A multi-academy trust praised by ministers has been accused of engaging in the “ritual humiliation” of pupils and seeking to “terrify” children into compliance using a policy called “flattening the grass”. Tes reports
Tes has been given detailed accounts of how Outwood Grange Academy Trust used the uncompromising approach for weeks at a time when it took over a new school to bring pupils into line.
Insiders at two academies have told how Outwood had flooded their schools with executives from the multi-academy trust (MAT) to roll out tough new behaviour policies.
A former senior leader who worked at Outwood Academy Danum in Doncaster has told how the trust had a deliberate policy to “pick on” pupils, with “intense shouting” in their faces for minor transgressions.
“They talk about it quite openly when they take on a school, that they deliberately set out to make the kids, as they would put it, see that there’s a line not to be crossed – so they’re going to play on kids’ fear.”
The senior leader at Danum said that the practice started when children were lined up waiting to go into a series of rolling assemblies for each year group.
“They just indiscriminately picked on children either in the line or in the assembly, and they basically said that’s what they would do,” the source said, adding that “about 30” members of Outwood Grange staff were present for the assemblies.
“Not just executives,” they said. “You might have heads from other schools, you might have vice-principals from other schools, a range of people they knew would be effective in what I would call ritual humiliation. They were lined up all around to really stare at the kids and find the kids to pick on.”
On Monday, two MPs wrote to Outwood demanding answers about the “incredibly concerning” allegations, criticising the MAT for not providing a “satisfactory answer” when asked by Tes what the phrase meant.
When approached by Tes, Outwood Grange said: “In response to your questions, we ask: why are disgruntled individuals so keen to claim our pupils are unhappy when in inspection after inspection, Ofsted is lavishing praise on our schools for their happy atmosphere and outstanding academic progress?”
Read the full article Insiders allege Outwood Grange ‘ritually humiliated’ and ‘terrified’ pupils
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