Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

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

11:41 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The schools regulator Ofsted has withdrawn an inspection report which claims a Catholic School in Suffolk is not adequately guarding children against extremism.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The withdrawn report says “the younger students show less awareness of the dangers of extremism and radicalisation” and “it is not made clear how all students are prepared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

Suffolk Police have launched a double murder investigation after two men died after being stabbed in Ipswich on Thursday.

A man and a teenage boy were stabbed this afternoon in Ipswich at West Meadows near the Whitehouse Interchange.

Police have said they are “anxious” to find an Ipswich woman who has been reported missing.

A heavy police presence on the westbound side of the A14 opposite the Whitehouse Asda on Bury Road was reported this afternoon.

For many it signals the start to the Christmas holidays – and today the festivities started for those people when the Coca-Cola truck rolled into town.

A proposal to offer some children “short breaks” away from their families as an alternative to being put into care has received unanimous backing from the county council.

Police are releasing CCTV images of potential witnesses as work continues to trace missing Corrie McKeague.

Through our iwitness24 site, readers are able to share their photos of Suffolk’s top beauty spots, of landmarks and of some of our amazing wildlife in action.

The largest ever ship to call at the Port of Ipswich has passed under the Orwell Bridge – with less than half a metre to spare.

Community leaders have agreed to formulate plans to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of developer contributions on infrastructure projects in east Suffolk.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24