The education watchdogs’ report makes “difficult reading” according to Harlow Academy school’s new interim CEO Wayne Norrie.
It found The Evolve Trust-run former leadership’s staffing lack left pupils at “imminent risk of harm” concluding “this school is not safe”.
The school was rated “inadequate” for its education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, early years provision and sixth-form provision.
The February 22 report followed a two-day inspection in January, 2022, just before the school closed due to “staffing issues” and amid parents concerns.
A new leadership and board of trustees was appointed, including safeguarding experts and former Ofsted inspectors.
Mr Norrie and the academy’s new headteacher Luci Windle, who stepped into help the school, also brought in support by the Greenwood Academies Trust and Nexus Multi-Academy Trust, plus their own special education expertise.
Now the school has reiterated a commitment to “driving forward rapid and significant improvements,” addressing “challenges identified” in the report.
The leadership and trustees have also been “working closely together”, with parents and staff taking “urgent action” benefiting pupils, parents, carers and staff.
Measures include implementing new safeguarding procedures, improving staff-to-pupil ratio, ensuring “best possible care, teaching and learning for pupils’” education, aligned with health and care plans (EHCP), and “engaging and enriching experiences”.
A “positive school culture”, strong pastoral care, promoting “high expectations for pupils and staff” and a recruitment drive to ensure experienced staff and 1:1 carers are available, the school says.
Professional development and support for teachers and staff and information sessions for parents, carers and staff are also held.
There is an agreement by the Department for Education for Academy for the school to join the Nexus Multi Academy Trust, retaining the leadership from September, 2022.
Wayne Norrie, Evolve’s Interim Chief Executive, said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our children and this is our immediate and top priority.
"Regrettably, this report makes for very difficult reading, I’d like to personally assure our school community we are taking the findings of the report incredibly seriously.
“As educators, we have a duty of care to ensure provision is of the very highest standards and that all pupils can learn in a safe and welcoming environment at all times. As such, we have taken swift and effective action to ensure all children attending the Academy are now safe.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our parents, carers and colleagues for their understanding, patience and support at this challenging time however, I hope they agree that the positive changes made so far are helping create school they can be proud of.”
Andy Child MBE, Evolve’s Interim Chair of the Board of Trustees, said there was “still much more work to be done” saying “the new board of trustees were “confident that the academy’s relationships with parents and carers, the passion of our colleagues and the deep care we all share for our pupils, coupled with the expertise of the new leadership team will enable The Harlow Academy to live up to our shared vision for the school providing the best possible education for our young people.”