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Wayland Academy in Watton put in special measures after concerns raised over bullying, homophobia and lack of understanding about radicalisation

PUBLISHED: 08:37 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 19 July 2017

Wayland Academy Norfolk. Picture: TEN Group

Wayland Academy Norfolk. Picture: TEN Group

Archant

A Norfolk school is in special measures after inspectors raised concerns over bullying, homophobic abuse and pupils’ lack of understanding of radicalisation.

Wayland Academy principal Glen Allott. Wayland Academy principal Glen Allott.

Wayland Academy Norfolk, in Watton, has pledged to renew its focus on equality and diversity after the Ofsted visit in April, giving the school - which saw its best GCSE results to date last summer - an overall inadequate rating.

Inspectors said a significant number of pupils shared concerns about bullying and “casual use” of unacceptable language, including “homophobic abuse, which they say they hear regularly”.

They said some pupils used homophobic language during the inspection.

But principal Glen Allott said an action plan had been put into place, with changes already making a “significant difference”.

Though pupils told inspectors about recent bullying incidents, the report said the school’s last formal record was from last November.

The report said: “Many pupils commented that they were uncertain whether adults in the school would deal with bullying or name-calling effectively. A small number said that they would not want a younger sibling to join the school because of these concerns.”

Inspectors also said leaders did not ensure pupils fully understood risks posed by those with “extremist values, beliefs or views”.

They advised the school, which is part of the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group and was rated good by Ofsted in 2013, to give pupils a better understanding of the dangers of radicalism and extremism - something “none of the many pupils spoken with” demonstrated, they said.

Concerns were also raised over persistently low attendance rates, which are higher than the national average.

Mr Allott said: “While we were disappointed with the overall inspection judgement, most of the areas highlighted were things we could address immediately. We have wasted no time in taking action and have made significant progress over the last term.”

Changes include a renewed focus on equality and diversity, workshops on radicalisation and extremism, intensive intervention for pupils with poor attendance and new ways for parents to report behaviour concerns.

The report praised Mr Allott for reversing a decline in teaching quality and highlighted new systems to track disadvantaged pupils’ progress as a positive.

It described careers advice offered to pupils as “impartial and of high quality”, and praised the school’s work experience placements.

Mr Allott said: “This Ofsted report recognises many of the areas in which we are delivering on the Wayland Guarantee and preparing our students for their next step.

“Our students achieved the academy’s best ever results last summer, initiatives to improve literacy are making a real difference, and the high aspirations we encourage for students are matched by excellent progression into further education, employment and training.

“We will continue to build on these strengths, whilst implementing our detailed post-inspection action plan, in order to move the academy out of special measures at the earliest opportunity.”

• Do you have a story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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