Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds: Ofsted accused of being ‘heavy handed’ following judgement of St Benedict’s School

PUBLISHED: 11:41 05 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:15 05 October 2014

Hugh O'Neill, headteacher of St Benedict's School, Bury St Edmunds.

Hugh O'Neill, headteacher of St Benedict's School, Bury St Edmunds.

Contributed

The schools regulator Ofsted has withdrawn an inspection report which claims a Catholic School in Suffolk is not adequately guarding children against extremism.

St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St. Edmunds received a surprise call from Ofsted asking it to remove its latest report from the school website as further “quality assurance checks” needed to take place.

The school - which was previously rated “good” by Ofsted and recently celebrated its best GCSE results for three years - received a judgement of “requires improvement” following a snap inspection on September 11 and 12.

It is understood the school is among about 40 nationally which were subject to a ‘no-notice’ inspection in the wake of reports into the alleged ‘Trojan horse’ takeover plot by hardline Muslims at a number of Birmingham schools.

The withdrawn report says “the younger students show less awareness of the dangers of extremism and radicalisation” and “it is not made clear how all students are prepared for life and work in modern Britain”.

Hugh O’Neill, headteacher at St Benedict’s Catholic School, believes the school was targeted in the recent wave of unannounced inspections because its website lacked a statement on citizenship.

He told the East Anglian Daily Times: “The judgement was disappointing for us and I think it was quite surprising for parents and colleagues as well.

“I have had a lot of calls from parents and emails from them expressing support and none of them have found the report to match their own view of the school.”

Mr O’Neill believes his school was the first the team of four inspectors had assessed under the new criteria, which he felt could have been the source of the issues.

“It now appears there are some misgivings about the validity of the report - there must have been some misgivings otherwise they wouldn’t have taken it down.”

Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), described Ofsted’s original judgement of “requires improvement” as really unfair, adding the regulator had taken a “really heavy-handed” approach following the investigations in Birmingham.

“I’m not sure if you went out into the general public and asked ‘do you understand what radicalisation means?’ they would be able to answer that question, let alone ask students.”

He added: “I hope Ofsted come up with a commonsense approach and withdraw that judgement from the school and the school can continue to improve on a good or an outstanding [rating]; if you look at the results that’s what the school is.”

The withdrawn report, which had not yet been published on the Ofsted website, said: “The delivery of citizenship education is not made clear, or how the school teaches students about the dangers of extremism and radicalisation.”

Other complaints included the quality of teaching and that disabled students and those with special needs do not make as much progress as others in English and maths.

Mr O’Neill said he would not necessarily argue with the areas for improvement, but believed most schools assessed in the first week of term would have been given a similar set of action points.

“We are awaiting the outcome from Ofsted with some interest,” he said.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Following a review of the report by the East of England regional director, we have delayed the publication of the report to allow further quality assurance checks to take place.”

1 comment

  • Interesting, it was only a few months ago that they were still using the quote about being outstanding according to Ofsted, nearly a year after they had actually been graded as good.

    Report this comment

    alittlebitwoolly

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Just one in seven domestic abuse cases in Suffolk result in a police charge, new figures reveal.

The Department for Education has today unveiled proposals to scrap SATs exams for year two pupils and replace them with less-pressured assessments.

It’s not too late to book tickets and take in a great show in April. Suffolk’s theatres have something for everyone throughout the month including music, movies, plays and cabaret. We have highlighted just a few of the entertaining events on offer.

Do you remember when Major’s Corner, St Margaret’s Green and Ipswich Cornhill looked like this?

It’s a tale of one man and his ferret as an Ipswich serviceman who lost his mother at the start of March prepares for a 73-mile walk.

Firefighters rescued a cat from a roof in Blythburgh today but had to leave safety sheets so a second moggy could jump down in its own time.

A Suffolk school has been ranked among the top 20% in the country for attainment and progress made by pupils between key stages of their education.

An East Anglian college is celebrating after scooping top place for the second year in a row in a contest to find the best water-friendly farming idea.

A Mondrian-inspired piece of artwork made of thousands of coloured blocks was snapped up at an Ipswich gallery within 48 hours.

Food editor Charlotte Smith-Jarvis takes her mum for a relaxing all-inclusive lunch at Hintlesham Hall.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24