‘Inadequate’ Mansfield school where pupils ‘feel unsafe’ vows to improve after damning Ofsted report

The Brunts Academy, on The Park, Mansfield. Credit Google Maps
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A Mansfield secondary school where pupils “do not get a good deal” has been graded as “inadequate” by inspectors in a damning report.

Ofsted inspectors found some pupils at the Brunts Academy “feel unsafe” because of the “disrespectful behaviour” of some other children.

Issues with swearing, derogatory, sexualised and homophobic language were found, with a report revealing some pupils found this had been “normalised”.

The inspection, which took place in November, found a lack of confidence in staff around bullying and pupils not being “prepared for life in modern Britain”.

It comes amidst a backdrop of what the watchdog describes as a “legacy of under-resourcing and instability”.

Disadvantaged children have not always benefited from the extra resources provided for them, inspectors said, while children with special educational needs (SEND) did not receive the support they are entitled to.

The inspectors said current school and trust leaders stabilised the academy following a “turbulent period of staff turnover”, including restoring morale.

Funding has also been reinstated to levels that they “should be”, but weaknesses “have not [been addressed] … effectively”.

However, concerns were raised about curriculum not being of “good quality”, while some teachers’ expectations of pupils were “not high enough”.

Other concerns from the watchdog included “poorly-promoted” personal development of pupils, including for PSHE lessons, while students also have a “limited understanding of British values”.

Praise was given, however, to the school’s sixth form, where pupils “feel safe and well cared for”, despite the post-16 provision still being graded as ‘requires improvement’.

The Park Avenue school, which has 1,474 pupils, was graded as “inadequate” for its quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.

Inspectors said: “Some pupils feel unsafe. They are concerned about the disrespectful behaviour of others.

“Pupils experience swearing and derogatory language, including sexualised and homophobic language. They say this has become normalised.

“Leaders have not been vigilant when checking the safety and well-being of pupils who have experienced harm, including from harmful sexual behaviour.

“Leaders must ensure that pupils at risk are appropriately supported.

“They should ensure that all safeguarding records are centralised, in accordance with the school’s policy.

“They should use information from these records to inform the personal development programme.”

In its previous inspection, which took place in 2017, the academy was graded as ‘good’.

The academy has since left its former education trust, The Evolve Trust, moving to The Greenwood Academies Trust in December.

A Greenwood spokesperson said: “The challenges identified by the inspection are those we were aware needed to be addressed.

“We have already been working closely with the academy leaders and staff to address these matters as quickly and effectively as possible.

“We take these issues with the utmost seriousness, and nothing is more important than the safety, wellbeing and education of our pupils and ensuring this is our immediate and top priority.

“Becoming part of our trust means our team of experts in teaching and learning, curriculum, safeguarding and other areas are able to work closely alongside leaders in the academy.

“Together, they have already started putting into place the necessary actions which will enable us to rapidly drive forward significant changes for the benefit of pupils, families and colleagues.

“We will continue to keep parents and carers informed about the positive changes happening within the academy.

“We are confident strong relationships with our parents and carers, the dedication of our colleagues and the deep care we have for our pupils, coupled with our expertise as a trust, will enable the academy to live up to our shared vision to provide the best possible education for our young people.”

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