Schools watchdog Ofsted has been forced to apologise to a primary school for incorrectly claiming pupils were engaged in “frequent” bullying. This is from the Express…
Teachers at Priory Primary School in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, were horrified when inspectors said in their latest report: “Behaviour and safety are inadequate because incidents of bullying are too frequent.”
Ofsted has written to the school apologising for the “distress and inconvenience” suffered by pupils and staff as a result of the mistake but the school still remains in special measures because of the damning criticism.
Headteacher Pam Keen, who took her post in January, said she was devastated by the bullying claims.
“It is simply not true and that is why we are so upset and I decided to complain against the judgment to Ofsted. They said that bullying was too frequent and children lacked confidence. However, it turned out that the whole problem stemmed from when parents filled in their comment forms.
“Under the section where they were asked about bullying, 32 per cent ‘strongly agreed’ the school dealt with bullying well, 37 per cent ‘agreed’, seven per cent ‘disagreed’ and 24 per cent said they ‘didn’t know’. But the ‘disagree’ group and ‘don’t knows’ were because they didn’t know of any bullying in the school so they had no idea how we would deal with it if it were to happen.
“In the next question 98 per cent said their child was happy at the school and 100 per cent said their child felt safe – the reverse of what you would expect if a school was ridden with bullying.
“We went from getting an ‘outstanding’ for how we dealt with bullying in the school to inadequate, which is what put us into special measures. We hadn’t spoken to the children much about bullying as it wasn’t an issue…
Ofsted declined to comment. It placed the school in special measures in June after criticising teaching standards and pupil progress. The report also added “managers at all levels” had too little impact on improving the school.
What do you make of this? It does sound a clumsy piece of drafting on the questionnaire that doesn’t account for situations where incidents of bullying have not been experienced. Please share in the comments or on twitter…