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Bullying is ‘brushed under the carpet’ at Felixstowe Academy, claim parents in Ofsted report

PUBLISHED: 17:07 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:07 14 February 2018

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY

Peter A Cook/Felixstowe Academy

Bullying is “brushed under the carpet” and has become part of Felixstowe Academy’s culture, the Ofsted inspection report which has placed the school in special measures claims.

Some parents and pupils have “lost faith” in the ability of senior management to tackle bullying which has led to fewer reported incidents, the unpublished report seen by this newspaper states.

Parents were last week posted a copy of the Ofsted report and a letter from chair of governors John King, which disputes the claims and insists “significant action” is tackling bullying.

This newspaper revealed this week that the 1,221-pupil academy has been rated ‘inadequate’ and placed in special measures after an Ofsted inspection in November.

Lead inspector Daniel Gee wrote: “There has been a culture of bullying at the school which has not been dealt with effectively. Some pupils do not feel safe at school and do not report issues to adults. Too many parents who responded to Parent View have lost faith in the school’s ability to deal effectively with issues of bullying.”

It added: “Pupils (say) bullying is widespread... pupils’ comments included ‘Sometimes I am so scared that I cannot go to school’. Comments from parents include ‘bullying is not taken seriously and is brushed under the carpet’ (and) ‘the way the school deals with bullying is appalling’.

“Leaders have not ensured that their systems are effective at tackling bullying. There is no systematic follow-up monitoring of the wellbeing of victims of bullying to check that situations have improved. Some pupils say that they do not report incidents of bullying because they have lost faith in the school’s ability to deal with it. Leaders acknowledge that systems need to improve

In his letter to parents, Mr King said safeguarding is a top priority. It said: “The latest, much wider survey showed a positive picture, with 88% of students aware of what they need to do if they believe someone is being bullied, and in a recent parent survey 91% of parents felt that their child is safe at the academy, 82% felt that bullying is dealt with effectively and 91% would recommend the academy.”

Poor GCSE results were also behind the rating. Just 48% passed English and maths in 2017. But management reforms, the return of senior leaders, tackling weak teaching, and robust systems have led to improvements, Ofsted said.

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