County Upper School rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted
PUBLISHED: 09:46 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:50 28 March 2019
A Bury St Edmunds secondary school has been rated inadequate after leaders "failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure pupils' safety", according to Ofsted.
Inspectors from the education watchdog found some pupils at County Upper School did not feel safe on school grounds over concerns that “unauthorised visitors” can easily gain access to the site.
Following the inspection in January, Ofsted also highlighted that the required child protection referrals were not made to the correct external agencies when pupils have been at risk.
The school’s quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outcomes for pupils and 16-19 study programmes were all rated outstanding, but the effectiveness of leadership and management and personal development, behaviour and welfare was graded inadequate.
The school, in Beetons Way, has been outstanding since 1998.
Stephen Boor, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust, said the school immediately commissioned reviews of its safeguarding.
“We are naturally extremely disappointed with Ofsted’s overall judgement,” he said. “However, to reassure parents and pupils that County Upper is a safe school, the trust board immediately commissioned full, independent reviews of safeguarding and of site security – neither found any areas of concern and offered their assistance in resolving with the inspectors the issues they had raised.
“These reviews provide independent evidence to support our view that safeguarding is effective at County Upper.
“Despite this, Ofsted’s judgement on safeguarding dictates their overall grade, and in consequence leadership and management and personal development and welfare judgements automatically follow.
“We are pleased to note that when you read the report you will see that County Upper is still rated outstanding in many aspects of both these sections, as it is right across the other sections.
“This is the County Upper that people will recognise, and which indeed Ofsted has recognised at every other inspection since 1998.
“We will be asking Ofsted to come back at the earliest opportunity to re-inspect. In the meanwhile, we will continue to do our very best by every student and to maintain the very high standards for which we are renowned.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “Suffolk County Council is working very closely with the Bury St Edmunds All Through Trust, which is responsible for County Upper School to support them to rapidly address the issues highlighted in the Ofsted report around safeguarding.
“It is the role of the Local Authority to take the safety and welfare of all pupils very seriously, this includes those who may be vulnerable.
“We will continue to challenge any school where we believe the safety of its pupils is a concern.
“We will closely follow the academy’s progress in addressing the points raised by Ofsted.”
To view the full Ofsted report, click here.