Pupils are 'potentially at risk' at South Normanton school, warns Ofsted

Youngsters at a junior school in South Normanton are “potentially at risk” because of poor safeguarding practices.

By Richard Silverwood
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 11:24 am
Glebe Junior School in South Normanton, which has been given an 'Inadequate' rating by Ofsted inspectors.
Glebe Junior School in South Normanton, which has been given an 'Inadequate' rating by Ofsted inspectors.

That’s according to the education watchdog Ofsted, which has given the 391-pupil Glebe Junior School a rating of ‘Inadequate’ after an inspection last October.

However, the school has announced that it is challenging the report and taking “professional legal advice” to contest its findings.

The inspectors’ report blasted: “The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective. This means that pupils who potentially need help or protection are not supported.

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Inspectors found that pupils were "potentially at risk" at Glebe Junior School. (PHOTO BY: Dave Bevis)

"Safeguarding records are poor, and it is not always clear what actions staff have taken when concerns about pupils’ welfare have been raised. Some incidents are not treated with the importance they should be.

"Leaders have not created a culture of vigilance, and staff do not fully understand the signs that a pupil may be at risk.”

The inspectors said staff training was “not robust”. Governors did “not receive sufficient information” and were, therefore, “unable to hold school leaders fully to account for their actions”.

In branding the school’s leadership and management inadequate, inspectors urged the governors to “make sure pupils are kept safe” and “to meet their legal requirements”.

They also urged leaders to crack down on some pupils, particularly in years three and four, who arrive late in the mornings and miss part of their first lesson.

Glebe’s governing body is headed by Walter Greensmith, a long-standing governor and retired BT worker, whose own son once attended the school. Its head teacher is Steve Watson, who was appointed in 2018.

The overall ‘Inadequate’ verdict represents a steep slump from the school’s previous inspection in 2016 when it was rated ‘Good’.

However, Glebe did still receive ‘Good’ ratings in two categories this time round – pupils’ behaviour and attitudes and pupils’ personal development.

And “despite some failings”, the inspectors said “many aspects of school life are working well” and “the school’s leadership and management have many strengths”.

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The inspectors found that youngsters enjoyed going to school, behaved well and worked hard. They had “a positive attitude”, staff had high expectations for them, and bullying was rare.

Most parents were also positive about the school, while a wide variety of after-school clubs and activities was highlighted in the Ofsted report.

The inspectors accepted that the curriculum at Glebe was “well planned” and praised its teaching of reading and phonics.

However, they still gave a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating in the category of quality of education, pointing out that some teachers “do not always implement the curriculum well”.

"In some subjects, there are gaps in pupils’ knowledge that have not been spotted,” says the report.

Stunned leaders Mr Watson and Mr Greensmith reacted to the Ofsted report by sending a letter to alarmed parents, claiming the findings “do not correctly reflect our school”.

Given that the inspectors pinpointed so many strengths at Glebe, the duo said they were “very disappointed” by the overall rating.

The letter continued: “We are in the process of challenging the Ofsted report, with professional legal advice. We are contesting it in a number of areas, including safeguarding procedures and punctuality.

"We completely understand parents will have concerns but, as always, we are all working together to provide a safe and happy environment for children to learn, develop and flourish.”

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