Birmingham School That Faced Staff Walkouts Rated As Inadequate By Inspectors

11 September 2019, 15:11 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 15:12

Birmingham School Starbank

A school that faced walkouts by staff over safeguarding concerns has been rated inadequate by Ofsted.

Inspectors said the behaviour of a "significant minority" of pupils at Starbank School, in the Yardley area of Birmingham, was "poor and unsafe", leaving other youngsters, as well as staff, feeling vulnerable.

Ofsted's report raises concerns about discipline, warning that too many pupils in the secondary part of the school are defiant, ignore requests and shows "a complete lack of respect" for leaders and staff.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said they were "disappointed" with the findings and that an improvement plan is in place to address the issues identified.

Starbank is an all-through school which teaches three to 16-year-olds and had previously been rated outstanding by Ofsted in May 2012.

About 20 members of the NASUWT teaching union at Starbank School's Hob Moor Road site joined in industrial action in June to express concerns over pupil "indiscipline" and measures to safeguard staff.

Inspectors carried out an unannounced visit to the school in July.

A report following the visit says that since a previous inspection, the school's leaders "have not kept pace with managing the expansion of the school's age range and size sufficiently well".

"Worsening behaviour, fractured leadership and staff absence have led to the school's decline."

It says that "the behaviour of a significant minority of pupils in years seven to 11 is poor and unsafe".

"Their aggressive, defiant behaviour leaves other pupils and some staff feeling vulnerable."

In a section on behaviour, inspectors concluded: "Too many pupils in the secondary phase show a complete lack of respect for leaders and other school staff.

"All too often, pupils are defiant and ignore reasonable requests from staff to follow instructions.

"In some lessons, pupils shout out and argue with the teacher. In addition, some pupils do not wear the correct school uniform."

It notes that pupils say views and reports about behaviour, including the use of knives, are "over-exaggerated" and that inspectors agree, while "media myths such as 'Fight Thursday' have only added to the difficulties that leaders are experiencing in managing behaviour."

The report does note that the primary part of the school is "well led and managed", with pupils achieving well and good behaviour.

Youngsters in the early years also make good progress because staff give them "good-quality learning experiences and a high level of care".

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "We have seen the Ofsted report and, like the school, we are of course disappointed with the findings.

"An improvement plan is already in place and we will continue to work closely with the leadership team to address all the issues identified so that all children get the education they need and deserve.

"The report highlights a number of strengths at the school, such as early years and primary phase teaching, as well as family and community engagement, which serve as a basis on which to achieve sustainable improvement."