'That's gay' slurs highlighted as high school rated inadequate
PUBLISHED: 06:21 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:59 11 December 2019
Photo: Old Lennensians
A school has been rated "inadequate" following an Ofsted report.
An inspection took place at King Edward VII Academy in King's Lynn, on September 24 and 25, and the team highlighted a number of shortcomings.
The report said some students were using homophobic slurs such as "that's gay", but they said they did not mean to be homophobic and added that it was okay to be different at the school.
An Ofsted inspector said students did not know what equality meant and said they did not understand their words could be hurtful.
The inspector added that pupils often missed out on learning because their teachers did not manage their behaviour well enough.
Students with special educational needs were not taught or supported effectively according to the regulator, which said too few teachers planned suitable learning for them or gave the help they needed.
They said that previously leaders did not do enough to prevent bad behaviour and follow-up bullying claims, however it added that new leaders had started to address issues with behaviour management by introducing new training courses, although Ofsted said these were all very new.
It was also said that education was poor and teaching was not good enough, which prevented pupils from gaining the knowledge and understanding they should.
Absence rates were high at the school, meaning pupils missed too much learning time and when they did attend they were removed from lessons too often. Ofsted said this presented "a major barrier to learning and progress".
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Strengths included improvements in teaching English, career guidance and sport, as well as training students as anti-bullying ambassadors.
The regulator said the school's sixth form was run much more effectively with students being taught in a way that helped them to learn well.
According to inspectors many sixth form students went on to education, employment or training.
Arrangements for safeguarding were said to be effective.
In order to improve, Ofsted said the school needed to use assessment effectively to plan lessons and move learning on, review procedures to ensure good attendance and provide further staff training to help with the management of bad behaviour.
Principal of King Edward VII Academy, Sarah Hartshorn said: "Ofsted visited us very early in the new school year, using a brand new and much tougher inspection framework and before many of the improvements we have brought in to support pupils had a chance to take effect. As a result, in many areas the report is simply out of date.
"When I joined the school earlier this year I put in place a robust improvement plan, with the support of our new governing body and the academy trust.
"The overall judgement is disappointing but it does not reflect the full impact of changes like our new behaviour system, new support staff and new Vice Principal for behaviour, or our new Director of Science.
"We have been working hard to improve documentation around our curriculum plans to meet Ofsted's new requirements. Our internal test and assessment results - which Ofsted now refuse to consider under their new framework - show considerable improvements across many subjects as a result of the hard work of staff and students."