward by listening and working with our staff, students, parents, carers and members of the community."

The Ofsted report says: "Too many pupils do not feel safe at Idsall School. Some say that they experience frequent sexual harassment or discriminatory behaviour from their peers. They are not confident that teachers will deal with their concerns, so they do not report the incidents that occur."

It adds that when the headteacher was appointed in 2019, she identified aspects of the school’s work that needed to improve.

"However, changes have not been put in place quickly enough. In some cases, leaders’ plans have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, overall, senior leaders have not made sure that all staff have the skills and knowledge that they need to perform their roles effectively."

Inspectors say that leaders of the school should ensure that they develop an appropriate curriculum and implement effective policies and practices to address sexual harassment between pupils.

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