Racism at failing Manchester school slammed by Ofsted – but head says ‘difficult period’ is behind them

Racist incidents at an Openshaw primary school have been highlighted in a recent Ofsted report – as principal rues ‘difficult period’.

The levels of achievement, behaviour amongst pupils, quality of teaching as well as the leadership and management at St Barnabas C of E Primary Academy, in Openshaw, were all found to be below the national standard after an inspection last month.

With many pupils speaking English as a second language rather than as their mother tongue, evidence showed that racist incidents took place among pupils.

However, the report did indicate that teaching standards were improving and the school’s principal Lucy Gough defended ‘the difficult period’ at the school – and is confident that St Barnabas is moving in the right direction.

Significant improvements have been made in the last two years following the difficult period referred to in the report and solid progress is being made,” she told MM.

“When we became an academy in 2012 we knew that a great deal needed to be done at St Barnabas to achieve an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or better.

Areas have been identified where further improvement is needed and action is being taken.”

The report went on to say that pupils’ behaviour around school and in lessons ‘is not always good’, with this being something the children themselves also acknowledged.

Boys particularly were described as being ‘overly boisterous’ around school and this also seemed to have a detrimental effect on learning.

Classes were often ‘disrupted by the poor behaviour of a few pupils’ with ‘the level of chatter making it difficult for everyone to start their work without being disturbed’.

As a result, levels of achievement in reading, writing and in mathematics were said to require improvement, with the attitudes to learning from pupils in years one to six described as ‘not always good’.  

Standards of achievement among the school’s disabled pupils were also labelled ‘not consistently good’ with variations in the quality of teaching being one of the key factors behind this.

Overall, teaching at St Barnabas ‘required improvement’ the report continued, with expectations of achievement, especially amongst the school’s brightest children, ‘not always high enough.’

The principal also revealed that details of the report have been shared with parents, who will form a key partnership with the school to tackle the issues and achieve an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ in the near future.

“We will continue to work closely with the parents to ensure we maximise the rate of progress,” added Miss Gough.

Image courtesy of Nick Page with thanks

Related Articles